Resilience: recovering from failure

DH: Hey Guys, welcome to Keep on Pushing Radio. I am your host Devon Harris. And as always you know our goal is to share with you ideas and insights that are going to inspire you and challenge you to live your absolute best life. So look man, is that something that you’re interested in? If you are then guess what? You’re in the right place, so welcome to Keep On Pushing Radio.

Our guest today has won fifteen national titles. Back in 1995 was named the Canadian female athlete of the year. She is a five-time Olympian by the way, from 1988 all the way up to 2002, and in those five Olympics she took home three Olympic medals. A bronze in Calgary 1988, a silver in Lillehammer 1994 and another silver in Nagano 1998.

 Of course with those kinds of accomplishments you know she’s a Hall of Famer, inducted into the Canadian speed skating Hall of Fame. And since her time on the rink she has been a motivational keynote speaker. She’s an entrepreneur, she has done some color commentating with CBC and TSN. Her latest job is CEO of speedskating Canada.

 I’m really pleased. She is certainly the kind of person we try to expose you to keep on pushing.

 Susan Auch.

I am so excited to introduce you to her. Susan welcome to keep on pushing.

SA: Thank you.

DH: Yeah man, so look you have had such an amazing career Susan, what do you think it is about your thinking or your mindset that you believe as accounted for your success?

SA: You know I think for me I had lots of years obviously to think about it and I have children who I want to influence to stick with things. And I think for me the biggest, probably of course I was lucky. I was born with physiological luck, talent I guess. And I was very coach-able but I think I was also really resilient. I recovered from failure very well, I didn’t take failure personally.

 It didn’t feel like it was me and my whole life failing when I failed and so I was able to get up and go again. And I think you know one of the things in Canadian sports that I think relives a lot is when people stop improving. If they improve early they stop.

DH: Yeah.

SA: So quitting is something that if we could keep all the talented youngsters and even slightly older people in sport, we would see a lot more success than we even do now.

DH: Yeah important point you have made Susan because….. look we all fail. 

SA: Hmm-Hmm.

DH: But unfortunately too many people see themselves as failure whenever they experience failing.

SA: Hmm-Hmm. 

DH: As opposed to seeing just the event as a failure and an opportunity to learn from and to grow from so kudos on that.

That is the keep on pushing spirit and —

SA: Hmm-Hmm.Hmm-Hmm.

DH: Was there anything particular in your early years that kind of inspired you to become and coached you to become resilient and be resilient?

SA: Well I have parents that were immigrants from Germany, came to Canada with nothing….. separately met here. They are both from Germany, but they met in Canada. And I think that sense of opportunity and optimism and adventure right?

 Taking on a risk, that’s a huge risk to take on when you’re eighteen. You move to a whole new country where you don’t speak the language with nothing. 

And I think that probably is something that obviously their personality right influenced?

DH: Yeah.

SA: As a child, but my dad also said to me when I was in the first year of speedskating I was doing all sorts of sports. So that I think is a critical one, I hear athletes talk about it I think it’s awesome that athletes talk about it. But multisport is massive and huge for skaters, our athletes to become the best athletes.

  You hear that time and again that the best athletes in the world were multisport athletes as kids, most of them.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: I mean for sure you can develop an athlete in a single sport from the age of three or two or whatever. If you want to put a golf club in their hands.

DH: Yeah.

SA: Some of them will make it through, most athletes who are multisport athletes. Or most athletes who are successful athletes at the top end were multisport athletes.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: That I know for sure, that benefited me .But my dad also put into me an optimism and he said this to me when I was about ten. You can do anything you want to do.

 You can go to the Olympics one day and I probably didn’t really understand what the Olympics were then. The seventy six Olympics were in Canada that summer and I think my dad got quite inspired by them. And so that was for sure something that would have turned my mind into aah! I can do this. 

DH: Yeah.

SA: I can do this, I can be the one to do this. And then I focused on Olympic sport because that’s what my dad told me I could do so.

