What You Need to Be the Best | Nastia Liukin on Impact Theory | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "What You Need to Be the Best | Nastia Liukin on Impact Theory".
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I think that is so important to be able to say like, this is my dream and not be ashamed by it, because whatever your dream is, that's your dream. Don't let someone take that away from you. If you have this burning desire inside of you, then you just need to go full force and kind of block out all the negativity and everything else that is around you telling you that you can't do it. - Hey everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. You're here my friends because you believe that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know that having potential is not the same as actually doing something with it. So our goal with this show and company is to introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your dreams. All right, today's guest is one of the most decorated competitors the sport of gymnastics has ever seen. Born the daughter of two Soviet world champion gymnasts, she began training young, but not because her parents forced her to, but because she absolutely loved it. She pushed herself constantly, committed to seeing just how far she could take her career and her hunger and dedication paid off big time. By the time she retired in her early 20s, she had become a four time all around US National Champion with nine world championship medals tied for the third highest tally of world championship medals by any US gymnast in history. Additionally, she captured the world's imagination at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by becoming a five time Olympic medalist and one of only three Americans ever to win the all around gold medal in gymnastics. Incredibly, however, what makes her one of the most enduring names in elite gymnastics isn't just her victories, it's how she handled herself in defeat. In an attempt to make the 2012 Olympic team and defend her all around gold medal in front of 20,000 adoring fans and millions more watching on TV, she failed a maneuver on the uneven bars and fell flat on her face literally, but she didn't sulk or lay there and cry, she got up, brushed herself off and finished the routine, even though she knew who her Olympic dreams were now over. The grace and depth of character that she demonstrated earned her the first standing ovation of her career and cemented her legacy. Refusing to let her pass be bigger than her future since retiring, she has earned her degree in sports management, started her own clothing line and along with her fiance set her sights on helping the next generation of athletes. So please, help me in welcoming the woman who tied the record for most medals by a US gymnast in a single Olympic Games, one of those rare athletes who so embody the qualities of a champion that they've graced the front of a Wheaties box, Nastia Lukin. - Welcome to the game. - Thank you, thanks for having me. - I think you like said it all. - Well my goal with that always is to, one, let people know that like, I know the story, I know it well and then go somewhere that you haven't gone, right? You've already put out so much amazing content, your book's incredible, the interviews you've done that were incredible. And now like, how do we take that a layer deeper to give people something that they can really go with? And the place that I wanna start is actually the dedication to your book, which I shouldn't have been surprised by, but for some reason I was.
Motivation And Self-Reflection
Why think big? (03:07)
And a paraphrase, it was to all the girls out there who have big dreams think bigger, work harder. And I thought, whoa, why think bigger, why work harder? - You know, I think for me, there were so many times in my life that I was told no, I was told I wasn't good enough, I wasn't strong enough, I wasn't fast enough, I was too skinny, so many things where people just didn't believe in me. And I think, you know, I owe a lot to my parents, which I'm sure we'll get into, but I just feel like they truly taught me to believe in my dreams. And I had this huge dream of winning that all around gold medal at the Olympics. And not many people believed in me, but when I was able to kind of set that dream in that goal, and I knew it was like this huge goal that, you know, for so many years, for an American gymnast, it was unattainable and unachievable. So Mary Lou Renton won in 1984, and then one of my closest friends and teammates, Carly Patterson won in 2004. So it had been 20 years before an American gymnast won. And so being able to train in the same gym as Carly, the gym that my parents started was really something that inspired me every single day, because she kind of made me believe that this is possible. You know, it is possible for an American gymnast to do that. And so I think just being able to see that every single day inspired me. That being said, I just feel like so many times there's people around you whether they're in your life or now social media, you know, people are always going to tell you no, and people are always going to like roll your eyes when you tell them your dream or your goal. And I think what I realized throughout my career and continue to realize is that those dreams and those goals are within reach. And they're, you know, just at the tip of our fingertips. And if we really want to do it, it's far beyond obviously then just like work hard and believe in yourself. You know, you have to do a few more things in between all of that. But I just think with young girls today that it's important for them to have a voice and to believe in that voice. - What I loved about the quote was, you didn't say keep dreaming. You