You may know me as a two-time Olympic swimmer and World Champion; however, that's just part of my story.
Now, this is the point where you expect me to say - then I had this one experience and everything changed. Umm… nope.
I wish I could say the change happened overnight, but it didn't. In my experience, that's not usually how transformation happens.
There were a series of significant experiences that led to transformation. The first was a break.
After years of feeling like a robot - go-go-go, don’t feel, don’t show emotion, just grind - I stopped.
Stepping away from the pool, I traveled the world as a sports ambassador and volunteered with Wounded Warriors. My mindset, belief, and habits were challenged as I encountered amazing people, powerful life stories, and fresh perspectives. I explored psychology and faith in search of freedom from the doubts and inner critic destroying my confidence and the anxiety consuming me. The more I reflected and learned, the more I transformed.
Confused to clarity.
Doubtful to deliberate.
Fearful to full of faith.
Self-conscious to self-confident.
Surviving to thriving.
“For years I struggled with self-doubt, negative self-talk, fears, anxiety, and a deep feeling that I wasn’t good enough nor could I ever be good enough. I kept chasing records and medals, hoping that they’d give me the confidence and peace I genuinely desired, yet it never came. That is, until I hit rock bottom…”
Perhaps you read my bio and assumed I “had it all together." I was breaking world records, on the covers of ESPN, and chatting on the Today show. Yet, despite appearances, I was crumbling; imprisoned by fear, self-doubt, and a nasty inner critic for years.
Despite being a gold medal favorite at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, I failed to bring home a medal due to poor mindset and illness. I blamed myself. I blamed others. Lost, angry, burnt out, feeling hopeless, and like a complete failure, I spiraled.
I battled depression, adrenal fatigue, and severe body image issues. I pulled away from family and friends, feeling too ashamed to face them.
Transformation is hard, uncomfortable, and scary. It’s also beautiful, healing, and freeing. Living from a space of love, authenticity, and clarity is empowering.
Along the way, I realized three things that transformed my life:
1. We all have intrinsic value, which cannot and will not increase because of your achievements, title, money or any other cultural success metric. If you’re looking for worth, love, or validation in winning, you’ll be disappointed. Trust me, I tried…
2. Your mindset is everything. It dictates how you live, lead, and love.
3. Things work out for those who make it work and do the work.
Do you honor and respect your value or are you searching for it in another promotion or win?
Is your mindset helping or hindering how you live, lead, and love?
Are you doing the work or are you hoping someone else will do it for you?
If you don't feel good about your answers, I want to challenge you to take a step towards championing yourself. Move towards clarifying your vision, building confidence and courage from a space of authenticity rather than comparison, and consistently show up at your best.
Things work out for those who make it work and do the work. Are you ready?
Age broke first World Record
Age qualified for first Olympics
Age first started swimming
Medals won in International Competition
Yes, chocolate. Yes, even in cookies, ice cream, and everything else you might put chocolate in. The smell, the taste...Yuck!
I've only been to the North Island, so a return trip to the South Island is on my bucket list - maybe even skydiving in Queenstown.
As a child, I'd sneak into the kitchen before sunrise to create "concoctions" - a mix of any and all ingredients in reach. Only Mom tasted those terrible concoctions, always taking a bite and generously saying, "Yum." Fortunately for all, my concoctions have improved (for the most part!)
While gifts are great and appreciated, I am much more of an experience kinda gal. Whether it's for a birthday, Christmas, or anniversary present, I always cherish experiences with my loved ones above anything else (like a cooking class in Thailand with my best friend!).
High performers know that to consistently show up at their best and achieve their goals, they must take care of their mind, body, and spirit. Learn how to create a simple wellness strategy based on 5 key components of self-care.