Allyson Felix on defeating disappointment and savoring success | ReThinking with Adam Grant
In this episode of ‘Re:Thinking with Adam Grant’, Allyson Felix, the most decorated track and field athlete in American history, shares her journey to success, her experiences with disappointment, and how she has learned to savor her achievements.
She discusses her initial disappointment at winning a silver medal at the age of 18, which she saw as a failure rather than a significant achievement.
This disappointment fueled her determination to strive for gold.
Advocacy for Athlete’s Rights
Felix’s journey is not just about her athletic achievements.
She also challenged Nike’s lack of pregnancy protections for athletes, which led to a change in their policy.
This shows her commitment to advocating for the rights of athletes, particularly women, and her willingness to use her platform to effect change.
When you’re on the elite level for a while, you’re expected to win right, you’re expected to be great. And I think oftentimes people take that for granted and they don’t… those moments are heavier than the victories. – Allyson Felix
Resilience and Determination
Felix’s story is a testament to the power of resilience, determination, and perspective.
Despite the challenges and disappointments she faced, she remained committed to her passion and continued to strive for excellence.
Her journey serves as an inspiration for others to persevere in the face of adversity and to never lose sight of their goals.
I feel like my silver medals have really shaped me in a sense. It’s the character, the integrity, all of the things that you need to be able to grow. – Allyson Felix
The Maximizing Mindset
Felix identifies herself as a maximizer, always striving to be the best and to do better than anyone has done before.
This mindset, she believes, is necessary for anyone who is extremely ambitious.
Felix talks about her growth and how she learned to savor success.
She shares how she used to be devastated when she lost races, but over time, she learned to see these moments as opportunities for growth and improvement.
She learned to reevaluate her approach, look for ways to improve, and appreciate the lessons she learned from these experiences.
Gratitude and Respect
Felix emphasizes the importance of gratitude and respect for her competitors.
She acknowledges that she is not the only talented athlete and appreciates the excellence around her.
She also talks about the importance of lifting others up and helping them succeed.
Competing to Win
Felix discusses the difference between competing to win and running not to lose.
She prefers racing to win, as it is more enjoyable and aligns with why she started running in the first place.
She also acknowledges that the mindset of racing not to lose can lead to feelings of relief rather than joy when winning.
The Motherhood Penalty
Felix discusses the bias faced by working women, particularly when they decide to have children.
This bias, known as the ‘motherhood penalty,’ is prevalent in sports, where people often question a woman’s commitment to her career after pregnancy.
Felix argues that supporting women holistically can prevent them from having to choose between their career and starting a family.
Despite the challenges she faced, Felix came back stronger after her pregnancy and being dropped by Nike.
She shares the satisfaction of proving her doubters wrong and achieving success on her own terms.
She also highlights the importance of persistence and not giving up when faced with limitations.