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Making Myself Accountable: Series III

By Nikki Stone
Sports Motivation
Updated: June 28, 2008
Put it in writing I mapped out each hour, each day and each week, setting goals for myself. As I accomplished one goal I'd move on to the next. It was critical that I put those goals in writing. When they're written, you have nowhere to hide and no one else to blame if you don't accomplish those goals.

Within two months I was back on the slopes. Within four months I was competing again. Amazingly, I rose to become fifth best in the world.

The average human being would have seen fifth best in the world as a huge accomplishment. But 1997 was my worst year ever. I knew I had more in me.

I was used to being number one or two in the world. You could say I was driven to get back to the top at any cost.

And I held herself accountable at each World Cup event. If I didn't win, I'd be terribly disappointed. People didn't understand, but I'd say, ‘Look this could have been the Olympics.' I knew that if I was going to win the Gold in Nagano, then I needed to make sure that I was winning every step along the way.

As Nagano approached, experts were being asked to predict who would win a medal at the Games. Naturally, because of my debilitating injury and spotty performance on the comeback trail, my name was never mentioned.

This gave me the incentive I needed to go the extra mile. In order to win the gold, I not only had to be perfect from a performance standpoint, I also had to execute riskier jumps than my competitors. So I trained to perfect triple-twisting double back flips and single-twisting triple back flips.

The rest, as they say, is history. I beat the best in the world and won my gold medal in Nagano. I went on to compete for one more year but retired after doctors told me that her lower discs looked like the spine of a 50-year-old. Wanting to have a normal life and raise a family, I hung up the skis. I now work as a motivational speaker and personal development coach inspiring others to achieve their ultimate goals. But I am certainly no less driven since I retired.
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I hold myself accountable with every speech, client coaching session, and authored work. I want to be the best motivational speaker and personal development coach in the country. I always look for feedback and try to improve with each new audience or client. My goal isn't quantity in terms of the number of speeches I give or the number of people I reach. Rather, I want to be able to say that I've made a difference in someone's life and, perhaps, show them how they can apply some of my techniques and philosophies in their own situations.

When will I finally retire to the easy life? Never! I have too much to do. I'll kick back and relax when I'm dead.

Although Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men are created equal, there are clearly some exceptions to the rule. If you want to reach insurmountable goals, you need to make yourself the exception. Possessing an almost other-worldly ability to endure pain, I was able to summon the courage to re-build the muscles supporting my damaged discs in order to win America's first Olympic medal in aerial skiing.

In analyzing what made me successful, I believe I needed to find my passion, focus on key ingredients, make sure I was committed to my goals, find the ability to overcome adversities, believe in myself, take great risks, and develop my support system. But I also had to hold myself accountable to my ultimate goals along the way. I learned from my past mistakes that accountability was crucial to finding my success. My written goals were instrumental in my eventual success. In my opinion, it's not good enough to just set goals. You must quantify and qualify those goals, measure your progress at regular intervals and be honest with yourself at every step of the journey.
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