said think bigger and work harder. And so I'm glad you brought up your parents. One thing that I love is originally your mom started as your coach. - Yeah. - And then your dad was watching her let you off. Like if you said you retired or heard or whatever. So one, walk us through what was that moment for your dad seeing that like, was he just projecting out going, you have to go harder to win? And then are you glad that he stepped in? - Yes, I'm 100% glad that he stepped in. I think it was important for me to have at least one parent that was just a parent. And you know, my dad and I are so similar in the sense of we're perfectionist and everything that we want to do, we want to do 100%. And so that's great, but it also means that sometimes we butt heads and so that frustration, whether it's an injury or an obstacle that we have to overcome together as a team. Cause that's how we always felt. We were kind of like this triangle and call ourselves Team Luke in. It was me as the athlete. My dad was the coach and then my mom really held us all together. She was the rock in our family and in our team. And she was there in the gym every single day. You know, not coaching, but managing the gym, but also, you know, keeping like her, you know, one way I guess watching us and kind of trying to figure out what she could do better to support us and to motivate us every single day, especially through the hard times. But she started coaching me just because they really didn't think that I would love it as much as I did. And for him, I think he thought the same thing. You know, he, well, first, when I was about to be born, I was supposed to be a boy. And my dad was like, awesome, we're gonna have a soccer player. You know, he's not gonna do gymnastics and ended up being a girl. And then they just wanted me as their only child and only daughter to be happy. - It's cool, I love that. And you hear that in the way that you talk about the relationship that, yeah, for sure, it was hard.
The Road To Being Great (07:34)
And I'm sure there were a lot of days. - Yeah. - You'd rather be doing anything else. But it seems like there was never a loss of love between you guys. And that seems pretty special, especially given how far you go. Now, I think a lot of people want to be great, but not a lot of people say, I want to be the best. What does it take to really be the best? Like, what did you have to do internally in your mind to push yourself that extra distance? - Well, I think specifically the year before the Olympics, it was, I had just had surgery on my ankle. And it was my first major injury, kind of through those years. And at our national championships, so I had one for in a row. I had one too as a junior, two as a senior, so four back to back to back to back. And then here I was the year before the Olympics. And it was the worst year of my entire career. And I just wasn't both mentally or physically prepared, but I knew that I had to compete in order to try to make the world team in order to try to then make the Olympic team. And so we have four events. We compete two days in a row. So that means eight events, eight routines. And out of those eight routines, I fell six times. And so here I am the year before the Olympics, you're supposed to like be your best, you know, or gearing up to be your best. And I was my absolute worst. So I guess looking back at it, I can see why so many people started doubting me, but at the same time, I was, you know, pretty young. And didn't quite understand why all these people had supported me for all these years. And then all of a sudden with one bad competition, they were like, "Oh, she's too old at 17, 18 years old. She's too injured. She's just not gonna be ready for the Olympics, let alone, you know, when the all-around go with metal, but maybe not even make that Olympic team." And so I think that was really the first time in my life where I realized how difficult it was to not only be somewhat in the spotlight, but then have people not believe in you. And so I kind of started relying on the people in my life that I knew believed in me and that were on the journey with me. - What do you do, like internally, when people are saying you're not gonna make it, which I'm sure is a knock to the confidence, how do you build yourself back up? - So what my dad told me was, as soon as that year ended, he said, "It's 2008. No matter what happens at the end of August, 2008 when the Olympic Games are over, let's make a patch that we know we did absolutely everything possible. We don't wanna look back and have a single regret." So that meant literally from waking up an hour earlier to now going to run three miles before every seven-hour training session, it was now not doing an hour of conditioning, but two hours of conditioning, going to physical therapy not once a week, but maybe twice or three times a week. I was doing acupuncture twice a week. I was doing massage therapy. I was doing literally everything possible, everything that I had on my hands that I could to become the strongest that I possibly could. I knew that I was never going to be as strong as some of my teammates, and not that it's okay to accept that you're not gonna be better than someone, but I think it's okay to accept that, look, I'm gonna try my hardest to become my personal best. And when I started realizing that I just needed to do my best and kind of stop competing against others and trying to be better than them, all of a sudden I felt like I had this weight that was lifted off on my shoulders because I stopped worrying about everybody else and focused all my attention on becoming the best that I could. - Yeah, that's really interesting. Now in that I'm gonna guess you're not letting go of the notion of winning and winning everything. - Of course.