DH: Yeah so you learnt resilience, your dad started to stretch your mind at a early age, at age ten. One of the things that I knw you dealt with, one of the challenges you dealt with earlier on was the fact that you’re asthmatic and —

SA: Hmm-Hmm 

DH: Usually when people hear about asthma they don’t see someone exerting themselves physically to any great extent. But you yourself and there are other great Olympic champions have proven that not to be the case.

SA: Hmm-Hmm.

DH: So talk to us about, was it really difficult in those early years working through your asthmatic condition?

SA: Absolutely! It was one of those kinds of chronic diseases where, the way you’re treated by your parents can make or break how you live your life. My parents….. my mother had asthma very bad. Spent a lot of time in homes in Germany and not having a normal childhood. 

She went early on to our doctor who said keep her lungs healthy and she will be better off and she may outgrow it but unfortunately that didn’t happen but — 

DH: Hmm-Hmm. 

SA: It’s one of the reasons I’m in sports right? It’s why my parents went overboard to ensure that we were in sports. The doctor said keep your lungs healthy during sports.

DH: Yeah.

SA: So that was new right? In those days that was new, there were some doctors who were saying just let her stop or let them stop because of the asthma but my doctor said she needs to control it.

 You need to take medication you need to keep your lungs from scarring with the medication and you need to keep your lungs strong.

 I think you know for me to find a routine that worked for sport was difficult and I remember the day I figured it out and it was after all of my short track careers. I did four world championships and an Olympics.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: But I was hungry and I was with our sport doc in Calgary and we came up with a sort of pattern of use to prevent my asthma from coming up in the first place. So that was super helpful. I think you need to have a prescription for it. You need to take care of it just like any other kind of illness like diabetes or mental health right?

DH: Yeah.

SA: You need to take care of it, it’s a disease that is chemical and you need to figure it out and I did and I was lucky for sure. I was also lucky I was as a sprinter that helped [laughter].

DH: Great advice and a great example for all those young kids out there who are asthmatic and feel that their life is now limited. And I think on bigger level it speaks to the fact that we all have limitations of one kind or another and it is argue for your limitations and they are yours.

 You can accept or acknowledge that they exist but then find a way to push pass them so that’s awesome. You spoke about the fact that you were a multi-sport athlete. What other sports did you do? And what was it about speed skating that cause you to zero in on it?

SA: You know I played soccer, my first sport was downhill skiing believe it or not in Manitoba.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: My parents were skiers and we skied down the banks of the Red River and then into Riding Mountain National Park. And then I did track, I ran cross country. My mom would find races that were public for us to go in and put us in them, I played soccer that was a big one. 

I loved horses I wanted to have a horse but of course with asthma it was difficult. So now I live on a horse property. 

DH: Right.

SA: I dove, I swam I did every sport. We tried it all. I was good at some I wasn’t good at others. I played ping pong and played ringette. Ringette was a big one that was a love of my life probably, that was before I finally picked speed skating as my kind of go to sport and I would say the primary reason would have been that it’s Olympic round.

DH: Right.

SA: And I wanted to go to the Olympic.

DH: And so you —

SA: And not just that I mean I had great girlfriends right? Those sports,those two were the holdout because of the friends I had,social network I had.

DH: Yeah.

SA: So for me, for young girls I think that’s how to keep you in sport is your friends are there, your social network is there.

DH: Right, create that bond with the people that you’re competing with and against.

SA: For sure.Yeah.

DH: So that’s how you got into speed skating and you mentioned that you did short track initially.

SA: Hmm-Hmm.

DH: Is that a normal transition to go from short track to long track?

SA: You know in Canada it is, because short track is accessible anywhere right? There are many more clubs that can facilitate short track than long track just because of the rink right?

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: A short track rink is in a hockey rink and so that’s where most little kids learn to  skate with the exception of maybe Calgary and Quebec City.

I really was focused again on long track I always wanted to be a long track skater, short track was not in the Olympics until 1988.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: Again, I wanted to be in the Olympics.

DH: Yeah.

