Brett Hawke: True Intentions 

3 comentarios

Very inspiring. Applicable to All facets of Life .
True intentions indeed Will catapult one into The highest level of success . It can also be The Power upon which one can be of Service to Others . And spread The Love . Thank you for this . Keep up The great work !

Mutya 12 enero, 2024

I like this. I need more of this in my life!

Andrew Dawes 11 enero, 2024

That was very well written and resulted in being captivating. Congratulations on the success so far in your Life and the positive impact you’re having on others. I truly believe that if we are not helping others while we are on this Earth, then what are we doing here?!!!

Joseph L Martin 11 enero, 2024

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“I can remember every single detail; I can remember the call room, I can remember the warm up, the heat, the sounds, the way I was feeling. I can hear my heart beating. I can feel everything. I remember looking down the pool and thinking to myself, in 22 seconds you could be Olympic champion.” 

Australian sprint freestyler Brett Hawke was a 2x Olympian, 5x national champion, and earned 7 international medals throughout his years as a competitor. Now as a globally sought-after coach, Hawke is still working for hundredths of seconds. Dedicating his life to sprint freestyle, from water to land, it’s not what he was doing but how he was doing it that led him to success. 

CROSSROADS 

“I grew up in an era with some of the greatest freestylers in the history of the sport,” Hawke says, listing Ian Thorpe, Michael Klim, Chris Fydler, and Ashley Callus. “Out of necessity, I had to become better in myself if I wanted to compete. I had no choice. It was just a matter of do you want to represent Australia, or not? So then it became, well, if you do, you've got to be really good at this particular set of skills.”

Answering that question was a very conscious action for Hawke. He fell short of qualifying for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and it put him at a difficult crossroads. 

“My biggest lesson in life was when I missed the Australian Olympic team by three one-hundredths of a second and I 100% believed that my Olympic career was over. At that point in time, I was 20 years old and my father was telling me that I needed to move on with my life and get a real job. I felt like my time had passed and that I had missed an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Amid the disappointment, it was the outside pressure to quit that made Hawke internally realize what he needed to do. 

“I had hit that rock bottom of people wanting me to give up on my dream and got this fire inside my belly that was raging. I had to rebel against those words that were coming in. It was this internal battle of like, no, no, there's more, there’s more, and it raged until it spilled over to say I’ve got to do something about this. I’m the one in control here, not everybody else. I took all that negativity and all that doubt and I used that as fuel to live off for the next four years.”

CLEAR INTENTIONS

Hawke’s father was encouraging him to quit but it was precisely his father that gave him the fortitude to forge ahead with swimming. 

“I come from a very working class family. My family’s mentality was that you have to work for things, no one’s going to give you anything. In that sense, I had that influence from my father to say, hey, if this is gonna happen for me, I have to go out there and earn it. I've gotta work for it. No one's just gonna hand it to me.”

With absolute clarity, Hawke set out to prove everybody wrong and prove to himself that he could make the next Olympics, his home Games in Sydney. 

“When I made that mental shift, my whole life changed. When I set my intention on becoming an Olympian—true intention—then there was nothing that could stop me. I was going to make it happen.” 

And he did. Twice. Hawke qualified for the Sydney Olympics, placing 13th in the men’s 50 m freestyle with an overwhelming 75 family members in the crowd. He then qualified for the Athens Games in 2004. With the possibility of being Olympic Champion, from centre pool in lane 5, Hawke finished in 6th place by a mere 0.25 seconds. Even though he missed out on a medal, Hawke had undoubtedly reached the pinnacle of the sport. 

If you set your intention on something, then it's absolutely achievable—I know that to be true. If you set your intention on something, then you can achieve anything in life.”

COACHING THE PERSON, NOT THE ATHLETE

However, even as one of the best sprinters in the world, Hawke’s mentality wasn’t bulletproof and he constantly struggled with confidence. 