I'm Gonna be the Best Version Of Myself (11:28)
- Was there a conscious awareness of like, I'm gonna become the best version of myself because I have a unique skill set that's different. There's gonna be a flair to my ability. Like if I can really be myself, but at like the absolute highest elite level that I could really make people pay attention. - Yeah, I knew that I had a chance to be the best in the world, and I just wasn't able to put a clean competition together. I was struggling with the injury. I was struggling with getting back to full strength and not just strength, but get my routines back and then trying to upgrade my routines. So I could have these difficult routines that I could be competitive with the rest of the world. So it was like this chain of events basically that I was trying to get stronger in all aspects of that. And so I think it was just this turning point and when it hit 2008 where I was kind of like, you know what, like, okay, this is, it's all or nothing at this point because I just trained for almost 18 years of my life for this one moment. So it's like, why hold back now? You know, I didn't wanna look back and have regrets because that to me was my biggest fear. My fear wasn't that I wasn't going to come out on top or not make the Olympics or not have a successful year. It was my fear was that I was going to have a regret. And so I didn't wanna do that.
The secret (12:55)
- That's awesome, I love that. How did you get yourself to want it that bad? Like most people in their lives, like their entire lives are never gonna want anything that badly. - It's so funny because I agree with you because it's like, I don't know. I read this book, The Secret. I'm not sure if you've read it. - Oh yes. - And remember my mom telling me that I should read this book and you know, like when your mom tells you to read something you're just like, okay mom, especially when you're a teenager. Like now it's a little different, but when I was a teenager and I was still in high school and so I was like, I have plenty to read. I have plenty of homework to do. And one day after training, I remember watching Oprah and she did this, her whole show was about The Secret, this book. And so I was like, okay, well, Oprah said to read the book then maybe I should read it. - Forget my mom. - Yeah, no, I just got it. - I hid the book from my mom for a while because I didn't want her to see it. But I literally drove to the bookstore, got it, like hit it under my pillow and like finished it in like a day and a half. And so I made a vision board and the Beijing Olympic Committee had just released the gold silver and bronze medals, what they would look like, like photos of them. And so I printed those out and put them on my vision board and other like silly things. Like I'd always wanted to go to Paris so I printed out the Eiffel Tower, like things that I wanted to attract into my life, I guess. And so my mom actually saw my vision board. It was in my room and this was, I wanna say a few months before the Olympics and to be honest, I had never really, I probably had seen my dad's four Olympic medals at some point in my life, but they were in a box in the attic. And for me, that was crucial in not feeling like I had to live up to something or the expectations. And so I knew that he had them, but it wasn't, they weren't in my face every day. It wasn't something that I was like, oh my God, well my dad did it. Now I have to do it. It was something that I wanted to achieve. But then seeing the vision board, she dug up one of his Olympic gold medals and hung it on my vision board next to the photos of the Olympic gold medal from Beijing. And so seeing those two things together, something clicked in my head where I was kind of like, okay, this is what I want. And like here's the real thing, yes, it's not mine. But like, I don't know what it was. It was just this moment that I had where I was kind of like, okay, like I can do this. It's within reach, it's right here. Obviously hard work is not enough. You