In this episode, Olympic bronze medalist swimmer Caroline Burckle talks about what it takes to be a high performer, the Olympic mindset it takes, how her parents let her be flexible in what she chose to focus on in academics and athletics, and what we can apply to our education endeavors as teachers and parents and students.
Caroline Burckle, Olympic medalist and lover of everything healthy, has a Masters of Science in Sports Psychology & Motor Behavior from the University of Tennessee. Wondering where she gets her sense of inspiring style? Well, she also has an Associate of Arts in Merchandise Product Development from Fashion Institute of Design & Development.
She is the Founder of Stilwellness — Peak Performance Coaching and Co-Founder of RISE Elite Athletes. She is a certified Health Coach, Yogi extraordinaire, lifter, runner and lover of all things active.
(02:25) When you hear the word “success” what is the first word or thought that comes to mind?
(03:25) Caroline’s background
(06:12) So you both played multiple sports growing up. When did you realize that swimming was what you wanted to specialize in?
(07:55) It sounds like you made the decision yourself. How much influence did your parents have on the route you potentially went in sports?
(09:38) I wonder if that has something to do with their own success in their respective sports?
(11:20) So you obviously went on to great success at the University of Florida… I’m interested in what you said about having to slow yourself down. In your blog, you had something written down in your notebook there, “It’s accepting that where you are is okay, but that where you are going can be better.” It’s interesting because I was having this conversation over the last 3 or 4 interviews about this relationship between high achievers and anxiety, and how you have to balance that. Because the anxiety pushes you to great success but it can also push you over the top at times. I’m interested to get your feedback on, it seems like you’ve reached this point where you have this presence, but how do you manage the drive, and then the state of presence that you need to just live a life where you’re here.
(14:21) I’ve always been attracted to athletes and coaches and people who have that kind of sense of balance, whether it’s innate or they have developed it from somewhere… It seems that you are pursuing that, or are there.
(16:43) I’m interested to get your feeling in being around competitive, high level athletes not just in swimming… How many of them do you think lean on the edge of that anxiety spectrum? This is all anecdotal for me… I’m wondering if there is a correlation there between drive to that really peak, peak performance, and fire and anxiety. What would you say percentage-wise? Are most high performing athletes tend to be anxious people?
(19:22) It probably correlates with the response to competition. It breeds discipline. It breeds work ethic. Everybody has some sort of anxiety-depression spectrum. If you’re in the middle, you may make an excuse not to push yourself the next day.
(20:13) So it’s being self-aware of the anxiety and how it fuels you.
(21:05) You work with tons of clients, whether it be athletes, young athletes, entrepreneurs, business people in your peak performance coaching practice. What exercise or activities do you do with them to get them to be more aware on a consistent basis?
(24:11) This podcast is all about exploring the theme of how adversity creates opportunity… Given your background, genetically you’ve been gifted with athletic talent. You have the work ethic. You obviously have the mindset and focus to continue and develop that. Have there been any moments in your life that you can point to inflection points that were pivotal in your growth and development?
(30:53) I’d love to jump into the coaching that you’ve been doing. Your message really resonates with me because people are really focused on the linear path. I’m interested into how you got into the business of coaching and why.
(36:42) What are the top 2-3 problems that you see when athletes, particularly young athletes, come to you and need help addressing, or maybe they’re neglecting with their mental fitness?
(38:30) So how do you develop a program around routines to try and get them to deal with a positive self-talk to get them out of that habit?
(40:06) It just makes me think about how a support system can either help or hinder the success of a mental program. Are most of the young athletes coming to you, do they have a great support system? You don’t have issues with that? Or do you still see some issues where you have to actually coach the parents a little bit as well?
(42:03) What do you think your superpower is?
(43:39) Do you think that’s developed, or something that comes genetically?
(45:07) What books have most influenced you and why?
- Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
- Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
- Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition
by Paul Pitchford
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins
(47:53) What is your Mount Rushmore of athletes you admire or just people you admire ?