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How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk Like an Olympian

Like most people, I’ve been watching the Olympics the past week and a half. It’s the best way to witness people’s pursuit of their passions in action.

What I love most about the Olympics and sports in general is the inspiration and encouragement it provides for everyone who has a passion and a dream.

You’re Never Too Old…

The stories I’m most inspired by are the ones where the athlete has competed in numerous Olympics over the years.

In this winter Olympics, there’s 45-year-old Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai who now holds the record with EIGHT STRAIGHT Olympic appearances. 

Kasai says he also plans to compete in the 2022 Olympics as he approaches age 50.


But it’s the story from the 2016 Olympics that I love most.

It’s of the Uzbekistan gymnast Oksana Chusovitina. 

At the time, Oksana was 41-years-old competing in her seventh Olympics (and she still hasn’t ruled out Tokyo!) in a sport where as young as 21 is considered “old.” 

Oksana is my “shero” because she and I are almost the same age (I’ve got a year on her), and she doesn’t allow her age to be an obstacle to her dreams and her passions.

Most people in her position would tell themselves they are “too old.” 

Too old for what? 

Tell that to the 85-year-old woman I met while volunteering for the Senior Olympics. 

By the time she’d made it to the event I was working, she had already competed and medaled in NINE other events over the previous three days.


…Or Too Young

On the flip side of this, I was recently working with a new client who shared with me that one of her self-talk limiting beliefs (a perceived obstacle) is she is “too young.” 

I found this surprising coming from someone who works as an actress, also a career where time and age are against you. 

My response was, “too young for what?” 

When I delved deeper into where this limiting belief came from, I discovered she suffers from the same thing I used to: 

“youngest-sibling-syndrome”

I describe this phenomenon as never feeling adequate because your oldest sibling is there to remind you that in their eyes you’re still just a baby and have nothing meaningful to contribute to the world.


Age Is Just a Number

The point is though, age is just a number. 

We have the choice to let our circumstances, others’ opinions, or even our own negative self-talk control our lives. 

Or, we have the choice to be inspired and moved by the examples of those who ignore all the “you can’t because of your age” talk and say to themselves, 

“I can, even if I fail in my attempt.”


From the judges’ perspective, Oksana failed miserably in her landing of her vault. 

Upon landing so hard she ended up going into a flip on the mat. 

From my perspective though, she should’ve gotten extra points for the extra flip. For making such a failed landing look so graceful!


Change Your Limiting Beliefs and Your Negative Self-Talk

If you have a God-given desire to try something you or others may consider you to be either “too old” or “too young” for, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is this limiting belief keeping me from?
  • What would be the worst-case scenario if I keep believing this?
  • How can I turn this belief around to a more positive statement?
  • How can I benefit from believing the more positive statement?
  • What would be the best-case scenario if I start believing the positive statement?

I encourage you to be as honest as possible in your answers. As you answer each question, you’ll see how you can turn your negative self-talk to positive self-talk.


How to address your limiting beliefs is just one of eight steps in my 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. To get all eight steps, subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a free download.

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