have to train every single day super hard, every, you know, no matter what. But it was, it was this moment of believing, believing in myself and believing that if you want something bad enough, and it's not just about an Olympic gold medal, but anything in life, you're capable of achieving it. - I love that. Hard work isn't enough. Ultimately, it's about believing. Yeah, so I really buy into that. Now the secret, I have a conflicting relationship. - A lot of people do. - So half of it, I think is amazing. And coming from you, it's easy, right? Because you worked so hard. You didn't just sit there and print out, you know, the gold medal and it's like that. - And just like sit on my bed and like, wait, what happened? Yeah, of course. - So that, that to me, like you've got the perfect relationship with the secret, which is okay, you're gonna get what you focus on, right? So I need to get to that point where I can believe, and hearing your story is really fascinating, and you're giving me nuance that I didn't find in the research, but like the fact that there was somebody who'd won the all around, that was there in your gym with you, like that's incredible. Talk about making it tangible, right? Seeing that work ethic. The fascinating part in all of this for me is your dad didn't display his medals, and you don't either. Why not? - To me, it's something that I will forever be proud of, but it doesn't define who I am as a person. And I think, I don't know, I think I was obviously very lucky to have my parents raise me the way that I was raised, and they were never in front of my face. They were, if you walked into our house, you would never know who lived there. My medals and his medals, they're in like a little bag in a safe, in their house. And so what I've realized is I don't want to be defined by or remembered by being that gymnast, or being that Olympic gold medalist. And don't get me wrong, that's an amazing accomplishment that I'll forever be proud of, but I just feel like there's so much more to life than an Olympic gold medal. - Do you ever think like quietly of course, when no one's looking like, I'm a super badass? Like not even necessarily for the accomplishment, but like think for a second, how hard you have to work to do it? And I ask in the context of right now, there is a young girl watching this, and she is going to need what I'll call mental defenses to get her through something.
Mental defenses (18:05)
I don't know what that something is gonna be. Have you ever heard of the Marshmallow Test? - No. - So fascinating, there's a book about it. So this guy, Stanford professor, researcher, excuse me, is like, what leads to people being successful? And so he has this theory that what it is is people that can delay gratification, people that can do the hard things. And so he brings these kids into his lab, and a guy in a lab coat walks up and says, "Hey, I'm gonna give you a marshmallow, "something that the kids would love." I'm gonna step out for a second. If you don't eat the marshmallow until I come back, I'll give you a second marshmallow, so essentially double your money. Now what the kid doesn't know is the guy's never coming back. He literally just wants to see how long you can wait to not eat it. Now some kids gobble the thing before the guy gets to the door. Other kids, like after a couple of minutes, they're nibbling the underside and trying to hide it. And then other kids do things like, they sing to themselves, they get up, they walk around, they come up with these mental tools, ways to prolong it so that they can try and double the money. Then they follow these kids for 25 years. And the kids that delayed the longest did the best. They scored the best on tests, they did the best in school, they had the highest paying jobs, they went to the best colleges. It was crazy how correlated to their ability to defer gratification it was. So they obviously had these amazing strategies. So walk this young girl or any of us through, it's one of those days you don't wanna do it, right?