SA: But the Canada games got me focused on short track. I qualified for the 1983 Canada games in short track and went and won my races and won three medals there and I had a president in Quebec come to me and say you know you should stick with this sport it is going to be in the Olympics and so that was it. 

DH: Right.

SA: So I went to short track through 1988, you know honestly I still wasn’t good enough to make the long track team even then. At twenty two I moved to long track and I was just a development skater at that point but I did make it to world championship.

  I credit short track and their competitive spirit and the fact that when you make the short track team in Canada you are expected to be on the podium right away.

SA: So I went on to a national team when I was eighteen, nineteen I’m not sure exactly how old. But it was nineteen I guess, expected to medal at the world championships and that’s interesting mindset. And when I came to long track it wasn’t quite the same. There were a lot of people on the team that really I think didn’t have that sort of picture of oh! We can stand on the podium too.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

 13:37 SA: So I brought that, I feel like I kind of brought that to long track and had a plan and. I was fortunate….. it was such a relief to stand in a lane by myself without five other people around a hundred meter corner instead of a hundred meter track so —

DH: Yeah. 

SA: It’s a totally different mindset, but I credit short track with keeping me in the sport long enough to see my physiology catch up to being able to be the top long track athlete that I was.

DH: So you mentioned the expectation that as a short track athlete and you make the Canadian team you’re expected to medal it’s very similar to being on a Jamaican sprint team you are expected to medal.

 Talk to me about what that level of expectation do for your confidence and your ability to eventually pull off winning a medal.

SA: I think it’s process. I really think that I had a process. I was decisive and super adventurous. while I had a process I basically sat down with my coach in 1988 when I moved to Calgary and said I want to be on the podium in 1992 or 1994. 

What do I have to do to get up there? We worked backwards and figured out what kind of five hundred meter times I needed to get and how do I get to those five hundred meter times and this was new in those days. We didn’t have the Canadians sports institute or support staff really. 

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: We had massages. That was awesome, but in that year they didn’t even take women to World Cups, only the men got to compete on the World Cup circuit.

 And I made it to the World Championships that year and ended with six place in the five hundred, so that’s how high level I was already and we were a pretty primitive program. I think one of the big things for me was I needed to have accountability in my own program.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: I needed to know what I was doing, why I was doing it and have a say in what I was doing. and how I was doing it. 

And I couldn’t control it. At the end of the day my coach Jack Walters who coached me I went through some awesome coaches. But in 1992 and 1994 Jack Walters was coaching me and he was really secure in himself and he let me debate with him. And we went through the debates of what I was doing and why I was doing it, and sometimes you know I won and sometimes he won. Most often he won because he knows what he’s doing. 

 DH: Yeah.

SA: But I understood at the end of the conversation why I was doing certain things, and so I think to me, athletes need to get involved in their own destiny. They can’t just assume coaches know everything that’s best for them. 

DH: Hmm-Hmm

SA: And they need to talk to their coaches I think, not run the programs. I think being coach driven is super, super important. Because I think athletes they are always biased it’s your own thing right?

DH: Right.

 SA: You do need to bring your concerns and your ideas forward because sometimes you have something to say that is super important. 

 DH: Yeah.

  17:00 SA: That was the interaction I had with coaches. It was interesting and I took a leadership role in that amongst the team for sure.

DH: So you mentioned a couple of interesting points Susan, so you spoke about process, whether sports or business sales or whatever it is. All of us have to go through the process if you want to succeed right? People in our society today I call it this microwave society, they want success like right now.

SA: Yeah.

DH: What you did and it’s very instructive is, that you went to the end right? You have to begin with the end in mind. You went to the end. I want to be on the podium in 1992,1994 what kinds kind of times do you need to be doing and work your way backwards?

SA: Yeah.

DH: So that’s instructive to everyone, you spoke about accountability. 

 SA: Hmm-Hmm.

DH: Also important I think when we are striving to succeed I think we have to learn to hold ourselves more than anybody else accountable. But of course the people around you and you spoke about that kind of relationship you have with your coach. And so the sales person need to have a similar relationship with their manager.

