Gold Medal Mindset


Gold Medal Mindset

Gold Medal Mindset


3-time Olympian, Heather Mitts, shares what it took to come back from her devastating ACL injury, and how she stays on the path to holistic health.

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Hey. Hey everyone. Ella here, and I am super excited to share [00:01:00] the conversation I had with Heather Mitz, who I met for the first time on Zoom for this interview. I have to say, I felt very connected with her right off the bat. She is such a strong, beautiful soul and a resilient and inspirational human being. Here’s a little more about her that I think will help set you up to get the most out of our discussion. Heather Mitz first touched a soccer ball at the age of six and was instantly hooked [00:01:30] on an athletic scholarship. She attended the University of Florida where she became the Gators all-time record holder. And appearances starts and minutes play. Heather helped bring the Gators to their first ever ncaa, a women’s soccer championship. And in 1999, Heather was named a first team All American. After college, she launched herself into professional soccer with huge success, playing with the Philadelphia charge, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence in the Atlantic beat of the women’s professional [00:02:00] soccer league.

Speaker 2:          Mitz was a member of the USA’s 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympic Gold medal teams, as well as the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup team. She played in nine career Olympic matches, including a memorable performance in the 2008 gold medal game victory against Brazil. She scored two goals in her career, both game winners off the field. Heather has appeared in Sports Illustrated fhm and has been voted ESPN [00:02:30] dot com’s hottest female athlete. She served as a studio analyst for A B C E, ESPN n and e s ESPN N two, during the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and was a sideline reporter as well. Heather founded Train, like Legends, a soccer specific strength and conditioning app geared toward youth athletes with the intent of taking her strengths and knowledge in sharing them with the next generation. Heather is a motivational [00:03:00] speaker, sharing the gold medal mindset and online coaching to help athletes who need help overcoming obstacles. I can’t wait for you to hear this fascinating conversation with the Heather Mitz. Let’s do this. Okay. Heather, thank you so much for being here, for joining us today.

Speaker 1:          No problem. [00:03:30] Thanks for having me, Ella.

Speaker 2:          Yeah, I was just watching actually, uh, I think it was just yesterday I was watching your TED talk, uh, on the gold medal mindset. It’s something that, it’s like a goal of mine one day to have a, to do a TED Talk. It gave me the full body chills. Um, and I think it was in large part because of how you were so connected to your message. You were so, you got, you got emotional, um, about what you were saying. What can you talk, I, I’d love to start out just hearing about [00:04:00] what that experience was like for you.

Speaker 1:          Yeah, well, first of all, I mean, you should definitely do a TED Talk. Um, it’s really, it just takes you outta your comfort zone. Um, but it’s also like such an amazing opportunity to share something that’s like close to you. And I’m sure you have a million things that you could talk about. So it’s just picking something that, as you said, you’re passionate about and you even bringing that up, it like, makes me immediately e emotional because, um, you know, I just think about that day [00:04:30] and, and my story and just what I was talking about. And you know, when they said, do you wanna do one? And I said, I would love to, um, they said, do you know what you wanna do it on? And I, I knew right away I was like, this is something that I’ve been wanting to share with soccer players, um, or athletes, uh, for a long time because, um, I had a lot of doubts and I think that was actually probably one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Speaker 1:          It to this day. I was actually thinking about it yesterday, so, so it’s so weird that you brought it up. Um, [00:05:00] how that just changed my mindset on life. Um, so, you know, I was, I was excited to share it and I did get, I did get caught up, um, when I was, when I was doing it live, I re I must have rehearsed it a million times and not once did I get emotional, um, but on the actual day that I did it in front of those people, it was funny cuz afterwards they’re like, we thought for a minute that you forgot what you were saying, but we realized that you were trying to hold back your tears. [00:05:30] Um, and, you know, um, it’s near and dear. Uh, it was a very pivotal time in my playing career, and as I said, it just taught me so many life lessons that I’m so grateful for.

Speaker 1:          I mean, obviously it stunk at the time being, um, but I survived and I came out, um, just so much better, you know, mentally, physically, um, maybe not physically, but I learned a lot about, you know, how strong you are. Um, [00:06:00] and when you’re, when you’re willing to put in the effort and just say, this is my goal. And even if I don’t reach that ultimate goal, I did everything in my power to, you know, try to get there. And I think good things are gonna come along the way. I was super fortunate to be able to overcome that and to get back and actually plot play better soccer. And I think I, I did, because when I was able to overcome that.

