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When you get to meet an all time legend

I haven’t written a blog in ages. I’ve wanted to, and with the disruptive world we’re currently living in on many occasions there’s been something – more desperately disheartening than intelligently inspirational – that I’ve wanted to scribble down and blurt out to the world. But does the world really need my ramblings of negativity. Most definitely not.

What I think we all need, is a reminder that the world is full of beautiful people, passionate people, inspiring people – all with a remit to push forward, achieve their goals and drive change.

And I met one of them recently.

Dame Kelly Holmes. One of the two track athletes I grew up completely, utterly and unfailingly inspired by.

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I left my house that day knowing that at 10am that day I was going to have a chance to listen to one of the two people that shaped my teenage years. Enhanced my passions. Carved my determination. Inspired me to focus and deliver.

My first observation – apart from that she was wearing massive heels – was on the sheer vibrancy of the energy bouncing off her. From her smile, to how she negotiated the stage, to the way she told her stories – her energy had a ripple effect.

My second observation… was that her shoes had to be uncomfortable. And about 60 seconds into her talk she voiced that we seemed like a pretty casual crowd and asked if we’d mind if she put on her trainers. My kind of gal.

But it was the story of her journey that played with my emotions. From the first time – aged 13 – she knew at school that sports were for her, to where she is now – aged 46 – and what her future holds.

I’m not an emotional bean, but growing up with Kelly Holmes as one of my teen idols, and spending an obscene amount of time training down the track, on late eve cross-country runs with the team, competing. It brought back memories. I could resonate. I could understand some of her experiences.

So I thought I’d pass on a few insights Kelly shared. You may not find them useful, you may find them simply interesting, or they may inspire you to do something differently. Whatever the outcome, here’s me paying it forward…

• Have goals – it doesn’t matter how big or small , or how short or long a time frame, set yourself a goal or two and chase them
• Look after yourself – physically, mentally and spiritually. There’s no question on Kelly’s physical health. But mentally and spiritually, that’s something that she’s had to learn to manage over time – from dealing with depression, overcoming self-harm and believing in fate – be strong
• Believe in your team – she trained for solo events, she turned down an offer to run relay, but it was only a few years into elite track training that she recognized and appreciated the importance of the team around her. She became her best because they were able to become theirs. They grew together.
• Lastly, when you achieve your goals, life isn’t over. You may feel lost. You may be unsure of what journey to take next. But even if you struggle to find your next route. There is always someone who can learn from you, someone you can inspire, someone you can teach. You just need to listen. Then your next journey will find you.

Hope it helps.

P.S. If you want to know the other athlete I was obsessed with, it was Denise Lewis. Legend.

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