You dont want to do it (19:38)
You just exhausted. - Had plenty of those. - So what did it look like on those days? What are you doing mentally? What were your strategies? - Well, waking up on those days, and I tell kids this, and not just kids, but parents, because when I talk to kids sometimes, there's parents in the room, and I'm like, raise your hand if you've ever had one of those days where you don't wanna get out of bed, and all the kids raise their hand, and none of the parents, I'm like, okay mom and dad, I know you've had those days too, and they're all kinda like. But it's true, I mean, regardless of if you're training seven hours a day, six days a week, or you work at an insurance company, or a clothing store, whatever it is that your job is, or just in life. In a marriage, in a relationship, we're all going to have those days where we wake up, and we just wanna say, I quit. I don't wanna do this anymore, it's too hard, it's easier to just throw my hands up in the air and walk away. And then what I would tell myself is, okay, that's the easy way out, but tomorrow or the next day, when you're feeling a little bit better, you're gonna regret that. And so growing up, my mom had this rule, and this has just stuck with me for the rest of my life, regardless of doing sports, or business, or just in life, and I would come home from the gym sometimes, and a lot of times in tears telling her, this is just too hard, I don't wanna do this anymore, I hate gymnastics, I'm in pain, I really just don't wanna do this, and she would say, okay, that's totally fine, like you don't have to do gymnastics anymore, and it was really interesting because she was just like, okay, you can quit, but not today. You have to go back to the gym the next day, and the next day and the next day, until you have one good day. And of course, I rolled my eyes, and I would say, but I don't wanna go back to the gym tomorrow, and she was like, look, I'm never going to force you, or push you into gymnastics, except for today. And you can quit after you have a good day. So you know, in some days, this would be three days, five days later, and some days it would be the next day, when I would have a good day, 'cause moms always know, and we have a good day, without even saying anything, I would come home and she would say, okay, great, now that you've had a good day, you can quit, we'll enroll you back into public school, find another activity that you wanna do, and I would look at her and say, I don't know what you're talking about, I never said I wanted to quit. So the moral of that story for me, was that we're all going to have these days, where it just feels like it's too hard, we don't wanna do it anymore, and you wanna quit, and that's okay, but you can't quit or give up on those days. And I tell these young girls that, you know, it's okay if your passion changes, because we're not all meant to have, or love the same things, right? We're not all going to fall in love with gymnastics, and love it forever, have this passion for it, but you can't change your mind or quit on those days. You can change your mind and try something else, if you're having a good day, and you just in your mind, you think, you know what, this might not be for me, let me try something else. - So speaking of passions, how I'm assuming people come up to you and ask, like, oh, you're so lucky, you found what you loved so early, but you have almost a weird reverse problem, which is you retire at what, 22, is crazy. So yes, you find a passion early, but now you have the rest of hopefully a very long life. How did you go about either building or finding a new passion into your life? - That was probably the scariest and most difficult transitions of my life, because I truly did feel like gymnastics defined who I was for so many years, for 22 years in my life, and not just my life, but my family, you know?
Back to school (23:09)
And I'm so proud of what they've been able to do with moving over to the United States, not speaking any English, not having much more than a penny, and this child, me, and a few suitcases, and a dream. And their dream was to always open up a gymnastic school and coach their own athletes to becoming a world in Olympic champions, never imagined to be their own daughter, but, you know, so for me, seeing how successful that they have become is, it just makes me so proud, but it also has made it difficult to figure out who I was as a person without gymnastics in my life. And so I moved to New York City and I started going to school at NYU, and I really feel like that was the perfect place to kind of figure out who I was, because I had lived in Texas my whole life, basically, with my parents right there, and also having a coach every single day of my life, where all of a sudden now, nobody was telling me what to do. I could go to sleep when I wanted, wake up when I wanted, I could eat whatever I wanted, I could, you know, go out if I wanted. And so obviously that was kind of like this freeing feeling, but at the same time, it was really scary, because I didn't know if I was doing the right things, and I was constantly questioning every single decision that I had. And I think kind of by stepping away from it for a little bit, it kind of made me realize what my next goals were and what my passions were, because when I won that all around gold medal, it was the most amazing feeling in that moment, but then all of a sudden it was so scary, because that was the only goal and the only dream that I had for all those years. And when you achieve it and accomplish it at 18, you're kind of like, now what? What do I do with my life? Who am I? Like, if I'm not a gymnast anymore, like are people even going to love me, are people going to support me? Are they even gonna care? And so I think by moving to New York, it just kind of made me realize who I was and what my passions were. - I'm so glad that you brought that up. Are people gonna love me if I'm not winning, if I'm not a gymnast? And the fall, like honestly, when I was researching your story, I was like, oh my God, the accolades, what you've done, it's so amazing. And then my jaw hit the floor, 'cause first I read about it.