Speaker 2:          Um, can you, can you, sorry to interrupt, [00:06:30] but can you, for those who don’t know what we’re talking about, would you mind kind of giving a little summary of, of the Sure. The story of the injury and what happened?

Speaker 1:          Yeah, of course. Um, so I tore my a c l, um, it was right before the 2007 World Cup, and I had never played in a World Cup, and that was kind of like my goal. I was just like, I just wanted to play one World Cup and I was starting and I was playing and, um, I tore it probably like a couple months out and I was just like devastated. And, um, you know, timing [00:07:00] is everything. And a lot of people said that I would never make it back on the team period because I wasn’t good enough and there was like all these really talented players around me, which was true. Um, but I used that as motivation. Um, and there was definitely a time when I had my surgery, I was just like, how am I ever gonna play again? How will I ever get to that level again? And my then boyfriend, now husband, um, he said, you know, you can feel sorry for yourself [00:07:30] for one day. And I did.

Speaker 2:          He didn’t give you very much time one day, it’s like really short one day,

Speaker 1:          But he was right. I mean, I woke up the next day and I was like, feeling sorry for myself is gonna do nothing. Absolutely nothing. It’s not gonna get me anywhere. It’s not gonna help me to reach my goals. Um, and so from that day forward, I was like, I’m gonna have a positive attitude. I’m gonna work as hard as I can. I’m just gonna control what I can control. Cause there’s so many things that are out of our control. And that has, is probably the one [00:08:00] thing that has stuck with me with everything is controlling the controllables. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and so I was just like, I don’t wanna have any setbacks. I’m gonna continue to try to get a little bit better every single day and we’ll see what happens. And I had that goal in my mind. I was like, I wanna make the Olympic team, which was probably 15 months later, which is not really a, a ton of time.

Speaker 1:          Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, especially when they say, for most people that tear their ACLS takes you a full year to really, um, get back to your normal. And I did notice [00:08:30] that I didn’t get my speed back and my speed was always something that I relied on. You know, that was what helped me to be on the women’s national team. And so I had to find other ways to gain my confidence and to get better as a player. And that actually helped, that’s why it helped me to become a better player, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cause I wasn’t able to rely on the things that I had always relied on in the past. I had to almost become, you know, a better, just a better technical player. And, um, [00:09:00] granted I was a little bit older, um, you know, and I say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Speaker 1:          It’s not true. Um, so I just went out and I, I, I really, I focused on that and I was training at times. I was training two to three times a day, which is a lot. Um, but I just had my goal, right? I was like, this is all I want. And then, um, I was able to get there and I was able to start and play every minute. And, um, we won the gold. And so for me, just standing up at [00:09:30] that podium, it was just kind of like this like aha moment of like, if you believe and if you just don’t give up, then amazing things can happen.

Speaker 2:          Hmm. What a story that’s just extraordinary. I, I wanna ask you about. I, and I really like to explore the kind of the intersection of self-discipline and self-compassion. Cause for so many athletes, and I know for me, like self-discipline [00:10:00] and it’s always been really easy for me. It’s like, you know, you have this goal, you’re very clear on it, you’re gonna do what it takes to get there. What about for you? What about the self-compassion piece and how do you, how do you you balance those two?

Speaker 1:          Um, to be completely honest, I think when I was playing, I didn’t focus enough on the self-compassion mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, it wasn’t until I was done, um, that I was like, okay, I, I need more of this. I need to pay more attention to myself. Um, and to give [00:10:30] myself these things. I I was very disciplined when I was playing. Um, and I just had this goal in mind and I, I think I was like, nothing else is getting in the way. And, you know, I’m not, I’m not gonna worry about the things that maybe my body needs or I need mentally other than like, covering things like that. But even then I was like, just push, just push. Just keep going, keep grinding. Um, and I’ve changed my mindset a lot since then mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and it’s been really nice [00:11:00] and very necessary. Um, you know, obviously Covid stunk for everybody, but it was also a great time for me to kind of sit back and relax and go, okay, what, what is it that is important to me?

