Cassidy Lichtman, an outside hitter for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, joins us in this episode, another one in this series on Adversity. We talk about her journey, from some of the things that she dealt with early in her life to her current success in the sport. From her we learn about how high performing athletes respond to adversity, build resilience, character, and have a growth mindset.
With a mom who was a volleyball coach and an older brother who played sports, Cassidy Lichtman’s life since her early years centered around sports, specifically volleyball. In high school she was named PrepVolleyball Finalist and National High School Junior of the Year in 2005 and was elected to the San Diego Athletic Hall of Fame in the same year. In college, she played for Stanford University where she graduated in 2011 with a bachelor of arts degree majoring in political science and followed with a master of arts degree in history later in the year. She was selected AVCA All-America First-Team in 2009 and 2010, capping a four-year career at Stanford.
Cassidy joined the USA Volleyball team in 2011. She was named to every U.S. Women’s National Team Roster in 2013, earning two gold medals and a silver medal in four tournaments. She started all seven matches at outside hitter helping U.S. win 2012 Pan American Cup.
Cassidy created her own volleyball clinic series called Play with a Purpose in which all money goes to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.
(02:45) At the age of 9, you couldn’t walk and you were told you couldn’t walk again. Leading up to that moment, what was everyday life like for you? What sort of things were you doing before that moment?
(03:48) So you woke up and you couldn’t walk. Can you walk us through the experience of that day and your mindset.
(04:47) I assume that you were probably on crutches for a while. What was the next couple of months like after the injury?
CRPS – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
(06:52) I don’t know if you have any knowledge of other people who had this issue. What typically happens? What is the normal reaction to this issue?
(07:51) So this doctor diagnosed you with this, and you were told that you will never walk again. What was your initial response to this?
(10:04) Did you have any catalyst moment that made you say, “I can work through this?”
(12:12) Did you have a model, or a muse, a person that you strove to become, who you looked up to?
(14:08) Jim Abbott’s story of perseverance
(14:55) I’m wondering for you, this issue that you’re dealt with, how has it become your advantage or your differentiator?
(16:54) Importance of resilience in sports
(18:34) What do you say to people who go through struggles, who don’t have the right mindset, who don’t have the same drive to get through those things? Is there a way to develop the skill set? Or is it that person is who they are?
(20:30) Do you have one exercise that you’d recommend to someone who’s trying to build resilience that has helped you the most?
(22:50) One of the things that you talk about is finding your passion. In your blog, you talk a lot about social issues. What’s next for you after volleyball?
(23:48) How is the team this year and how are things shaping up next year for the Olympics?
(25:08) Is there a book that’s most influenced you, or movie or documentary; and why?
The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. by Daniel Coyle
(26:23) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?