SA: Yeah.

DH: The CEO needs to have a similar relationship with their people as well, where there is some debate because when you bring different ideas and different minds to a particular issue then you will be able to succeed much faster. 

 18:35 SA: Yeah.

 18:37 DH: Right. So you had the Olympics on your mind from you were really, really young and that required I am sure a significant commitment long term. How did that impact the decisions you make? How did that impact your social circles, and what you did as you were growing up?

SA: Well, I love that you called it decisions, my pet peeve is calling any of my choices sacrifices. I never saw any of my choices as sacrifices.

 DH: Hmm-Hmm

SA: It bothers me when I hear that athletes sacrifice so much to get to where they got to. Because I think what we get in return is so amazing right?

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

 SA: There are choices that we make and they are not choices for everyone. But I was fortunate in my day….. I was able to find a sponsor and could have a sponsor pay for a lot of the things that allowed me to be able to do the things that the international you know top level skaters did.

 DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: I was fortunate, but the lack of structure probably actually worked for me. It was a good thing for me to be able to move forward so I was able to shape my own destiny and that was huge.

DH: Let’s go back to your earlier days, so you’re in elementary school I am not sure what they say in Canada, we say grade school h 20:15 here in America.

 SA: Hmm-Hmm.

DH: And you’re getting started with skating and I read where you didn’t like your skates, you had to kind of flower them up a little bit like race boys.

 SA: [laughter]

 DH: Talk to us about that.

SA: Yes I definitely didn’t see, I mean there was a period for sure where I felt like I was missing out on stuff.

 DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: I quit skating for what seemed like forever but it was near probably three months or something. My parents they were mad for sure, they felt like I was wasting what I had put into skating by then.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: They didn’t fight me on it, they just put other requirements on my life. You have to get a job, you have to do better in school. Not that I didn’t do well I always did well. Ironically, I did better in school when I was skating than that year when I didn’t skate. I needed to see what I was missing and it wasn’t much compared to what I was getting so I went right back to skating. [laughter]

But you didn’t feel…. worry that you’re missing stuff, but I don’t feel like I missed anything.  I had a  pretty average up-bringing and life with my friends for sure was structured so I got to avoid peer pressure. But I had my group of girlfriends that we’re still all in touch with each other and some of us went through elementary and most of us were in junior high when we met. I think that’s very, very important for athletes and I cringe at the idea of athletes leaving home before they finish high school, especially in our sport because it is a long road.

DH: Right.

SA: Had I started it too early and too aggressively, too young I almost certainly wouldn’t have gotten to where I got to in the end.

DH: Yeah.

SA: Parents who think that they have to rush their kids through sport, pick a sport you don’t have to rush through because it’s a lifelong journey. It’s still a journey obviously I am CEO of the sport and my children are speed skaters now. But I think that we need to take our time to enjoy the process of every day that we’re going through in the sport.

  So I did, I love skating. I just love figuring it out, I love to focus, I love thinking about the details.

22:39 DH: Yeah. So I know that young girls all over the world who are involved in sports …. as they train they get stronger, bigger more muscular.

 SA: Hmm-Hmm. Yeah.

DH: Body image issues. I know you had to deal with that earlier on, how did you work through that? And what advice would you have for young girls whether or not they’re doing sports.  But they don’t necessarily fit the media image of a perfect body how does a younger girl deal with those body image issues?

SA: Well, it’s so interesting because it seems so unbelievable that I worried about those things when I was young.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

 23:30 SA: And now it just seems so superficial compared to the strong skeletal system I gained as an older person right? When you feel strong you feel better. You are better, your identity is better, your health is better.

I have twin fourteen years old one of them came in from a run with her dad the other day, she jumped on the counter and she said I feel so happy when I run.

 DH: Hmm-Hmm. Yes.

SA:. So the benefits of sport are just so great, I think something that something that we have to enjoy and love and not get caught up in the details of how we look

 24:26 [inaudible]. For sure I had big legs, I was tall so the muscle spread out a bit.