Speaker 1:          What do I need more in my life? What can I focus on more, um, to give myself true happiness? And so, um, I think just the self-love and the, the compassion is something that I’ve done more and in the past I haven’t done that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like even definitely [00:11:30] when I was playing, but even more so when I became a first time mom mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, it was always like, I need to take care of everybody else and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I’m the last person that needs anything. I’m fine. I’ll, I’ll, I’ll be fine. I don’t need anything. I don’t need these things. And then I’ve realized that no, I do, I do, and it’s okay mm-hmm. <affirmative> to do those things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> doesn’t mean you’re selfish. Um, it just means that we’re taking care of our mind and our body and our spirit, and that’s gonna lead to true happiness. And then [00:12:00] if you can do that, then you’re gonna be a better person. You’re gonna be a better mom, you’re gonna be a better wife, you’re gonna be, um, you know, lead a healthier lifestyle. So that’s kind of, I’ve, I’ve changed a lot and I am sad to say that I didn’t take better care of myself when I was playing mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:          <affirmative>. Um, it’s inter That’s so interesting. I, you talk about positive attitude and my, for me, like the positive attitude, just the whole thought around that has changed a lot over the years from like, [00:12:30] I feel like we live in this positive attitude, culture where you have to be positive all the time, whereas there are places that we, we can’t necessarily be positive, and that’s sometimes okay too. How do you coach yourself through that of saying, you know, gotta be positive versus it’s okay to not be positive sometimes as long as you keep going. Do, do you know what I mean?

Speaker 1:          Yeah. Um, I think that, you know, checking in with yourself and, [00:13:00] and just being honest with, um, I’m not okay right now. This isn’t, this isn’t how I want to live my life. And just try to figure out

Speaker 1:          How you can change it, you know, as, as we said already once before the controlling the controllables, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so what are the things that we can, um, take into consideration that we can help us to leave that positive lifestyle? And then it’s also about setting back and, [00:13:30] and going, well, you know, this is making me feel not so great, or maybe this person is not making me feel so great, you know? Um, so sometimes we have to let go of those things and or stop watching certain things, you know, it’s like, whatever it may be. I think it’s about sitting back and just truly like being in tune with ourselves. <laugh>. I, I think very rarely we, we, we don’t do that. Um, I, that’s [00:14:00] why I love meditation, um, because it allows, it allows me that time to sit and just be quiet mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, you know, a lot of times you’re gonna have a million things that are coming through and that’s okay. Um, but it’s also a time to kind of just sit and, and reflect on how can my life be more positive? What can I control? What can help me to lead the best and healthiest lifestyle? Um, and that’s what I appreciate the most about meditation.

Speaker 2:          [00:14:30] Can you talk a little bit about your journey into meditation, how you discovered it and what that has looked like for you?

Speaker 1:          Um, COVID, once again, um, I was just like, y I had read this book on, you know, the positive benefits of, of, um, meditating. And eventually I was like, all right, I’m clearly making up excuses as to why I can’t do it. So after reading the book, I was like, I have to at least try. And so I started out by just going three minutes a day every day [00:15:00] for a week straight. And if you skipped a day, you had to start over. And so then the next week you were doing four minutes for seven days, and then you build your way up. Um, and I just started to notice that how hard it was. At first it really was like, I’d have to like, set a reminder and I’d have to set my alarm clock and I’d be like, oh my God, it’s not three minutes yet.

Speaker 1:          <laugh>. Um, that three minutes seems like so long, but it’s so sad to think like, you can’t sit there for three minutes. Like, what? Um, [00:15:30] so eventually I just started to, to reap the benefits and I was like, done, sold. Um, this is amazing. It’s working for me. Um, and, you know, I make it a part of my day. Like, if I could, I would start every day by meditating. I got this for Mother’s Day, I bought myself this like, egg chair. Um, that was my gift to myself. I’ve been wanting somewhere to go meditate. And so I go out on my balcony now and in the morning before the kids are up and I try to meditate. I mean, [00:16:00] sometimes it’s not even that long, but it’s just to like, start my day on a positive note mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then if I have more time later on, or a lot of times before bed, now I have my kids.

Speaker 1:          Like I have my son and my daughter. Um, they both wanna meditate to go to bed, which I think is great. Yeah. Um, so I’m trying to teach them positive habits too. Um, but I’ve just noticed how it’s just the most amazing thing for me, um, to be able just to kind of start my day on a positive, uh, the way I want with the, the right thinking. [00:16:30] Um, focusing on gratitude, the things that I’m grateful for. Um, that was another thing that really helped me. Um, and so I just, you know, I, I do, I do see the benefits personally. And um, I always try to tell people all the time when they’re like complaining about stuff. I’m like, have you tried meditating? Even though I know how hard it is to get started. But once you do get started and you get past that hump, and it’s like you, you’ll see just how much of a difference it’ll make in your life.

