Law of Attraction in Action: Michael Phelps

This weekend 23 year old Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps set a new record for the most gold medals won by an athlete at a single Olympics. The road to this amazing accomplishment hasn't been an easy one.

In elementary school, Phelps was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, and briefly took Ritalin before telling his mother that his friends didn't use medicine and he would handle it himself. Along the way, a middle school teacher told Phelps that he would never be successful.

About this same time, he started swimming at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, the swim club where his sisters competed. It was there that he met coach Bob Bowman, the same coach that has trained Phelps ever since.

In a June, 2008 interview with TODAY's Matt Lauer, Coach Bob Bowman and Phelps discussed their goal-setting techniques. As the swimmer did before going to the Olympics in Athens, he writes his goals for the year down and keeps them next to his bed. When Lauer asked for hints as to what his 2008 Olympic goals would be, Phelps replied, "The times are faster and then Bob takes care of hopefully getting me to those times in training."

Lauer then asked Bowman what he believed would be written about Phelps after the 2008 Games were over. "Greatest Olympian ever," said the coach.

Now, there are two individuals who are very, very clear about their intentions. They write down their goals. They create a plan to reach those goals. Then they execute the plan. THOSE are steps we can all take to make our dreams come to fruition.

You see, it's not enough to just know what you want. You need to write it down. Then you have to take action, even if it's just small steps, toward your goals. You may feel uncomfortable at times. Occasionally during practice sessions, Bowman pushes Phelps past the point of exhaustion and into places he doesn't want to go. In an AP article on, Phelps says, "Bob has a saying, 'Putting money in the bank.' When we train every day, sometimes there are workouts you don't like, don't want to do. Bob says you're putting money in the bank. I guess I put a lot of money in the bank over the last four years, and we withdrew pretty much every penny in the bank. After Bob and I both grab a little break it'll be time to start depositing."

When told that people are comparing him to golfer Tiger Woods, Phelps said, "I just think of myself as, honestly, a normal person coming here, swimming every day because I love it. I just have high goals for myself, and I don't want to give up until I achieve those."