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Defining Moments that Lead to Greatness: Gabby Douglas

September 15, 2020|0 min read
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The Money Experience Summit — a digital event with 60+ speakers — wrapped up earlier this month. We’re featuring summaries and highlights of the speakers here.

Today we’re highlighting a conversation between Gabby Douglas, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and Ryan Caldwell, founder and CEO at MX. The conversation covers leadership principles and thoughts about financial advocacy. 

Throughout the conversation, Douglas recounts the emotions she experienced as she prepared for her Olympic events. "There were many moments when I was on the beam or the floor bars and doubt and fear started to creep in,” She says. “I’d be in the chalk tray before I would go out and compete and I would just say, ‘No, I'm going to do this. I have trained so hard for this. I'm not going to succumb to fear.’” The lesson for her is clear. “You have to talk yourself through it,” she says. “I believe in words. Words are very powerful."

"I would take a moment, breathe and keep as few distractions as possible,” she continues. “And when I fell, I was like, ‘All right, I'm not going to let this get me down.’ So then I delivered a perfect routine from then on. I was so motivated to deliver the best competition of my life." She says, "If it didn’t turn out how I thought it was going to turn out, at least at the end of the day, I could say: I did it. I gave it my all."

The insight that stands out to her is to push through hardship. She says, "Don't let any challenging or tough time stop you from what you want to achieve. And if one door is closed, open up a new one. I've experienced many, many closed doors in my gymnastics career. During those tough times when I was down I would take a breath and look on my goal board. It had everything I wanted to do. Then I could take it day by day, bit by bit. Don't let anything stop you."

When it comes to financial guidance, Douglas acknowledges that it’s more important than many people realize. She says, "I think about how many people have missed out on opportunities and miss out on their gifts because they couldn't afford it.” Because of this, she says it’s critical to participate in mission-driven companies. She says, “A lot of people just say, ‘Let me collect the paycheck at the end of the day.’ But how can we give back at the same time? How can we help and empower people? That's what I'm all about. Giving back makes me feel better than getting!"

As the conversation wraps up, Caldwell invites Douglas to give final advice about what bankers should do when they’re facing a daunting but necessary task.

“Sometimes you’ve got to just do it,” Douglas says. “You’ve just got to put both feet in. You've got to swim. ... You really have to look at it and say, ‘All right, even if it doesn't turn out how I thought it was going to turn out, at least at the end of the day, I could say I did it. I gave it my all. I went through that Avenue instead of stopping.’ And then you'll always think, ‘All right, what if I did go through here, and it did work out and I didn't do it?’” 

“You just have to just swim,” she concludes. “You’ve got to give it a chance, and you have to trust that it's going to work.”

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