 But I still focused on the details that I didn’t like and it’s hard for me to even comprehend now. But everybody feels that way but you have to just turn that focus into these strong muscles are going to make me more powerful and better and stronger.

 DH: Yeah.

 SA: And that’s awesome.

 DH: Right ,so five Olympic Games Susan, I won’t ask you which is your favorite because it would be like asking a parent which is your favorite child.

SA: [Laughter]

DH: But, what would you say are some of your most favorite memories among your five Olympic Games?

SA: Ah, you know a lillehammer was idyllic ,it was an Olympics that was beautiful. It was so cold but it was so perfect for me. I don’t remember much turmoil there at all and I think probably the moment I crossed the line and you can see the peace on my face even at the line.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: But the second I crossed the line I knew I had laid down every single ounce of me on that ice and could not possibly have done anything else. So I felt pure satisfaction and then looking at the clock and seeing that ended up being a silver medal was the cherry on top.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: But just having that absolutely perfect race when it counted was pretty fun and that happens once maybe twice in a lifetime. It’s rare where we don’t criticize anything after we finish. I mean I can go through it now and pick points that I know I can at and say that doesn’t look good I mean we were on hard tail skates we were not on clap skates right?.

 But that race, that feeling of laying down the perfect race the day it counted was more than enough

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: The medal was definitely the bonus so it wasn’t the bonus. Had I not win a medal, you know it’s hard to know for sure. But my feeling is that I would have lived with it fine, my identity would have been ok because I could not have done anything else and I knew that.

DH: So you go there and you gave your all as you said. You left everything on the on the ice, you felt great about yourself. We spoke earlier about failure and the fact that when you fail it’s not you it’s an event, and many people will look at a silver medal and say oh it’s a first loser. 

 And you just said hey if you hadn’t won a medal you think you would have been fine with it. And 

SA: Yeah, well that’s part of resilience I think too is learning how to live with it right?

DH: Hmm-Hmm

 SA: I really do believe that was the best that I could have been on that day.

 DH: Hmm- Hmm.

SA: Maybe if the person who won had fallen and I could have won but [laughter]those things happen for sure.

 DH: Yes, exactly.

SA: But I would not have felt any different at the end of the day like it would not have changed my life and how I felt my success out of the sport for sure. So there’s nothing I regret and that’s what I think a big thing is you need to figure out how to rationalize your successes and failures.

 DH: Hmm-Hmm. 

SA: Figure out how you can live with that with no regrets forever and I think you know I totally have that. I don’t have a single regret of myself

DH: Nice. You mention if the person who won out fall and you would have won was that Bonny Blair that 1994? Was that Bonny?

SA: Hmm-Hmm. Yeah, Yeah.

DH: I read that in 1995 your race against her is described as the greatest race of all time.

SA: Hmm-Hmm.

DH: Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

SA: Well a couple weeks before I was in a World Cup in Austria in Innsbruck and I won the race and my pair of second. And it was not Bonnie

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: There was a lot of wind and so I believed it was from the wind that I won. But the media decided…..I had put myself out on the line in 1992 after my race at the Olympic….s my disappointment…. my coach just told me to go out there and talked to the media and tell them where I was going and not what I just did.

 DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: The media liked me because I was always optimistic, I told them stuff that was kind of risky …… I’m going to be on the podium. So the media really liked that and I came home and it was their turn to give me confidence.

 DH: Right.

 29:41 SA: So they believed because I won that gold medal I was absolutely going to win in Calgary. I was a little you know there might have been some wind [laughter]

 I just started believing them and I got on the line and won, but I wasn’t head to head with her that wasn’t the race I won head to head with her. So there were steps in beating her so I beat her in that race the next day she came back beat my ass again.

DH: Yeah.

SA: But later on in the season I actually was in a race where I was head to head with her and I beat her head to head. For me that was probably an accomplishment. I’ll never forget that.

DH: Yeah.

SA: That was something that you know I had raced down one of the best racers in history in speed skating and so that was really fun for me .

DH: Right, another cherry on the top.

