What I’ve come to realize from working with college athletes and coaches is that quite often many of them just do not realize how truly great they could be. This occurs despite the fact that these students are playing athletics at the college level and are very talented. Getting them to truly understand the gap between their historical performance and their actual potential is challenging. When they finally do make the connection that as good as they are now, they have the potential to be even greater, the results can be amazing.

How do you make that connection between performance and potential? As I mentioned, it’s not easy. I find it helps to review how important goals are and usually go through the 5 steps for setting and achieving stretch goals. (To get a refresher as to what these are, read one of my more recent blogs on this subject: 5 Steps to Accomplish the Extraordinary).

Goal setting is necessary—but that’s only the beginning. I think things actually start to click when the discussion turns to the 5 traits of super achievers:

1. We truly understand the greatness that is within us. To truly understand one’s greatness we need to ensure we have people we believe in and trust to help us see the greatness within us. Often we need someone else to help us see what we cannot see ourselves. Once we do, then it becomes easier to seek out opportunities to develop—that will motivate, inspire and resonate with us.

2. We are genuinely confident. We believe in ourselves. We know that others will try to discourage us but we ignore those naysayers. We genuinely believe we can achieve what we set out to do.

3. We realize obstacles are NECESSARY for success. We understand that success involves taking risks. Risks often involve failure. But we view these failures as learning opportunities and realize that no one, not ever, has attained anything worthwhile without facing setbacks and obstacles.

4. We have exquisite clarity about what we will accomplish and do. We can picture in our mind exactly what we want to achieve. We need this clarity to visualize achieving what we set out to do so we can figure out the steps we need to climb to get there.

5. We have made a promise to ourselves and those we love to be incredible! We understand the power of self-fulfilling prophecies. We share our plans with others and know that this helps us stay the course—for we are accountable not only to ourselves but to those who mean something to us. When faced with failure and/or defeat, we are able to draw deep down due to this accountability.

I don’t tell them it will be easy. Exactly the opposite. Achieving greatness is hard work. But that should be no stranger to them because they can’t get to where they are today (playing college sports) without working hard and nursing some bumps and bruises along the way. They already have the right stuff—they just need to channel it better. Once they realize what they can become, nothing can hold them back. The results truly are amazing.