The Worst Routine of My Entire Career (25:39)
And I was like, whoa, whoa, I gotta go look this up. - It's gonna say you have to watch it. - Oh, 100%. And I literally have the chills right now. Like, flat. And you don't miss a beat, like it's unreal. - It literally felt like 10 minutes, because like so much was happening, but then it also felt like a second. And so I remember then letting go and realizing that I wasn't gonna grab the bar. And then all of a sudden the next thought was, ow, falling flat. And like those mats are not soft because they're brand new. And so I definitely think I had a mild concussion. But then I remember, you know, the dad just immediately came out in my dad. He wasn't my coach anymore. And for him, I know he definitely felt part of it was his fault for not like coming in and catching me. But again, everything happened so quickly. And if you catch, or if you touch someone and they still grab the bar, that's a point deduction. So it's the same as a fall. And so in his mind, he's thinking like, is she gonna catch it? Is she not? He's kind of going like this back and forth motion. And then all of a sudden I'm like on the floor. And the first thing that you're taught in gymnastics actually is how to fall. And so I knew that I just had to stay completely flat and like fall like hard like that. But, and so then I remember doing the leg pop and then kind of feeling my neck a little stiff and he said, are you okay? And I said, yes. And he told me that I didn't have to finish that. And I said, no, you told me ever since I was a little girl that no matter what happens, I always have to finish, get back up and finish what I've started. And of course he knew that, but I think the dad and him just wanted me to get off the bar and be safe. Because I think he had this moment of fear of, oh my gosh, we made it this far without really any serious injury. And that could have been bad. And so I told him that I promised that, you know, I was fine, I just really wanted to finish this routine. And I remember just not even thinking in my routine, which was kind of scary because you have to be thinking of your skills. And the next thing I know, I had landed on my feet on my dismount. And I think in the moment of falling, when I was laying there, I knew that my chances and my dreams of making a second Olympic team were completely over. And so this was just kind of for me. I didn't want to end my competitive career on my face basically. And when I landed on my feet and I saluted and I just like so many different emotions kind of were in my mind. And as soon as I started walking, I hopped off the podium, my dad kind of helped me down.
Disappointment After An Amazing Performance (28:36)
And I started looking around. And one by one, like people started kind of coming to their feet. And I was kind of like, oh, maybe I was like the last person in the rotation, they're like going to get like a drink or use the restroom or something. And I'm just like, I put my head down and I'm walking, I start taking my grips off. And then I just like, I kind of look around the entire arena and all of a sudden everybody is on their feet. And I remember being so confused because it was the worst routine of my entire career. I had never once had a standing ovation, not when I won the gold medal, not like not once. And here I am for the worst routine of my entire career, 20,000 people are standing on their feet. And so I got obviously super emotional but I was still very upset about my performance, about the fact that I wasn't going to make the second Olympic team. I was so embarrassed. I was so ashamed because going into the Olympic trials as the reigning Olympic all around champion, there's a lot of expectation on you. You are the best in the world. You're supposed to be the best in the world. And for so many years, I always thought that people were only going to love and support me if I was the best, if I won that gold medal. And so I think I had this immediate emotion of fear that I wasn't going to be loved anymore or that I wasn't going to be supported and that I was a failure. And it really didn't process, I think, until a little bit of time later where I realized that that truly became the defining moment of my career. Because for so many years, it was all about trying to be the best and trying to win a gold medal. And the moment that I had there made me realize that there's so much more to life than being the best. There's so much more to life than winning a gold medal. But it's about the journey. It's about finding something that you're so passionate about, that you love so much and being on that journey with the people that truly love you and that support you and care for you. And we're all going to have those moments in our lives where we fall literally or figuratively. And I think for me, it became this moment of just being able to relate to so many people. Because by winning an Olympic all around gold medal, like not many people, I've realized, not many people can say that they've done that. And again, that's something I'm proud of. But it's not something that I can sit down and have a conversation with someone about because they don't know what that's like. But having that moment where you're falling down and you feel like a failure, I felt like such a failure. And I remember then realizing like, I'm not a failure. I did my best. Mistakes happen to everybody. Things happen in people's lives, whether it's in a relationship, whether it's in a job or in your career, whatever it is, we're all going to have those moments. And so learning to accept that it's okay. You know, we're going to have those moments and what I could learn from that moment really kind of helped me be able to move on and know like, I will be okay. I will be able to move on and I will be able to be somebody else other than just Nasi Luke and the Olympic gymnast. - That part of your story to me honestly is like one of the most amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring moments because of how you react. And there was, look, I get it. I totally hear you and you don't whitewash it. And I love that. And when you talk about it, you talk about how embarrassed you were and that you felt like a failure. And that's why that part of the story is so incredible because I really believe the only thing in life that matters is what you think about yourself when you're by yourself.
