This week’s conversation is with Valorie Kondos Field, often referred to as “Miss Val.”
She’s the head coach of the six-time NCAA Champion, 21 NCAA Regional Champion and 17-time PAC 12 Champion UCLA Women’s Gymnastics team.
Valorie was recently named the Pac-12 “Coach of the Century,” and in 2010, she became one of only two active coaches to be inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame.
She considers the late John Wooden, the legendary and most successful collegiate basketball coach of all time, as one of her inspirations, and closest mentor and friend.
Countless student-athletes praise Valorie for her guidance during their athletic careers, and after they’ve graduated from UCLA and have entered the next chapter in their lives. Included in the hundreds of athletes she has coached or mentored are Olympic champions Simone Biles, Jordan Wieber, Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian, Laurie Hernandez and Nastia Liukin.
For Valorie, life is a grand adventure that all comes down to choices.
The moment she found out she had breast cancer is a prime example of the way she chooses to live her life.
In essence, she became grateful that her form of cancer was treatable. Grateful that she could go get chemotherapy for it and she’s continued to live her life that way ever since.
In this conversation, we discuss why she doesn’t believe in failure, why being a pessimist is the easy way out, and why gratitude is the most important habit to train.
Valorie has an infectious personality and this incredible mindset that, “I get to…” rather than “I have to…” and I think it’s something we can all apply to our own lives.
I think you’re really going to love learning from her.
In This Episode:
- Finding out she had breast cancer
- Look for the good in the bad and training optimism
- Choosing to be grateful for chemotherapy
- Why she doesn’t believe in failure
- Why she calls life a grand adventure
- The one clear trait in all the athletes that succeed
- Her philosophy: Life is about choices
- The importance of showing gratitude towards things you haven’t earned
- Why being a pessimist is the easy way out
- How she was impacted by the death of her mom
- How her coaching philosophy transformed over her first 2 years as head coach
- The relationship between confidence and vulnerability
- Why gratitude is the most important habit to train
- Why she’s a proponent of every child trying gymnastics
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“I think that optimism is a conscious thing that you choose to be optimistic. I feel like joy is a byproduct of how you live your life.”
“Be anxious for nothing and grateful for all things”
“Going through breast cancer was the best thing that ever happened to my life.”
“I’ve never grown up with a fear of failure. I don’t even believe that word exists.”
“There is no shortcut to success.”
“It’s really fun to coach athletes that aren’t afraid of the process.”
“The reason I love to coach is because I feel that outside of the military there is not a greater venue to learn life lessons than athletics.”
“I recruit the person before the athlete.”
“It’s so easy to be be pessimistic and it’s so easy be a victim. It’s so easy to say, “Why me?’”
“I’m not afraid of death, I just don’t want to waste a day.”
“Go big, play hard, and at the end of the day have no regrets. That’s it.”
Motto: “Life is short, don’t wait to dance.”
“When I think about what’s the worst thing that could happen to me in life, it would be to not have choice.”
“It all comes down to living your life unapologetically true to your spirit and your soul and appreciatively.”
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- Her favorite book – Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel
- An organization she cares about – International Justice Mission, combatting human trafficking