Road To The Olympic Games

Rowing

Power words propel Canadian rowers to silver

When you have a moment that counts, can you boil everything down to one or two words? It's a strategy that worked for Canada's silver-medal-winning lightweight doubles team of Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee.

How to choose your own personal motivator

Canadian rowers Lindsay Jennerich, left, and Patricia Obee used their power words to motivate them to the podium. (Kevin Light/CBC Sports)

By Adam Kreek for CBC Sports

When you have a moment that counts, can you boil everything down to one or two words? It's a strategy that worked for Canada's silver-medal-winning lightweight doubles team of  Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee.

For Obee, the word was "tunnel".  For Jennerich, the words were "no regrets".​

Needless to say, both athletes achieved their personal goals at the Rio Olympics. Here's how you can find your own power words.​

Be yourself

A key factor in Obee's and Jennerich's victory was their freedom to be themselves. They could express their thoughts, emotions and feelings without fear of judgement from each other or from their coach, Tom Morris. "He never judges us for our low moments," said Obee. "He helps us be the best form of ourselves." When you feel safe in your authenticity, you will get a word that means more.

Build it out

Before you can find your power word you need to get as much as you can out of your head. Write in your diary. Type on your computer. Jennerich and Obee had a blog where they wrote out their thoughts on their Olympic journey, where they explained their hashtag #DirtyDouble. "We aren't afraid to get dirty and settle disputes with a physical battle," wrote Obee.

Access the idea with the strongest emotions

Sort through your information and focus on the ideas that give you the biggest charge. Pick the best idea. Jennerich knew she could not control how her competition performed, but she could control how she attacked her race. "Really, I just wanted to leave this day being at peace, and being at peace means having no regrets," said Jennerich.

Pick the word(s)

It could be "tunnel", it could be "no regrets" or it could even be "pickles." The word can look ridiculous to others but have deep meaning to you. Pick the word that charges the deepest parts of your being.

Post it somewhere special

Their coach wrote the works on duct tape and put the tape on the soon-to-be silver medallist's foot stretchers. It was a special, secret motivation for both women that they didn't share with anyone until after the race was over. When you keep the power words away from others' judging eyes, your power words stay special.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.