SA: Hmm-Hmm. Yeah.

 DH: So you retired in 1998, lots of time when I speak to athletes who have retired they speak about how depressed they get after their athletic career. Was that the case for you as well?

SA: You know I retired in 1998 and I don’t think I was quite ready. Like we had only spent one year on clap skate so I did come back in 1999. I was not depressed or sad. I don’t think I ever thought I was going to stop for good in 1998 [laughter]

DH: Yeah.

SA: I just kind of took a break.

DH: You just took a break then? [laughter]

SA: Yeah, but when I stopped in 2002 it was definitely difficult. But by that time I had already learned and in my mind feeling sad was chemical. I didn’t feel like it was my fault, so I right away went and saw someone I got some medication and within six months was feeling normal. There was nothing wrong right?

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

31:33 SA: I just had a ton of anxiety, it wasn’t depression for me. My body was used to exercising.

DH: Going hard yeah.

SA: So I think you need to deal with it chemically before you can deal with it emotionally if there is something really wrong.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

 SA: For me it was the down after the big high right?

 DH: Yeah,Yeah.

SA: What goes up must come down, and I had that and dealt with it relatively quickly. And if I could give any athlete that message I just, I’m sorry I have dogs in the background [laughter]

 32:10 DH: No, its OK

SA: I would say try to deal with the chemical issue before you deal with the emotional issue because usually often it’s chemical.

DH: Yeah.

SA: And you need to take care of yourself.

 DH: So you retired in 1998 and then you came back in 1999 with a push for Salt Lake in 2002.

SA: Yeah.

DH: How difficult was that?

SA: It was difficult because I was not the best anymore.

 DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: So you know I think that time gave me the opportunity to live without the accolade. Learn to live without having everybody tell me how good I was right?

DH: Right.

SA: I think that’s healthy too, I kind of probably stopped two years later and not gone to the 2002 Olympics.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: At the end I was there as a mentor and I feel like I had a part to play. Cindy Classen’s success there and her future career because I felt like I helped mentor her.

So you know you take something out of every experience you have.

DH: Yeah. So —

 33:17 SA: It was a hard Olympics for sure not to be the best at, but I always had hope that I can possibly get on the podium. I changed my blades the week before and that was a mistake. So —

DH: The eternal of flame of optimism you know burns brightly doesn’t it?

 SA: Oh for sure yeah.

DH: So you retired and you got involved, you became a motivational keynote speaker. You had a foray in politics. 

SA: Hmm-Hmm.

DH: You got involved in girl’s empowerment. Can you touch on those real quickly for me

SA: I retired I went and did something like real estate which was sort of in the middle of road of things I thought I would be driven by. I loved it, but I wasn’t driven by it.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

 SA: It wasn’t like skating and I worried about my ability to raise a family when I was focused on something so intense like skating. So real estate was a great combination that I could mix having a family and working.

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: I was a very focused mom at the same time. When I had twin girls in 2004 and then a third daughter in 2007. Started my real estate career and I did love public speaking, but again traveling with twins was difficult so that took a side role

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: A bit of a break, I still do some I would love to do more. I need to just get myself out there to do more, but being busy with now being the CEO of speed skating Canada is incredibly intense job.

 DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: I spent time connecting, reconnecting with the organization as a committee member on the high performance committee of speedskating Canada. Then on the board for a bunch of years before I became the CEO. So that connect I think is necessary for athletes in order to feel like everything they did wasn’t a waste.

 DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: Because just like you’re retiring at a young age right?

DH: Yeah.

SA: So I think all athletes want to reconnect or be connected with their identity that they felt like it was a big part of their life for a long long time. So that was a great way for me to stay connected but not be working in sport, I never wanted to work in sport and now I am.

DH: [laughter]

 SA: My kids are older and it’s a bit different and I love it so.

 35:43 DH: So your girls, all three girls right?

SA: Yeah.

DH: So they’re in speedskating, do they harbor Olympic aspirations?