Speaker 2:          So, yeah. And I’m, I’m with you. [00:17:00] I, it’s amazing that three minutes that literally you wanna look at the clock, <laugh>, it hasn’t been three minutes yet, it’s pretty insane, but I love how you did it consistently with a very short time. I think that’s brilliant. What else? Uh, in terms of creating a holistically healthy lifestyle for yourself, what are the other components for you besides meditation?

Speaker 1:          Um, I think it’s just everything you put in your body. Um, I’m, I’ve definitely [00:17:30] taken more of a holistic route in the past couple years, um, with just reading ingredients and just, you know, trying to get things that are from the earth. The more, even when it comes to foods, you know, the more, um, whole foods you can get, uh, plant-based, um, just all that stuff. Um, you know, I think it’s about having filtered water and trying to get vitamin D every day. And, um, obviously exercise is a huge part of your [00:18:00] life. It’s a huge part of my life, just being a former athlete. But, um, I noticed once I had my first child that on the days that I did not have a chance to work out, um, just like my mood, my mood, I was just like, you know, um, not as positive and happy.

Speaker 1:          Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I was like, you know, kind of grumpy sometimes. Um, and eventually it was funny cuz my husband would be like, oh my God, go work out like <laugh>, you need to go work out. And I’d be like, oh, that’s right. I haven’t worked out. And [00:18:30] literally sometimes even last night, like I, I just went for a run for 20 minutes and I came back and I’m like, ah, I’m better. Like, here I am. Um, so I just realized how much of an impact the exercise really does have on me. Um, my mom’s 70 am I 73 and she was just here and her and my stepdad, my stepdad’s 79, um, we worked out every single day today, like every day [00:19:00] we went to the gym. And I’m just like, wow, that’s what I wanna be like because, um, she’s always been really into healthy eating and working out and, you know, we’re both fortunate.

Speaker 1:          I’m just gonna knock on wood right now that because of the lifestyle and, uh, you know, you’re not, you’re just not sick as much. Yeah. And I feel like that’s really, for me, that’s the one thing I kind of focus on is these things are working for me. And, um, you always focus on, you [00:19:30] know, later in life when you do get sick, you’re like, well, why did this happen? And a lot of times you can figure out, you know, I could have done better at X, Y, and z. And so for me, my gauge on like a healthy lifestyle was like, how much are you sick? Right. And obviously sometimes when you do get sick, it’s not the end of the world, right? You’re building up in a stronger immune system, but how often, how often does that happen? So for me, you know, I think that’s something that I learned from a young age from my mom. I’m super lucky. I, you know, was one of the only [00:20:00] people in probably in college that was cooking dinner for myself every night. And, um, you know, trying to make sure it was like, you know, two veggies and uh, a protein. So, um, just always like taking those things into consideration and controlling what you can in order to leave that healthy lifestyle.

Speaker 2:          What do you have a favorite, uh, meal or favorite food that you eat often?

Speaker 1:          I mean, tons of fruit. I just love like the summer, um, you know, more than anything, [00:20:30] just trying to eat as much fruit as possible. I love fruit, so, so do my kids. Um, I have a garden out back now. Um, so, you know, we, we grow strawberries and then we grow watermelon and it’s just like the best when it’s, you’re growing it yourself. Like it just tastes a million times better than what you’re buying at the grocery store. So, you know, we love just doing that and having that experience. Mm-hmm. Um, and showing my kids like, you can grow your own. Like, my dad grew up on a farm. [00:21:00] Hmm. Um, and I don’t know, I feel like it’s funny, I’m like reverting a lot towards things that, that he learned from a young age. Um, and you know, just trying to li live the healthiest lifestyle possible and showing my kids so that they can see that and they can just comes a way of life for them, um, rather than having to like, I don’t know, really focus on telling them what to do. They just do it naturally.

Speaker 2:          [00:21:30] Yeah. I live in a condo in Miami, but I’m, we have a balcony. I’m thinking about getting one of those vertical,

Speaker 1:          Oh,

Speaker 2:          We have one garden. You have a vertical garden.

Speaker 1:          Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it’s awesome.