What I Think About Myself When Nobody is There with Me Matters (32:34)
And what does that quiet voice have to say? And look, it's just patently obvious that mistakes are going to be made, that you do something enough, you're going to fail at it. But then how you react, that's you, right? That's now chance has been taken out of the equation. And now we're just talking about what's your character and your character in that moment was so clear because there's nothing left to gain other than to say, I live by a code and the code is that you finish what you start. To be who you wanted to be in that moment, you have to be willing to sit in the embarrassment because you could have bolted, right? And nobody would have thought twice about it, least of all your father. But to be the person you wanna be, you had to stay in that moment, you had to sit in the embarrassment and finish the routine and in it, you earned everyone's respect. It's like this crazy moment out of a movie, the fact that you get the standing ovation, right? It's just, it's incredible. And like, I'm as odd by your reaction as I am by your raw talent. I mean, that's, it's a pretty cool moment. - Thank you. - Thank you for sharing. - Yeah, no, I like what you said too about, you know, your feelings about when no one else is in the room or, you know, because I feel like we're so influenced by so many people's thoughts and perceptions about you, especially just in the world that we live in with social media and the access being right there, everything's so immediate. And I think at the end of the day, I think if you can go to sleep at night knowing that you're proud of yourself, not necessarily for your accomplishments or how many gold medals you've won, but about the kind of person that you are, then I think that's all that matters. - And what advice do you have for young girls, regardless of what they wanna do?
Be Proud (34:20)
Like, what advice do you have for them about the paths that are before them? Because not everybody is gonna want greatness, but some do. And I think some want it and are embarrassed to be that ambitious, especially because they're a woman and they're told they're not supposed to be. - Well, I don't know. I feel like that's always been my mission to empower young women to do what they want to do and not necessarily to do what society is telling them to do, or what your parents did or any of these things, but to do what you wanna do. And that's in your hands, it's in your control. And I think that it's so important to kind of share that. And obviously with young girls and young women, but even young boys, it's really everybody out there that has a dream and that has a goal. And I think that is so important to be able to say, like, this is my dream and not be ashamed by it, because whatever your dream is, like, that's your dream. Don't let somebody else take that away from you by telling you that you're not good enough or you're never gonna be able to do this, don't even waste your time on that. I've gotten told all of the above. And so it's like, don't let someone take that away from you. If you have this burning desire inside of you and you'll know what that feels like if you have it, then you just need to go full force and kind of block out all the negativity and everything else that is around you telling you that you can't do it. - You had such an incredible path to execution from there are Olympic Games and they have rules. And so there was something really clear to aim at. What do you tell kids that buy into what you just said? They've got that burning thing. They wanna do something. How do you help them find a path to execution? - I think the important thing is to not, you know, if you're just starting out in gymnastics or any really any sport, you know, don't necessarily set your sights on the Olympics right now. Focus on what you're doing and kind of your path right now. Yes, the Olympics might be in your future, but that's the future. So it's important to have those long-term goals, but at the same time, like, how are you gonna get there? Well, you need to do X, Y, and Z to kind of even get to possibly, you know, competing in Olympic trials. And so I think it's important to, yes, have these big aspirations and these big goals and ambitions, but also figure out what is your goal is right now?
Find a Path (36:57)
What is your goal today? What is your goal this week, this month, and this year? And then have that long-term goal again. And that was something that my dad really taught me was he was really into, you know, the goal setting, but also planning the year out. And so he said, okay, if we wanna be here in November, then how do we get there? So he would actually start at the end and backtrack. In terms of, you know, simple as, now we're gonna do star skills, then parts, then routines, then get in competition shape and all these things. So then I knew I could look at my full year-long schedule and say, okay, today, this is what I have.
