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Stephanie Dearing


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Rolling the D.I.C.E to guarantee success: 8 steps to build your performance through strong beliefs


Belief is crucial to success, but many people mistakenly think that belief is something you are simply born with or without and don’t realise it is something anyone can create for themselves. On our journey to Olympic Gold we spent significant time and effort cultivating our beliefs, in the same way that we devoted time to building our physical strength. What turned out to be crucial? Knowing what we needed to believe, where to source these beliefs and how to strengthen them.

What to believe: Role the D.I.C.E
There are four things you need to believe and an easy way to remember them is the acronym DICE...

  1. Believe that you Deserve success. Many people hold themselves back by thinking they shouldn’t or mustn’t on some level. Did we deserve to win Olympic Gold. No, who deserves that?! But if we stripped it back to basics it was just a race and we deserved to win a simple race as much as the next crew. In the same way you deserve to win that contract, start that business or make that money.
  2. You need to believe your goal is deeply Important. Ask yourself what will achieving this goal improve in your life? How will you feel when you’ve achieved it? What impact will it have on the wider world?
  3. Believe that you Can do it. This isn’t naïve blind faith, it is belief borne of strategy, planning, preparation, and self-knowledge of the strengths and qualities you bring to your endeavour. We knew we weren’t the physically strongest crew in the word, but we knew we could win Gold through technical excellence and teamwork.
  4. Believe your endeavour is Exciting. This is the belief that puts fire in your belly and gives you the energy to stick with it through the boring activities and the difficult phases. It will be hard to sustain your efforts if you’re not excited about what you are achieving. I didn’t really mind the early starts and I got through the gruelling weights sessions because I was so excited at the thought of standing on the Podium, singing my heart out to the National Anthem.

  5. Where to source beliefs from

  6. Your personal memories are a treasure trove of references to build useful beliefs. Perhaps there are memories of successes, or times when you stepped up and did the right thing. Perhaps you have references of times when you handled disaster or persevered through adversity. Pick examples that genuinely resonate and write them down. For example the most powerful reminder of your ability to negotiate with feisty suppliers might be the time you persuaded your mum to buy you a hamster when you were a kid!
  7. Find role models. These don’t have be carbon copies of what you want to achieve, but people or companies who exhibit some of the strategies or qualities you need. I was inspired by the likes of Daley Thompson when I was a kid, but the role models that were most useful were the people just a step in front of me – surely I could catch them up?
  8. Use metaphors and analogies. Harness your imagination to create the vivid sense of you achieving. Analogies appeal to the emotional centres of our brain and are easy to remember. Our crew talked about being like a stone rolling down hill, gathering unstoppable momentum. It was a powerful mental picture that built our belief that we were getting better and better.

  9. How to strengthen them

  10. We wrote our beliefs down. We talked about them. We reminded each other about them again and again. In fact we spent so much time talking that other crews took the micky out of us for not spending enough time on the water or in the gym. But we knew that repetition is the mother of skill. How might this translate for you? Perhaps you could keep a journal, or stick a list to your fridge door, or create a shared team document that gets reviewed every team meeting. Repeat, repeat, repeat until it feels as though you are discussing incontrovertible fact!

Knowing what we needed to believe, where to source these beliefs and how to strengthen them was as important to us getting Olympic Gold as physical power and technical skill. If you spend just a bit of time and effort cultivating your beliefs, you can reap massive benefits in terms of both your business and personal success.

Ben Hunt-Davis won Gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as part of the Men’s Rowing Eight. He is now an Inspiring Keynote Speaker and Corporate Coach. He has teamed up with Executive Coach, Harriet Beveridge to write “Will It Make the Boat Go Faster? Olympic-Winning Strategies for Everyday Success.” To buy the book or find out more, go to

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Stephanie Dearing

Assistant Web Producer

Read more from Stephanie Dearing

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