Four-time Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett shared the highs and lows of her swimming career and the challenges she faced transitioning into the corporate world when she visited GPT’s head office in Sydney early last week.
Trickett was attending a morning tea event with GPT employees, where she shared valuable insights into the commitment required to achieve personal goals and the importance of having a supportive team around you to achieve them.
“I really struggled for a long time to understand if you train really hard you actually swam a lot faster,’’ Trickett told the gathering, where she reflected on her rise from being a 17-year-old self-confessed “bludger” in the pool to a world record holder.
“If you aren’t committed to working towards something, if you can’t see why you’re doing something and why that’s important, then there’s no way that you’re going to do that day in and day out for 50 weeks a year, for four years to try and win the gold medal,’’ said Trickett.
Trickett said her time out of the pool was just as challenging, given the lack of clearly articulated goals that she had as a swimmer.
“The real world can be really hard, especially when you don’t know your direction,’’ said Trickett, who is now an industry engagement officer with the Brisbane-based technology start-up Megaport.
“For me, I had very tangible goals, it was very black and white, such as getting a personal best time, make a team, get a gold medal. It is very tangible, you can see it, you can touch it.’’
For Trickett, the key to success throughout her career has been to have the ability to be honest with her team members.
“If you don’t have a great group of people you can talk to, communicate to openly and honestly and say, ‘I’m struggling today’ or ‘Can you help support me’, then it is going to make it incredibly difficult for a company or team to be successful,” she said.
Trickett shared the emotional rollercoaster of her experience of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where won gold in the 100 metres butterfly but then missed gold in the 100 metre freestyle despite being the world record holder. Her Olympics, however, ended on a high note when Trickett and her teammates – Leisel Jones, Jessicah Schipper and Emily Seebohm – managed to overcome their disappointing individual results and win the 4X100 metre medley relay in a world record time.
“It was because their support, their encouragement, that we were able to stand up on the blocks and do the best job that we could.
“That to me really goes to show how important it is to have great mentors and role models in your peer group, in your team.’’
One simple piece of advice Trickett had for the audience was to write down your goals.
“I actually think they are valuable because you see what you are working towards. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what we’re working towards.”