Another FNCE, and the opening keynote speaker did not disappoint! This year we were fortunate to hear from Bonnie St. John, the first African-American Paralympian to win a medal at the Winter Olympics.  Bonnie talked about being ahead in the slalom before going into the second run, where she, like most of the other athletes, fell at a dangerous spot. She was beaten by a woman who got up faster than she did. It was a tough lesson, but Bonnie learnt “people fall down, winners get up, and gold medal winners get up faster”.

In translating her slalom skiing experience to something we could all relate to, Bonnie discussed what defines the best professional tennis players over their competition. She explained how the elite winners of slam titles, had an ingrained ability to recover their energy and mind-set between points, so as to focus on making the next point stronger. They both mentally and physically make small adjustments during each point, game and set, to ultimately win the match. Similarly in life we too can make minor adjustments; and re-energise ourselves along the way, thereby applying micro-resilience to sustain high performance.


Bonnie offered five frameworks for being micro-resilient:
• Refocus your brain – be intentional at times when you are being focused and stop multi-tasking
• Reset your primitive alarms – don’t react to your usual emotional triggers
• Reframe your attitude – build a first aid kit to improve your attitude e.g. positive quotes, cards you might have received from clients
• Refresh your body – take a walk to improve performance
• Renew your spirit – stay connected to your purpose

In closing, Bonnie spoke about asking her skiing coach Warren Witherall what made him so successful in training U.S. and International champions. His response was simple – “I never built champions one at a time. I built communities of champions”. A great reminder how together, everyone goes further and will be most successful.


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