Athletic Mindset with 5 Personal Power Tips

Boy on a mission!

During my early morning workout at LA Fitness back in 2011, he wheeled past me while I was on the StairMaster. Mostly minding my own business, the curiosity got the best of me as I watched him, but I then focused back on the TV monitors. Two minutes later I looked back over his way, to see the two pictures below. 

Travis Gaertner was born without his left leg and just a partial right leg. But that didn’t stop him from doing some amazing things, as he most certainly has had the athletic mindset since he was little. In our conversation he told me the prosthetic leg they gave him as a young boy just slowed him down, so he insisted on trying the wheelchair. 

Those wheels soon became his legs, he made a decision, he was on a mission! Travis decided he was going to be a world class athlete! Most people born without legs wo
uld probably feel sorry for themselves, but not Travis. Born in the snowy location of Canada, Travis would take his wheelchair out for a daily three mile push to build his strength and endurance. Now there’s a powerful lesson for us all!




Some of Travis’ incredible accomplishments are:
  • Canadian National Wheelchair Basketball Team 19982004 (6 years)
  • 2 time gold medalist – Paralympics in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.
  • Captain at the University of Illinois and member of Canadian national team
  • Graduated from the University of Illinois with BA, Actuarial Science in 2003
  • Consulting Actuary FSA, EA 2002Present (9 years)

Armed with Personal Power

There is little doubt, Travis armed himself with an inner strength, called Personal Power. Defined by ISEI (Institute of Social Emotional Intelligence), Personal Power is a sense of self-confidence and an inner knowing that you can meet life’s challenges and live the life you choose; the ability to have the difficult conversations in life, and to speak your truth quietly, sincerely, assertively and appropriately.

Think about your life for a moment. Do you lead a life with Personal Power filled with the knowing that you can DO what you THINK, and SAY what you’re going to do? Can you turn your Personal Power up a notch?



- Do you meet life’s challenges, and live the life you choose?
- Can you overcome difficult conversations?
- Are you willing to speak your truth in an appropriate way that helps you grow?

5 Tips to Develop Personal Power

Here are 5 development tips to increasing your Personal Power:

1. Set and keep your boundaries

2. Move on from failures

3. Take an assertiveness course or read a book on assertiveness

4. Stop trying to control situations over which you have no control or power

5. Envision yourself as smart, competent, articulate, poised, and admired


Seeing his accomplishments, it’s fairly obvious that Travis doesn’t see himself as “handicapped.”  What is apparent is that he has a strong athletic mindset, filled with Personal Power. What can you do to increase your PP?



This article was originally posted by The Athletic Mindset in January 2011. Edited and reposted 2015


About The Athletic Mindset - Translate insights into actions, become your own manager of change. We help you prepare for life’s game, with your heart, head and strengths all in hand. Prepare to win, play to win, expect to win.

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