“I got the results I prepared for.”  That’s a quote from Michael Phelps during an interview with Bob Costas after winning a whole lot of Olympic Gold medals.

On face value this statement makes a lot of sense.  Of course he prepared (and one might say even worked hard) to get his Olympic Medals. We all watched his preparation pay off, sometimes winning a race by fractions of a second and at other times blowing away his competition.

We would even imagine that other athletes made this same claim, “I got the results I prepared for”.  How about the Fabulous Five, the way they decisively took hold of the chance to reclaim a gold medal for the US Women’s Gymnastics Team.  And who can forget Mo Farah’s 10,000M Men’s Final.  As he is about to cross the finish line he looks around to see who might be making a move on him and to his shock he is all alone as he is first to cross the finish line.


These are just a few of the many stories of great triumph that we saw or heard about from the resent Olympic Games.  Great athletes getting the results they prepared for.  It all makes sense because at our core, we know if we work hard we will get the prize.  The prize will vary from person to person but it’s all the same – a great job, a passing grade, board certification, that special person that caught your eye or even a gold medal.

But here’s the catch, Michael Phelps said this just as he acknowledged there were some races that he didn’t win.  As I listened to his interview I thought, wait a minute, is he saying he prepared for the results of ALL his races, even for the races he didn’t win. And it seems that that is exactly what he was saying.  Whatever the outcome of the race that is what I prepared for.  My level of preparation dictated the outcome.  Phelps’ comment becomes more provocative when put in this perspective.

So what does this mean?  If I come in 4th it’s because I prepare enough to come in fourth. If I come in 1st than I prepared enough to come in 1st and if I am last in a field of 12 I prepared for and worked hard enough to come in 12th.

Our level of preparation and hard work will dictate our outcome.  Throughout our journey we prepare for and work hard and even set goals.  At the “end of the day” it’s my hope we can say with conviction “I prepared for every result I had”?


AuthorCaroline Thompson