“I always felt like the underdog. I never really gave myself enough credit once I got to the top of my game to say, hey, I'm one of these people,” he shares candidly. “I always felt like an outsider. I always had kind of an imposter syndrome. I saw some of my competitors as just better than me and I think at times I gave them too much credit for that.”

For a second time in his life, Hawke took that doubt, negativity, and fear into fuel—but this time he used it on the pool deck. Hawke transitioned from athlete to coach after Athens, taking a coaching position at his alma mater, Auburn University in the USA. He ensured his experience informed his coaching:

“I wish at some point in my career I had the people around me to say that you belong there, you're good enough, you're one of them. I didn't have enough people like that. I was even surrounded by people who just couldn't believe that I was there in the first place. So, what I tried to do as a coach is instill in my athletes that you absolutely belong here. This is where you belong. You've earned this. You were born to do this.”

“I wanted them to understand that they had a partner in their performance. So when they walked to the block, they weren't walking alone and they didn't have these doubts and fears that nobody was with them. I wanted them to feel secure in the fact that I believed in them 100% and they belonged exactly there.”

True to those intentions, two years later when one of his swimmers, Brazilian Cesar Cielo, confidently stepped up to the blocks and won gold in the 50 m freestyle at the Beijing Olympics, Hawke says it felt like he was standing on the podium with him. 

BEING AND BECOMING 

It all came right back to intention. 

“I created a persona and a group mentality that we were the best in the world and everybody had eyes on us, everybody wanted to be like us, everybody wanted to train like us. We're not trying to chase anybody, people are trying to chase us.”

“When we walked on the pool deck, I made sure that we had a presence. I wanted people to notice us. I wanted people to see us. I wanted people to want to be with us and be in our team. I wanted us to be the group that when you walked on the pool deck, everyone was like, wow, they look amazing, they look confident, they look together, they look happy, they look like friends—like we were unbeatable—and that’s what we trained to do every day.”

It was more than just setting the tone at practice too; Hawke infused every part of training with that mentality. 

“That's where I think having the best equipment is an important thing. Having a uniform, having equipment that is cutting edge, like having goggles like THEMAGIC5. When you put them on your face, people are like, wow, what are they? I want to wear those goggles, they look incredible. Aligning yourself with the best in the world and cutting edge products helps create that persona.”

BE MORE

After a long successful tenure at Auburn, Hawke moved on to other opportunities in 2018, including coaching at another two Olympics, and now he travels the world sharing his expertise. Having total control over his working life, Hawke says he has never been more productive or happy.

“I really just started to back myself a lot,” he says. "I get to choose where I work now, who I work with, and what I teach them. It's a lot more invigorating and it makes me more excited to go to work every day. I'm flying all around the world and having an influence, talking to people and getting them to really understand the nuances of sprint training.”

He bubbles over with his ideas on specialization and talent identification, and how that could keep more young people in the sport for longer and push performance even farther. He talks about upcoming clinics, the launch of his new website, and the joy of his podcast. He talks about how volume is giving way to quality and the best swimmers in the world are putting more attention and effort into technique and high quality swimming.

How youre doing things is more important than what youre doing. Everybody has a different way of doing certain things, certain practices, but it’s not necessarily what you’re doing, it’s how you’re doing it.”

Hawke is talking about swim training but it’s the same spirit of intentionality that Hawke has unearthed, cultivated, harnessed, and unleashed his whole life. 

His medium is sprint freestyle and his method is coaching but his message, that reaches far beyond the four walls of a pool, is that intention—true intention—is how greatness is achieved. 

( 3 ) Comments

Very inspiring. Applicable to All facets of Life .
True intentions indeed Will catapult one into The highest level of success . It can also be The Power upon which one can be of Service to Others . And spread The Love . Thank you for this . Keep up The great work !

Mutya

I like this. I need more of this in my life!

Andrew Dawes

That was very well written and resulted in being captivating. Congratulations on the success so far in your Life and the positive impact you’re having on others. I truly believe that if we are not helping others while we are on this Earth, then what are we doing here?!!!

Joseph L Martin

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