Speaker 2:          Yeah. And it doesn’t the let

Speaker 1:          Us grow kind

Speaker 2:          Of. Yeah. Lettuce us grow. That’s what I’m, I’m thinking of actually, I had, who was it? Robbie, uh, uh, Ballinger who like ran across the United States on his feet and then outrun a Tesla, outran a Tesla battery <laugh>. Like he, he is incredible. Um, [00:22:00] he also has a world record for running. He ran over a hundred miles in one day around Central Park on plants. Oh my gosh. Anyway, he, uh, I think he’s one of his sponsors has let us grow or I’m, I’m gonna try to get them on the, the show. So you have one of those and you love it.

Speaker 1:          Yes, I have one. And, um, it’s amazing. It’s, it’s crazy how fast I, I’ll send you a picture. Okay. Um, just to show you. But it’s, it’s so cool. It, um, so I actually have the lights cuz I wanna be able to grow during the wintertime. I have my [00:22:30] coffee bread and then, um, so it’s basically hydroponic so it has the water and I mean, I can’t eat my lettuce fast enough. I’m like, I need to have lettuce for <laugh> breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Cause there’s so much of it and I don’t want it to go to waste. And it’s the most delicious thing. My kids every night are like, mom, can I have a salad? Um, they love it. So it’s, it’s totally worth it. There’s a lot of things you can grow with sides lettuce too, so.

Speaker 2:          Oh my god. And I just realized I’m, I’m right here in uh, Virginia right now at our [00:23:00] sanctuary and we have five bunnies who eat so many greens. Like that is their thing. Hello. We don’t garden you.

Speaker 1:          Yes.

Speaker 2:          Perfect. There we go. There we go. Um, alright. And then when it comes to your movement and your workouts now, do you, do you feel like you need specific goals or do you enjoy having specific challenges? Or do you just work out to be in a good mood and be overall healthy at this point?

Speaker 1:          So I actually, I love running. Um, and I was training for a marathon, but that was a little [00:23:30] bit too much for me. Um, unfortunately my body towards the end of my plan career was like, stop because I just had a, a slew of injuries. And so the marathon was definitely like, I started to kind of feel, um, like I was overdoing it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> It was fun though because was I, I had a goal in mind right. I was like training for something. So I did love that aspect of it. Um, I do CrossFit, uh, probably about, I would say four or five days out of the week. Oh wow. [00:24:00] Um, and then I do sometimes do yoga, um, and then the running when I have extra time. So I just try to like mix it between those three things. And, um, the CrossFit I love because I do feel like you’re always competing against someone mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:          <affirmative>. Cause you’re in a class, um, even though you’re competing against yourself Right. And trying to be the best that you can possibly be. So I think that there, there’s a, those two aspects, um, of it. But I think everybody just, you know, I was thinking we all need goals [00:24:30] to work towards, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So if you can continue just to try to figure out what exactly it is that you wanna improve on and just go out there and manifest it, you know, just say, this is something that I wanna reach. I think that just helps you to become better no matter what. So, um, continually setting goals for yourself I think is really important.

Speaker 2:          Yeah. No, I, I totally agree. And it’s interesting cuz we talk about, you know, having your why and yes, we all wanna, of course we wanna live long, healthy, active lives, [00:25:00] but having a little bit, uh, more of a definitive goal or challenge to me. I, I agree. It’s really helpful to, to keep us kind of our head in the game, so to say. Um, so can you talk about your gold medal mindset? Can you take us into that? How, how you came up with that and the components? I’d love to hear.

Speaker 1:          Yeah. So, um, the first is giving yourself permission [00:25:30] to dream, um, to imagine a positive outcome. And we just talked about it a little bit, you know, obviously it’s about, um, I attended the 99 World Cup and I was sitting in the stands, and it wasn’t until I saw them win in the celebration within, within the girls and the team that I was like, I wanna do that someday. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that seed was planted, but then talks about the journey until what it [00:26:00] actually takes for me to have got to have gotten to my first, um, opportunity to go to the Olympics. And then I was saying after I retired, then it was like, okay, well now what I’ve achieved all my dreams. And, um, you know, I think I felt a little lost mm-hmm. <affirmative> with the fact that I didn’t have any goals. And then it talks about re resetting those goals. And for me, I have different goals as [00:26:30] a mom and I have different goals as, you know, a, a businesswoman, um, but continuing to, to dream, you know, just because we’re older now doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to do that. So, um, just for a reminder for everybody that no matter what age, just to continue to set those goals and to dream because we deserve it. Um,

Speaker 2:          Is that related at all to somebody’s, uh, like purpose for you? Or is [00:27:00] this completely separate?

