Siri Lindley was a college student struggling with insecurity and anxiety issues in 1992 when she first fell in love with the triathlon, a three-sport race that combines swimming, cycling and running. She pledged to herself that she would work to become the best triathlete in the world. Oh yeah, and she couldn't even swim.
But in 2001, she accomplished that goal, becoming the International Triathlon Union World Champion, a feat she repeated the following year.
Now a high-performance coach and author, Lindley shared her inspiring story Tuesday at the Women of the Channel Leadership Summit West in Palm Springs, Calif.
Here are some of the motivational ideas she shared with the 500 women attending the event.
1. You can change your life overnight.
When browsing through the library one day, the cover of "Unlimited Power," by Tony Robbins, caught Lindley's eye. She devoured it in one night and came away with a new mindset. "It was so simple, but the biggest message I got from it is that we create our own experience of life by the meaning we give things, by what we choose to focus on and by how we deal with it. And I realized I am the conductor of my own symphony of life, and if I'm hating the music, I'm going to change it … Literally, that book changed my life overnight."
2. You have to be your own biggest fan.
There's no one you spend more time with in the world then yourself, so you really need to be comfortable in your own skin, Lindley said. "If you're not your own biggest fan and you don't know who you are and you can't trust yourself and you don't believe in yourself and you don't even know what you want, that needs to change."
3. You're either winning or you're learning.
It's the tough times you experience that help you learn, grow and find the determination to overcome challenges, so failure or rejection can often turn out to be gifts, Lindley said.
"There are often times life is happening for you, not to you," Lindley said.
Whether it's a job you didn't get or a relationship that didn't work out, that adversity is what opens up new and better paths.
"When you fail or get disappointed in something, that's when we learn the most," Lindley said. "My mantra became, I'm either winning or I'm learning. There is no such thing as failure."