Talking Life and Success beyond Sport (Podcast)

I was interviewed by Ali Watts of Ali Fitness about my journey beyond the Olympics and sport.  You can catch it here at Ali Fitness Podcast.

When you devote your life to a single ambition, moving on after that chapter closes can be incredibly difficult. You may start to question your self-worth, or even wonder, “Who am I now?” The transition to life after sport can be especially tough for retired professional athletes who struggle to cultivate a new identity and new dreams.

Ali and I discussed:

  • When athletes should start thinking about the transition to a life beyond sport
  • What I would have done differently to make transition easier
  • The greatest post-sport challenges for athletes
  • The depression many athletes feel after professional career is over
  • How I navigated the difficult transition to life after sport
  • How NLP helped Annette change her mindset
  • The power of visualization
  • Annette’s advice for young athletes not yet thinking about retirement
  • The one thing athletes struggling with transition can do to move forward
  • Where athletes can turn for support in making the transition
  • My eight step process to achieve success beyond sport

Listen and check out the “cheat notes” at

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5 Lessons from The Open Championships, Golf

If it's not up, it's not in.

Golf Course St AndrewsI used to wonder why anyone would ever watch golf.  I expected it to be slow and boring on TV but over the last several years I’ve gotten hooked, even before the rise of Jordan Spieth.

I love the tension that arises from a player gaining or dropping a shot; a player wrestling with his/her own inner mental game; the brilliance of a long putt; the skill in getting out of tricky spots and the luck of a hole in one.

THE Open Championships (commonly known as The British Open) that finished Monday had everything:

  • The 21 year old Jordan Spieth going for 3 majors in a row;
  • Changing weather conditions that including high winds and rain;
  • An Amateur sharing the lead after 54 holes;
  • An Aussie with a 3rd round charge of 8-under;
  • The 36 hole leader, Dustin Johnson, dropping to finish tie 47;
  • A 3-man play-off for the title;
  • And, what I enjoyed most, a humble, grateful and gracious winner.

Now I’m not here to write about Golf, but I want to share with you some important lessons that we can all take away from a memorable week-end in St Andrews.

1. Everyone loves a winner…. Everyone ADORES a gracious winner. (Tweet this)

Did you see the reaction of Zach Johnson in winning the Claret Jug trophy?  He stated that felt humbled, grateful and honored, all while choking back the tears of gratitude.  I felt humbled to witness it.

Dr John DeMartini talks about feeling gratitude to the point of tears.  It is an intense feeling that taps into the Law of Attraction and tells the Universe (like the title of a fabulous movie) Happy, Thank You, More Please.

For me, gratitude is a great way to bypass the ego which wants to say “Aren’t I awesome” and translates this to either “Isn’t THIS awesome,” or even “Aren’t WE awesome.”

See how you can bring more gratitude and appreciation in your life through creating a daily habit.

2.  You can be gracious, even if you are young.

I love watching the level-headedness and maturity of Jordan Spieth, win or lose.  I found my mind comparing, and contrasting, Spieth to another young athlete touted as a future champion in tennis, Nick Kyrgios.  Kyrgios was in the news again for his antics during a match, this time representing his country in Davis Cup.  What echoes in my mind is a statement by Kyrgios along the lines that he insists on playing and expressing tennis his way..  Entertaining for some, but not the mark of a champion, and his results will suffer.

What Spieth has, and Kygrios lacks, is Respect.  Respect for the game and for one’s fellow players.  Of course, Spieth is heck of a lot more focused, humble and, for the most, in control of his emotions.

Respect is important for one’s level of play, for building relationships and for endurance and longevity of success.

3. Accept the conditions.

In Golf, players tee off at different times through-out the whole day and so are bound to experience different conditions from one another.  Day 2 of The Open Championships had rain delays that dragged the day into Saturday.  Unfortunately, the highest winds cropped up that Saturday morning putting the players that had yet to finish their 2nd round at a serious disadvantage to those that had completed their round.  That’s Golf!

You can bitch and complain on how unfair it is, or you get on with it.  These are the conditions, bring out the game to suit.  When you focus on how bad it is,it’s going to be bad for you.

You will go through tough conditions in your life and you can either focus on how unfair it is, or you can accept it and ask yourself “What do I do now?”  How do you turn the conditions into an advantage?

If it's not up, it's not in. www.SuccessbeyondSport.com4.  If it’s not up, it’s not in.

Aaaagh, I was rooting for Jason Day and he left his attempt at birdie well short on the 18th and missed out on making the play-off.  You can’t aim short…on the putting green and in life.

You have got to aim past your target if you are going to succeed.

5.  Work on the inner game.

I feel for Dustin Johnson – leading after 36 holes and then totally fading in the final 2 rounds. Leading amateur, Paul Dunne, couldn’t back-up on the final round.  How can a player have so much skill on one day, and then be sub-par the next?  It’s all in the inner mental game, with >90% of success in sport attributed to it.

Dunne is still an amateur and could be forgiven for fading after leading, but this situation is not new for Johnson.  So what is he doing about his inner game?  More importantly, what are you doing about your inner game?

Your ability to focus, your self-belief, your desire, how you deal with pressure, and more affects you every day.  If you are not getting the results you want, then something has to change.  It might be strategy or your skills, but if that’s all in place, then it might be time to look at your own inner game and how you can create a success that is beyond sport.

Did you watch The Open?  What lessons did you get from watching these great champions?


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Setting new priorities beyond sport

Re-prioritize your life

When your are active in a professional sporting career, you have priorities that optimize your ability to compete.  You would have priorities around health, fitness, team and perhaps even money and winning.  How you rank your priorities will determine your level of success on and off the field.

Your priorities are determined by your values which act as a sort of rule book for your life.  They guide the choices you make and how you spend your time AND your money.  As Tony Robbins says, values are “like a compass that direct your life.”

When you retire from sport you need to be pro-active with determining your priorities for your life and business beyond sport.  Your success depends on it.

Re-prioritize your lifeWHOSE RULES ARE YOU PLAYING BY?

A value is simply what is important to you in life or various aspects of life. Values tend to be words or phrases like “love,” “honesty,” “fame,” “financial security,” “living life to the fullest,” “playing 100%” etc. You can have a separate set of values operating within the area of career compared with your relationship values or your broader life values.

The problem for me in my post-volleyball years was that I was still living my life by the same “rule book” I had previous to retiring from sport. It had served me during my sporting career, but it wasn’t what I needed to help me move forward into business or relationship or family, etc.

When I first learned about the impact of values I took an in-depth look at what was in my personal rule book and I saw that “independence” had been at the top of my list for a very long time.  The independence helped me to forge ahead with my Olympic dream with or without support but it also got in the way of working effectively with a team, networking, collaborating and even finding a partner to share my life with.

Money or financial reward was far down on the list in terms of my priorities – which explained why I didn’t have much.  It was time to change.

If your current values are not serving you and the results you want, then you can take steps to make changes.

This is a big step in my signature Success beyond Sport program – to take on new, positive values and shift those that sabotage your success or drop them altogether. It’s your chance to rewrite your own rules of the game.

How do you want to play out the rest of your life and your career?  The first step to change involves awareness.

Identify your current values and see if they will help you get the results you want in your second career beyond sport.  Your top 5 values will have the biggest influence on your actions and decisions so determine what they are.

What’s a priority for you?  Hardwork or having a good time?  Financial security or having flashy cars?  Is it more important to be seen to be rich, or to BE rich?

I give these as examples, because you see in the media many athletes going bankrupt post-sport and their value system may be part of the problem.

My life changed when I put higher value on personal growth and continued learning.  It opened up my mind, and my life, to professional and personal opportunities.

The biggest change for me came when I placed a higher value on LOVE.  That caused me to create time and space for a loved one.  I met my now-husband later that year, and we have been married over 4 years.  Love continues to have a big influence on my decisions.

What’s influencing your decisions?

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”  ~ Roy E. Disney

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Back yourself to Win

Eye of the tiger - sustained, controlled aggression with courage - Success beyond Sport

If anything stands out as most important to your ability to win, it is this – how much you are prepared to back yourself!Back yourself to win beyond sport - Annette Lynch

I talked about it in Persistence that goes on beyond Sport and it deserves repeating and elaborating.

The ability to back yourself stems from belief – belief in yourself and your abilities AND belief in your goal – belief that it is attainable, and that it is important enough.

I have just begun to re-read Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill (for about the 5th time) and it’s highly recommended that you read it too.  It emphasises the mindset it takes to succeed – a mindset that anybody can achieve.

If you are here because you are an athlete (current or retired) than you are at advantage.  You have already applied this mindset to your sporting success.  How much you were prepared to back yourself in sport and chase after your dreams, determined how long you stuck at it, and what you achieved.

I will admit, there are some very talented athletes that success can come easily.  However at the first experience of adversity they crack.  They don’t know how to respond, as they have been trained to think it comes easy.

The secret is that it does come easy (sort of), when you stick at it.  It may take some time, you may need to sweat, you may need to train and learn new skills, but you gotta keep going.

To drum it in, I came across this quote by Louis Pasteur this week.

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”
Louis Pasteur


It’s my new favorite word as it speaks volumes on what it takes to achieve your goal.

  • Tenacity will help you persist.
  • Tenacity comes from your belief, commitment and desire to achieve a goal.
  • Tenacity will overcome the excuses.
  • Tenacity will cause you to not take NO as an answer.  To keep going until you get what you want.

This mindset is beyond sport.  All successful entrepreneurs have achieved their business success through tenacity.  All intrapreneurs or employees have gotten their dream jobs or been promoted through tenacity.

Tenacity doesn’t have to be grit, sweat and tears.  Tenacity can be a quiet determination and a ‘knowing’ that you will get what you go for.  It reminds me of ‘the eye of the tiger’ as described by first national team volleyball coach:

“The eye of the tiger is a certain approach to the game which utilizes sustained, controlled aggression, and courage.”

Eye of the tiger - sustained, controlled aggression with courage - Success beyond SportSustained – going the distance;

Controlled – aimed in the right direction and with the right intensity for the moment;

Aggression – a forceful action or procedure (as an unprovoked attack) especially when intended to dominate or master.

Courage – ability to do something in spite of fear, to feel the fear and do it anyway!

Even though aggression is commonly defined as ‘hostile’, I think of aggression as taking the initiative to win.  You need to be bold and take action to achievement your goals.  You need to play offense.

Courage can be called upon in the daily tasks you need to accomplish – phone calls, challenging conversations, sales.  Recognize the fear, face it and take action.

I remember a clear moment in my transition from sport when I regained the ‘eye of the tiger’.  I once again had a focus on success – this time in business, and ‘knew’ I could make things happen.  It was with the help of a teacher and coaching that I was able to back myself.

Yes, backing yourself does NOT mean you have to do it alone.  In fact, backing yourself will give you the confidence to find that team that CAN help accelerate your success.

What do you need to back yourself to win again in business and in life?  Who is helping you to regain the eye of the tiger beyond the game?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

P.S. Big thanks to my first national team coach, Rob George, who instilled in me the philosophies of the ‘eye of the tiger’ and more.

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Setting New Targets for Success

Be guided by new clear & inspiring goals and direction - Success beyond Sport

Athletes are motivated and inspired by clear and measurable goals. Post-sport one can get lost in life-change and opportunities and the athlete may forget these important steps for success.

Be guided by new clear & inspiring goals and direction

I thought I was pretty good at setting goals and achieving them. At just 10 years old I decided that I would go to the Olympics and I achieved that in 2000, representing Australia in Beach Volleyball.

When I was 20 and playing for Australia in Indoor Volleyball, my coach introduced me to the idea of writing my goals down – I achieved those too.

In 2006, when I started studying Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) I started to understand the science behind goal setting and it led to even greater success in my life beyond sport.

Goals provide you the motivation to move ahead and to do the things you might not like to do and setting clear targets is Step 2 of creating your own success beyond sport.  Here are 7 keys that you need to consider in order for you to achieve your goals, whether in the next year, or in your lifetime.

“Begin with the end in mind.”  Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

1. Dare to Dream

Think about who you want to be, what you want to have and where you want to go in your life. Have goals that you’re passionate about, that excite you. What is that you really want, if you could have anything you desire?

Don’t limit yourself by what you think you can do or deserve. Dream B.I.G. (Bold Inspiring Goals) as you never know what you will achieve unless you go for it.

Don’t worry about ‘how’ you will achieve your goal.  First establish the ‘what’ – this will lead you to the ‘how’.

Set New Targets www.successbeyondsport.com2. Write it down

There is a certain power to putting a goal down on paper. It means you need to be clear about what it is you really want. That might be challenging, but until you do your goal is a wishy-washy concept that changes by the moment.

When writing a goal, be specific about what you want and put a date to it.  A deadline creates the urgency to make it happen. Without that, the goal will always be out in the future – someday!

3. Visualize your Goal

Try your goal on for size by stepping into it as if it is happening for you right now.  Visualization processes are very effective in adding the clarity and the emotions to goals to maximize your ability to achieve them easier and more quickly.  I love to use these processes with clients, either individually or in a group, because of the results they start to see become a reality.

4. Take Action

Now you know what you want to achieve, make a plan and take action.  Your goal should inspire you with the right actions to take.  You may be surprised at what opportunities and people come in your life at this point.  When those opportunities come, you need to take them.

What I suggest you do is ask yourself everyday – “What’s one thing I can today towards my goal?” It’s the little things that you do every day that will work you towards your goal.

A coach will help you formulate a plan of action and keep you accountable to fulfilling that plan.

5. Stay focused

You are going to need to stay focused and committed to your goal. There will be obstacles in your way and as long as you stay focused on where you want to go, you’ll get around them.

Every time an obstacle comes along your way, keep asking yourself, “How else can I get to my goal?”

Remember to constantly assess and measure that you are on-course and be flexible to adjust.

6. The Law of Detachment

According to Deepak Chopra, this Spiritual Law says that the way to acquire anything in the universe is to relinquish our attachment to it.

As you are focused on your goal you also need to let go of it needing to happen.  When you are attached to a goal, you can resist the current flow of results.

Consider how you feel about your goal.  Do you trust it will happen, or not.  Detachment means that regardless of your current results you trust that achievement of your goal is inevitable.

Detachment allows you to be flexible, to accept the results that are coming your way, and you are able to adjust course.

7. Think beyond your Goal

Your goal is not the ‘be all, end all’. What does achieving your goal allow you to the do? Each goal is a stepping-stone towards the next goal, towards the next thing.

You may start to question whether your goals are meaningful. If you’re goal is to drive a fancy car, what does that mean for you. If you desire to go to the Olympics, what will that allow you to do? What goals give meaning to your life and the greater community?

Take into account all 7 keys when planning your goals.

I hope it gets you thinking about what you need to do now to move ahead with confidence and success in your mind. It starts in your mind so dare to dream!

Please share your views on what it takes to achieve goals.


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Success Won’t Happen Overnight…But It Will Happen.

All results take time -

All results take time - www.successbeyondsport.comNo athlete achieves success overnight.

As an athlete you went through years of development, training and playing or performing before you started to see big results. Success takes time.

Often the tough times and hard work are forgotten when things start to take off but there is no escaping the science of exponential growth.

The exponential curve is best understood by thinking of something that doubles every unit of time.  Say one cent or penny is doubled ever day.  The next day you would have 2 cents, then 4 cents, then by day 7 you would have $1.28, by the following week you would have $163.84.

Can you believe that by the end of 27 days you would have $1,342,177.28

Notice the momentum that takes off the further you go along, producing the J-curve effect.

When starting a new career post-sport, it can take time for momentum to build. That’s why it helps to be prepared –

* Be prepared to wait AND

* Be prepared to start setting the foundation while one is still active in sport.

It’s best to start the initial phase of the curve while you are still enjoying the success of sport. When you eventually retire from sport, you will be further along in the development of your second career and can continue to build on that success.

This slow initial growth can cause many to quit, as they fail to see tangible results.

It can sometimes feel like you are treading water or the wheels are spinning and you may wonder what are you doing wrong.

In fact, you might not be doing anything wrong other than just being impatient.  Allow results to happen and they will.   Review your strategy and your results to see if you need to change anything. If the only problem is that the results are not quick enough or big enough, then simply keep going.

Trust that the timing is perfect as it is, and any idea that it is slow is really in your own mind.

As athletes we like to see immediate rewards, but we also know that if we stick to it, and keep moving forward that the rewards will come.

Learning new skills and getting support and guidance from experts and mentors will save you time and energy shortening the timespan. However, you will still have your own learning curve to go through to reach success in a new venture; there will still be a time when it seems like things are just not happening fast enough.

As you did in sport, it is important to embrace the process, not just the end goal.

Love what you do on a daily basis, including the learning and training that will help you grow and improve.  If you do, it won’t feel like work, and any success that comes along the way is a bonus.

I love Rupert Murdoch’s quote: “I know I will be successful, it’s just a matter of when.”  It demonstrates trust that things are going to happen

Decide what you want to make happen, make adjustments along the way and stick to it. You’ll see your results grow exponentially.

Please share your experiences of sticking to a goal and overcoming the obstacle of time.


Click here to learn more about coaching to keep you on track towards your vision and goals.

Related: Persistence that goes on beyond sport

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