Speaker 1:          No, I think purpose is everything. We all need a purpose. And I feel like if you don’t have a purpose, then it’s, it’s hard to wake up every day and, and have that passion. You know, it’s like, well, what am I doing? And then it becomes like, groundhog day sometimes, you know, I, so I think we all need a purpose and, and what it is that we wanna do in life, right? What, what we wanna be remembered for, [00:27:30] um, what our goal on this planet is. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, to give

Speaker 2:          Back.

Speaker 1:          Yeah. In a way. Yeah.

Speaker 1:          Um, so yeah, I think it’s, I think it’s really important. Important. Um, and for me, like now, um, I don’t get to play soccer anymore, but I just am, am able to help the next generation through, um, my app train, like legends. So I’m using, um, some things that help [00:28:00] me to have success and now I’m just hoping to share that with the, the younger female soccer players on their journey. Um, so it’s just figuring out how you can translate and continue to evolve and help others, I think more than anything. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so owning your identities, the next thing that I talk about in my goal of metal mindset, um, and learning what you can control, we’ve talked a lot about that today mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and [00:28:30] then obviously not stopping till you’re successful. So, um, you know, those are the things that I kind of figured were, when I sat back after I was done playing. Um, those were the things that not only helped me to have success on the playing field, but have also really resonated with me as a person, um, and allowed me to continue to wanna, um, to move [00:29:00] forward and to be the best I could possibly be. So, um, that’s the gold medal mindset.

Speaker 2:          I love it. And is this kind of the framework you use when you’re coaching, uh, clients as well?

Speaker 1:          So, um, you know, I do the, the gold medal mindset speech, but I also, um, you know, I had a lot of things that I had to overcome throughout my playing career. Um, you know, it was everything from injuries to, um, you know, sometimes the [00:29:30] coaches have their favorites, um, and you know, there’s a lot of things that we had mentioned throughout the playing career that you just can’t control. So how do you get in the right mindset? So my, my coaching is actually with a younger demographic. Um, it’s actually players to just help them if they’re having a tough time on the f on the field, um, or off the field for that matter. How, how can they move forward and how can they control the things that they can control. And so it’s like a framework. Um, [00:30:00] a lot of it’s goal setting.

Speaker 1:          Cause I think sometimes we don’t have our goal set and just having our goal set allows us to then go, okay, this is what I am working towards and then these are the things that I’m not far off of that I’m close to being there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so then you can work towards that smaller goal and then you can check that off and you can go, okay, good job. You’re doing great. Continue doing what you’re doing, and then we can go and achieve this next goal and next thing you know, [00:30:30] you’re at the top and you’ve achieved your ultimate goal. So I think, you know, it’s, it’s baby steps, but it’s at least having that vision and as I said, manifesting it, putting it out there to the universe, amazing things can come true when you do that.

Speaker 2:          Yeah. It sounds like a lot of the, the lessons you’ve learned, uh, throughout your career are, can really be translated into off the field as well and, and into our everyday lives. For a lot of our listeners who, [00:31:00] you know, maybe aren’t athletes but um, are just trying to, you know, live meaningful, happy, healthy lives. Do you have any specific, um, examples of things that you learned on the field that would help kind of the average person off?

Speaker 1:          Ooh, that’s a tough one. Things that I learned on the field

Speaker 2:          Or as an athlete, you know, specific to being an athlete that can translate [00:31:30] to, you know, off the field.

Speaker 1:          I think once again, it’s just about always being positive, um, being a great teammate, um, especially if you’re working in an industry or with others. You know, how can you be the best version of yourself, but also be compassionate to others, um, and find a way to work together. Cause that’s not, not always the easiest. Um, [00:32:00] I think that’s really, really a large part of it. Um, I think, you know, always being coachable because the more you can take criticism and just try to be the best possible version of yourself, the more success you’re gonna have. Um, even for me, like playing different positions, um, as hard as it would be sometimes, I was always like, I will play wherever you want me to play, um, as long as I’m on the field. And that [00:32:30] helped me to have longevity. Um, I just think having that in, believe me, there are times where they stuck me in the left and I didn’t wanna play in the left, but I would go out and I would just work on my weaknesses to become the best I could possibly be because I knew if that’s the only place they were gonna stick me as long as I could be on the field, then I was just gonna do my best.

