A guest article by the reigning world champion Lena Bringsken.

The professional life and that of a competitive athlete are more similar than some people think. Our collaboration began with this attitude: Ulrike, as The University Refresher, and I, Lena, as an artistic cyclist.

By way of background, I’ve been riding artistic bikes with my sister for 15 years now. We form a team of 2 and compete in the women’s age group (Ü18). By 2018, we have already been able to become vice world champion 3 times.

The first approach: define a goal. Here begins the first principle: formulate your goal SMART (specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and timed). I knew my goal was to become world champion, but how, when and by what means?

My target sentence: I am positive on 25.11.2018 and steer turning points clear and composed to a positive effect to the deserved (World Cup) title.

The second approach: What symbolic image helps me remember my goal and how to get there? With a large selection went through several rounds, to choose from: very different pictures and things that everyone has seen before. I decided on a picture that had a Ferris wheel on it and set the symbolism:

  • Wheel like art bike
  • The goal: to be at the top; date is the number of the gondola
  • The way: Does not go straight up, a lot of force must be applied
  • The attitude: do not be afraid of heights, a positive attitude.

And so the card with the Ferris wheel and its associated symbolism ended up in my gym bag. At every practice and competition, when I opened the bag, I saw the map and the focus became on the target. Of course, this did not always work out, but my goal was never forgotten at any time.

Then the time had come, 25.11.2018, the date we had been working towards and thus the final of the World Championship in Artificial Cycling. The nervousness was palpable, but my thoughts were clear: the goal was firmly in sight and only a few meters were missing until the Ferris wheel would arrive at the highest point. We managed a decent freestyle with a good result. However, the placement was decided later. We had taken the lead, and the direct competition had their turn after us. They skated a flawless free skate until they suddenly crashed one minute before the end; and thus it was clear: We made it! World Champion 2018!

The goal was achieved and for me it is certain: To a decisive part, the clear definition of the goal and my symbol image contributed to this.

Thanks for the support to The University Refresher and here’s to at least an equally successful 2019 with new goals and maybe even the same iconic image.


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