Personal Growth And Learning
Be a Percent Better Everyday (37:37)
Next week, I'm gonna be starting routine, so I should really focus this week on getting my endurance up or something. And so, you know, regardless of whether it's a sport or just life, I feel like it's really important to have this step-by-step process of how am I going to get to that angle? - What are some things your parents taught you about life? - Oh, where do I begin? You know, I mean, simple things from, you know, not giving up on that bad day. Because we've all wanted to say I quit. We, for so many years, I was told no, or I was told I was too skinny and, you know, I wouldn't be strong. And so I think the ability to be able to block out and not in a negative way of like, don't talk to me kind of thing, but an ability to be able to respect, still respect someone and respect their opinion. But not let it get inside your mind.
Learn From Others (38:34)
But I think that's why I love surrounding myself with people that I can learn from. People that might be better than me in different aspects of life or even a better gymnast or even a better person, whatever it is. I think it's so important to learn from other people instead of just thinking that I'm the best or, you know, I don't need to learn anymore because I don't believe in that. - What do the greatest in the world have in common when it comes to how they respond to failure? - Well, I think, first of all, going back a little bit, I think the greatest in the world didn't necessarily rely on talent.
Character Builds from Failure (39:14)
And I think a lot of people look at some of the greatest in the world and think like, they're just lucky. Like, yeah, I was probably born with some gymnastics in my blood. I'm not gonna say that's not true. But that wasn't enough. Talent was never enough to get me to where I wanted to go and I knew that. And so I think from failure or from disappointment, that's where character builds. Because it's easy to have good character and be positive when you're winning a gold medal. It's so easy. Everybody loves you, everybody wants to talk to you. You're on top of the world. But in moments of failure and moments of defeat and moments of falling on your face or losing a match or losing a game, whatever it is, that's when you truly need to be your strongest. That's where you build your character. And I think that's why we see from so many of the greatest athletes in the world, even when they're not on top, we still love them and we still want to support them even more. - I love that. All right, before I ask my last question, what can these guys find you online? - Lovely social media. Instagram and Twitter is nastylucan. My Facebook is nastylucan08. And my blog and website is nastylucan.com. - Awesome. All right, last question. What's the impact that you want to have on the world? To me, I don't want to be remembered for winning an Olympic gold medal. I want to hopefully leave an impact on the world that empowers and inspires young women all across the world, no matter the sport they play, the country they live in, their political beliefs, their religious beliefs. I want them to know that they can dream bigger and that nobody can tell you that you can't achieve those dreams and those goals. Everything is within your reach. If you want to do something bad enough, you will find a way and you will get those results that you want. - That was awesome. Thank you. - Thank you. - Thank you so much. - You're incredible. Guys, I'm telling you, she had me at Think Bigger Work Harder, which is the very opening to her book, which you are definitely going to want to check out.
MANDY CANTONS CLOSING REMARKS (42:00)
Watch the interview she's done. Dive into her world. It is absolutely incredible. When somebody has to work that hard, there is just one immutable truth along the way. They have had to find something that keeps them going, that motivates them, that inspires them to keep driving and moving forward. It is a nearly impossible puzzle to figure out, to take yourself from reaching up to the bars for the first time, to winning the all-around gold medal in the Olympics. When the entire world, by the way, is trying to beat you at the same time. So that kind of journey to me is just incredible, but to watch how she handled defeat is one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen a human do. It is absolutely incredible to know who you are, to the core of your being, to have done as much work on who you are, as you do on what you do, to me, that is the marker of somebody who's truly a champion. So that is why I hope you guys were listening to what she said today, and I hope you'll go check out the other things that she's done. She is beyond extraordinary, for that reason, if nothing else, and I can't wait to see what she does next. All right, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary, take care. Thank you so much.
- Hey everybody, thank you so much for watching and being a part of this community. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. You're gonna get weekly videos on building a growth mindset, cultivating grit, and unlocking your full potential.