Good morning, everyone and welcome to the Bed Head Chronicles.
Today, I want to talk about owning your mistakes. Owning it when things don’t turn out the way that you hope them to.
You all have heard my story of the Olympic trials and where I had prepared for 365 days. I had visualized the perfect race from start to the finish with me crossing the line, Siri Lindley going to the Olympics.
What happened was because I had only visualized everything going right, in the first 30 seconds of that race that gun had gone off, I dove in the water, I got dumped under, I got elbowed in the face and I lost the front pack.
I had not visualized that happening. I had not prepared for what I would do in that circumstance.
Basically, even though I was going as hard as I possibly could, swimming as fast as I could, I was going backward. I couldn’t access my power. I couldn’t access my speed. I couldn’t access anything because I was choking. I was freezing.
Same thing on the bike. I got on the bike and going as hard as I could. I’m going backward. Everybody’s passing me.
Same thing on the run. Until I finally quit.
Now, the thing is that everyone, or everyone that I knew, was expecting me to make the Olympic team that day because I was one of the top Americans. So, in their minds when they came up to me after the race, it was like, ‘What happened? Are you sick? Are you injured? Did you have a mechanical on the bike?’
I knew that my answer to their questions would change everything for me. Had I come up with an excuse, I would have rendered myself powerless to change my life, but most importantly powerless in my ability to truly believe in me. I knew that owning it and being honest about what happened would increase my capacity to learn and to grow. I would have faith in myself. I would have respect for myself and I would be able to move on learning from what happened.
So when the first person came up to me and said ‘Siri what happened?’ I took a deep breath and I said I choked. I absolutely choked. I froze. I couldn’t do anything and I quit.
I felt ashamed at that moment that at that level and after all the hard work I did put in that I could just quit. But in owning that, that was real for me. That had an impact on me. I had respect for myself for being honest about exactly what happened. And I knew that I would take this experience and I would learn from it. I would grow from it. I would have respect for myself and faith in myself to know that no matter what happens, I won’t give up on me. But I will recognize exactly what went wrong so that I can figure out exactly how to get right.
Owning our mistakes is everything.
When we do own our mistakes, we’re teaching those around us to own there’s and to recognize that making it to the top or achieving your ultimate goal is going to include a lot of failures and disappointments along the way.
I always say that if you’re not willing to fail you’re actually not willing to succeed because it’s part of the process. But owning it is everything. And it also made it very clear what had gone wrong. You know, I visualize the perfect race.
Visualization is such a powerful tool, but when you visualize whatever it is — preparing for the race or preparing for a meeting or preparing for a date — whatever it is, you have to — you want to see things all going the way you need it to, to have your ultimate success, but you also need to see things going wrong and see yourself handling these obstacles or these challenges with grace and with confidence, overcoming the problem and ultimately coming out successful.
That’s something that I learned — for the rest of my races to come and something that helped me become a world champion and to then-coach athletes to become world champions.
When you visualize see yourself also overcoming difficulties and ended up successful. It’s so very important.
The other thing that’s experienced pointed out to me is that I have lost my way. I had started focusing on making the Olympic team be the ‘be-all-end-all’. Having to get good results to get a paycheck to be able to keep doing what I was doing. And that focus was not inspiring me or bringing out the best in me. It was putting pressure on me, and it was causing me to tighten rather than be free.
So also out of that experience, the greatest thing is that I found my way back to a ‘why,’ to a focus that served me, that brought out the best in me, that allowed me to become what I so dreamed of becoming. I realized that instead of looking at how far I had to go and what I needed to accomplish and the money I needed to make to survive, I decided to focus on seeing how far I’d come.
I didn’t know how to swim six years ago. You know, I just learned how to do a swim stroke six years ago. And now, I found myself in a position to make the Olympic team. I started feeling proud of how far I’d come. I started feeling proud of all the hard work I put in. And I started thinking about ‘Wow! I feel so grateful. I feel so grateful for my tough mind and this body that has carried me through. And for my passion, desire, commitment, and relentlessness. I started celebrating that.
To me, whatever you believe in, I thought ‘I am so grateful for the gifts that I’ve been so blessed with — mind, body, and spirit.’
Now, all I want to do is show my gratitude to my creator and say ‘Thank you.’ And I decided that my way of showing thanks is going to be every single day in training or during a race, I would give every single thing I had inside of me — heart and soul — and leave nothing behind. I would lay everything I had on that racecourse. And that would be my way of showing thanks to my creator that I believe in.
This focus, this ‘why’, not only led me to win 13 World Cup races but becoming a World Champion in Triathlon and a World Champion in Aquathon.
So, guys, anytime along the path — we are all going to fail. We are all going to be disappointed. Owning it. Don’t come up with an excuse. When you come up with an excuse, you’re not serving yourself. You’re weakening yourself. You’re weakening your trust, your faith, your belief and your respect for you.
Own your mistakes. It’s a part of your journey. And you’ll be an example for all those who look up to you. When you own it, you can truly learn, grow and strength from the experience. And that will allow you to take in all the learning around you and bring everything you have inside of you. You’ll have a deep faith that you are there in your own best interest and bring out the best in you. You’ll do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true.
Everyone have an amazing day and believe in you! Be your own biggest supporter and trust in this path. Thank you.
For more tips and advice about living an authentic life go to