A WORD ABOUT UNCERTAINTY
A conversation with any olympian in current times obviously includes the topic of Covid, that awful moment of the 2020 Olympics being cancelled, and the continued uncertainty around this year’s event.
Looking back Lisa says that right up until the moment the Olympics were cancelled, she didn’t believe it would happen, and even then it took some time to accept it.
“My momentum was rolling so much, think of a small grain of dust, then going to a small ball of mud, to a massive boulder, that’s where I was at so I didn’t know how to slow down. I couldn’t quite figure out what it meant. Then we went into Level 4 so I couldn’t paddle and there wasn’t really any proper communication around what we could or couldn't do in that first week.
It was really challenging to understand, the Olympics had been changed and then to stop training and not know when I was going to be able to. Because that was still a mega priority for me, I wasn’t stopping, that was my normal, I think if I stopped training it wouldn’t have been true to who I was just because the event had changed.”
It took her about two weeks to get her head around it,
“I thought, yeah I’m good with it, then I thought, this is not right, I must be a little upset, and then I got really angry, I got really pissed off because I was so prepared. It’s so challenging to get yourself into such an inner mode that you are prepared to run at your greatest fear, and I was getting there to do that, I was heading towards that space and then for it to be, oh you don’t need to do that anymore, I was really pissed off because man I was ready, I was ready to step into the arena.”
I was really pissed off because man I was ready, I was ready to step into the arena.”
Lisa used a process she called The 3 A’s to help her come to terms with the Olympic disappointment and to move forward.
The 3 A’s to deal with disappointment.
“I sat in that awareness stage for quite some time, I know this is not right, I know I’m uncertain... Then it took me a while to accept it. Then eventually I figured out how to action it. I moved myself through those steps.”
The next challenge
“It’s been almost a year and a half since we’ve competed internationally or on a big world stage and that’s kind of scary because the pressure and fear that’s generated when you’re doing those big performances is so unique, I guess I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to handle that pressure when I next step into that space. That’s something I’m thinking about and trying to emulate in our own domestic competitions.”
WHERE TO NEXT FOR LISA?
I guess some people stop their careers because of injury, to have a choice is a huge privilege. The older you get the more you think about the family stuff.
I remember in 2016 lots of people were asking me if I was going to retire then and I was only 27 so to think that I was even thinking about retirement then was silly because the growth I’ve had, even how much better I am now than I was in 2016, I can’t believe I even thought it was a point where I should retire because man there was so much more to go.
There’s always some sort of conflict in your life. As I get older the conflict is, when do I have a family? Because that’s really important, yet what I’m doing right now I won't ever be able to do this again.”
Education and Career After Kayaking
For Lisa sport comes first and then education, she’s continued studying ever since she left high school and is currently completing her postgraduate in psychology.
“Doing sport and working with a psychologist closely over the last 10 years, he inspired me because of what he has provided for me. I’m really grateful for that and I really respect him and how good he is at what he does. I guess I want to be able to do that. I really appreciate the mind and what it can do. It invigorates me when I get to learn new things. Working on my mental skills and working hard on self awareness and then seeing the outcome in my physical performance, that’s been really rewarding.
From a social point of view, being a sports person I feel it’s quite selfish in a way, I guess in a way we can inspire people, but to make a difference on a one-on-one level, or creating something that can make a difference socially, that’s something I’d love to be able to do.”
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