Adopt the mindset of an Olympic athlete

26 July 2021 Richus Nel, A Financial Adviser at PSG Wealth Old Oak

This National Savings Month we consider how a financial coach can help you align your goals and actions to achieve the financial success.

Don’t put a limit on anything. The further you dream, the further you get – Michael Phelps

The ancient Olympic games began in 776 BC and continued for almost 12 centuries. According to literature, the first 600 foot (182m) race was won by a cook from Elis. The well-known saying “never trust a lean cook”, implies that this victory probably meant the end of his cooking tenure?

The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece in 1896. If there was ever an athlete that demonstrated a successful approach and record at the Olympics, it is swimming legend Michael Phelps. Being the most decorated athlete in the history of the Olympic Games (23 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze - over 5 Olympic games), it is worth taking note of his advice about dreaming further.

Swimming must be one of the toughest individual sports to accelerate in. Water resistance and the continuous race against the clock challenges all swimmers equally and individually. In the pool you are by yourself, either swimming and drawing from what you have learned, or sinking. The only way to improve your own time over the same swimming distance remains repetition, perfecting proven techniques and building endurance.

Sports coaching vs financial coaching

There are very few examples in history (if any) of accomplished athletes that trained in the absence of an accomplished coach (or team of coaches these days). The athlete and coach relationship is a very trusting one. In this team relationship, it is beneficial to both individuals to be honest, admitting failures/mistakes and importantly also celebrating victories (evidence of progress/learning).

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”.

Good coaches understand that success is a process of learning. Coaches meticulously stack the athlete’s learning experiences as building blocks, resulting in towers of self-confidence (not arrogance). Compounding experience and incremental refinement takes years to perfect and takes enormous commitment from both athlete and coach. Accomplished coaches have a positive “can-do” attitude. They take manageable risks (pushing athletes out of their comfort zone onto new heights), creating enthusiasm and an expectation of “having a realistic chance to succeed”.

Quality financial advice

Quality financial advice is like a good coaching relationship, where the adviser assists the client in facing, and overcoming their financial challenges.

Over time they help clients to:
• Understand their own financial journey (future and past)
• Setting realistic, attainable goals
• Improve financial and physical wellness (empower client for better decision-making)
• Call for discipline to proven principles (saving/investment)
• Repetition and continued refinement (small alterations from previous learning)
• Maintaining a positive mindset and celebrating client victories (steering free from over-confidence).

Advice from a coach

Clients who are professionally assisted in a coach-like manner are better prepared through mentoring, conditioning and continuous focus (know where/when to intensify energy). Partnering with an adviser not only helps to avoid behavioral mistakes that so often unravel investment plans, but also provides constant and continued guidance and mentoring to ensure your financial ‘training programme’ remains on course.

Olympic athletes devote years of training and effort to ultimately reach the podium. They don’t do this on their own, however, but rely on experts to help them get there. Who is your coach and how well are they assisting you on your financial track?

The real story of the ancient Olympic games. Penn Museum.

Quick Polls


Healthcare brokers have long complained about inflation-plus medical scheme contribution increases; but pandemic may have changed things. What will pandemic-induced changes in hospital utilisation do to medical scheme contribution increase patterns?


Below inflation increase for 2022, then back to inflation-plus
Long-term trend of below inflation increases
Inflation-linked hikes for 2022, then back to inflation-plus
This is a 2-year hiccup, inflation-plus increase trend remains in place
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