SA: Uh, oh yeah. They all think that everybody goes to the Olympics, so I don’t think they think it’s anything special.

 DH: Right.

 36:02 SA: They do know that it’s special to go to the Olympics. They have that optimism for sure.

DH: Yeah, Yeah Good. 

SA: Yeah, they speed skate, the youngest still play soccer. She loves soccer. They all jump horses so that’s what they love that’s totally a love. The twins really have made big jumps in speed skating this year so we’ll see. I mean if they go that direction they do.

 But every day they’re in sport they learn the values and the qualities that will help them for the rest of their lives. I think that’s great so whatever they choose to do or where ever they go with it, its a bonus everyday that they do it.

DH: Let’s touch on girl’s empowerment a little bit, I know that’s something that’s near and dear to you. You have three girls.

SA: Yeah.

DH: What advice do you have for girls in terms of them finding their voice and being confident in who they are.

SA: Girls are very different than boys and I think you know obviously there are some girls that are more like boys and some boys that are more like girls. But the reality is we are different physical beings right?

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: I think for girls it’s especially important for them to do things that they’re scared to do when they’re young.

DH: Yeah.

SA: For boys they need to be more connected right? So those two things are interesting. I’ve heard a lot of conversation about ego and self-esteem and I think for girls they need to learn to be competent and confident. You get competent when you are confident at doing something, you only get confident when you try it. And if you never try it then this is the thing that holds back girls, I think is just trying something. Overcoming your fear to try something, even doing scary things right?

 DH: Yeah.

 SA: I think boys are more likely to do a scary thing than girls, in general. I am totally generalizing here.

 DH: Yeah,Yeah.

SA: Obviously I wasn’t very afraid.

DH: [laugher]

SA: So I did things really risky, but we were very focused on making sure that we pushed the boundaries or pushed the comfort zone of our children and I think they’re pretty brave. They’re pretty adventurous you want to make sure they’re not impulsive, so —

DH: Hmm-Hmm.

SA: You do have to put decision making skills into them, so they make good choices when they have the opportunity to make the choice themselves. But I think to get girls out there and get confident they’ll stand up and they’ll talk about things and tell people if something isn’t right. And that’s been lacking for a long time.

  I think when a woman says something out loud they get criticized for it or they get told their emotional.

DH: Yeah.

SA: Where if a man does that they are —

DH: Strong.

SA: They are assertive, yeah.

DH:  Yeah.

 SA: Yeah

DH: Yeah

 SA: And it isn’t nice that he’s emotional right?

DH: [laughter]

SA: So we need to stand up, I need to teach my girls that they can be stronger and other parents with boys need to teach their boys that they need to champion getting girls to be stronger.

DH: Yeah, you know I think the world is moving in that direction.

 SA: Yeah.

DH: Slowly, so that’s a good thing. Susan you have been such an amazing role model you know, certainly an Olympic champion.

Someone who demonstrated that even a tiny kernel planted in their mind back at age ten by their dad can really bloom…… as you just said the ability to take risks and the ability to be resilient.

SA: Hmm- Hmm. Hmm-Hmm. Yeah.

DH: Kind of stick with that, and to find your own voice. You are a shining example for girls I know, but for all of us. Young boys and people in every walk of life as well. Your story, your history as an Olympic athlete…. speed skater one of my favorite events watching outside bobsledding…..is an example for all of us and it is definitely the epitome…. in my mind, of the keep on pushing spirit which is why I was so keen on having you share your stories and your insights with the audience.

SA: Hmm-Hmm. Thank you.

DH: Thank you so much.

SA: Thank you for having me.

DH: Yes man.

SA: Thank you for having me, this was great it brings back lots to memories to get to talk about this so.

DH: Yeah unfortunately we never met in the Olympic village.

SA: Yeah.

DH: It would have been fun.

SA: Yeah.

 DH: But it’s all good,t hank you so much for —

SA: Well maybe we will meet one day.

 40:39 DH: Yes looking forward to that and huh—

SA: Alright.

DH: Keep on pushing.

SA: Thank you very much, bye.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *