I’ve been in the trenches with some of the best performers in the world – some who shift how we conceive what’s possible — others who have pushed their own boundaries — ranging from hall of fame athletes to action sport game-changers, entrepreneurs, Mixed Martial Artists, to musicians who influence the rhythm of the world. I’m Dr. Michael Gervais, and I’m excited to decode the many paths toward mastery and provide applied practices that we can all use to be and do more in our lives.
In this conversation we learn from Ariana Kukors, who is a USA Olympic Swimmer, current American Record holder and former World Record holder in the 200-meter individual medley (long course).
A 2-Time World Champion, Kukors has won a total of seven medals in major international competition- two golds, three silvers, and two bronze spanning a 10-year national team career. After barely missing the 2008 Olympic Team, she set out to explore a deep understanding of her mind and craft. The result was a 2009 World Title and a berth on the 2012 Olympic Team.
If you're wanting to better understand the nuances of a psychological framework that supports growth in the face of failure, you'll enjoy where this conversation goes.
5:16: Having everything you could want in a childhood and being active
9:42: How her upbringing made her an olympian
“I was a competitive kid and I didn’t win a lot when I was little” 10:57
16:04: Impact of having a serious competitor when growing up
“Eventually [Katie and I] ended up training together, which was one of the greatest gifts and some of my fondest memories from my swimming career…day in and day out it was like an olympic final” 16:46
24:03: Person that shaped her life toward mastery
29:10: The dark side to sport and mastery
33:13: Starting out at the olympic trials
“I was in first and I wasn’t necessarily looking around to see where everybody was, but I knew at that point I had to something to lose and they were gunning for me” 38:05
42:13: Dealing with the pain of blowing the last lap at the olympic trials
“I was really competitive, but I also didn’t see myself...really standing on the blocks with just a ton of passion…” 46:11
49:53: How her dad supported her during the loss at olympic trials
1:00:02: Showing up at the world championships with a quiet confidence
“I was excited for the first time to lay everything out on the line and not have an ounce left” 1:00:26
1:06:10: The moment that defined her gold medal-winning race at the world championships
1:08:33: Valuable habits that got her to where she was
1:12:55: How to deal with her inner critic
1:21:13: Her most important mental skill
“When it came down to making the olympic team, it was calm that saved me 1:23:20
1:28:08: Defining success
1:29:08: Defining mastery