Speaker 1:          Mm-hmm. Um, so maybe just being a little bit more versatile mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then I think just [00:33:00] not giving up, like doing your best, not focusing on what everybody else is doing. Right. So many times we compare ourselves to other others, and instead I would just like for everybody to realize like, you are special. You are unique. There are things that you are going to do that nobody else can do. And I think if we just figure out what exactly that is that makes us special and unique, and we hone that skill and become so good at it that it allows us to pave our way. Right? [00:33:30] Like, everybody’s gonna be like, Heather is the best person at, at this. And so people depend on you. Like, you make yourself more valuable when you just own who you are. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think that’s, you know, the one thing that now I’m just like, this is who I am. I’m gonna be the best version of myself. Um, I’m not gonna compare myself to others. I’m gonna just try to focus on myself and doing my best. And that is good enough.

Speaker 2:          I love that. And I love the piece about being coachable, you know, [00:34:00] because I feel like it’s the things that we don’t know, we don’t know that we can only discover through if we’re open to that. And if we are coachable in discovering those blind spots that are gonna be the most impactful in helping us in our journeys and our, you know, achieve transformation. So I agree

Speaker 1:          With that. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I feel like when people tell you something that you could do better or, um, they don’t give you the best news. Like, I know that’s hard, [00:34:30] it’s hard not to, it’s hard like not to take it personally and take offense to it and sometimes leave me their messaging could be a million times better. But I think if you just go home, like, just take it in and just try to be like, all right, is that the truth? Can I be better at these things? And if I can then okay, fine. Like, let’s just do our best to, to improve on that and see if it really does make a difference. And then, you know, maybe it’s just like accepting that they [00:35:00] were right. Sometimes <laugh>, you know, it’s, it’s hard. It’s

Speaker 2:          Hard. It’s,

Speaker 1:          Um, but I think just being, when we’re more open to change, I think good things will happen.

Speaker 2:          I think it’s also hard when somebody maybe prematurely tells you to be grateful for a really crappy situation that you’re in. Like, sometimes you need that time to feel, feel bad for yourself for like you, like you did for a day, which is pretty remarkable, but Yeah. But, but yeah. And how long did it take you to actually get to a place of saying, [00:35:30] you know what, I’m really grateful, like, I’m thankful that, that this horrible thing happened. Did you, did that take many years? Did it take

Speaker 1:          I think, yeah. It didn’t take me, it didn’t, it didn’t happen for a couple years. Yeah. Um, for sure. You know, I think it was almost like after my career I was like, oh my gosh, that was amazing. I’m so lucky that happened. Um, that changed my mindset, but it, yeah, it definitely took me a couple years. And I think that’s normal too. Um, you know, based on your age, based [00:36:00] on what’s going on in your life. If, if, if your life is really crazy, it is really hard to reflect on things. It is. So you have to, you have to make the time in order to sit and be quiet and to reflect. And, um, you know, I haven’t mentioned journaling. I need to do more of it. But I think that’s another excellent way to be able to, to write things down and to go back and check on them, um, and be like, oh my gosh, I, I did do this back then and look where I am now. You know? I think that’s kind of a really neat way [00:36:30] to be able to realize your evolution. Um, cuz let’s be honest, not many of us are sitting around thinking back about our past and patting ourselves on the back, but sometimes you, you need that in order to be like, I’m moving in the right direction. I am going where I want to go. I am making a difference. I am making a change.

Speaker 2:          Absolutely. What’s the first thing when you first wake up in the morning? Do you have any like, automatic thoughts? And then what are your first intentional [00:37:00] thoughts, if that question makes sense?

Speaker 1:          Um, I, well, <laugh>, first of all, we have, I have three kids and, you know, one of my four-year-old definitely sleeps with us every night and is like, cuddled up against me, <laugh>. And so I’m trying to like, basically sneak out of bed

Speaker 2:          <laugh>.

Speaker 1:          Cause I wanna go downstairs and I wanna have that quiet time and I wanna be able to get that meditation in. So that’s my first thought.

Speaker 2:          That’s your goal. <laugh>,

Speaker 1:          How can I not wake my four year old up so I can get [00:37:30] that time alone? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, yeah. Cause that’s like, that’s like my, my quiet time. That’s like me. Time is early morning. Um, five minutes, 10 minutes. He’s coming down, not, not long after I’m getting up. So my first intention is to, how can I go and set my day right? I guess that’s my first intention. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then I, I do really just feel like that five, 10 minute meditation in the morning, that’s all I can do. Um, but I do it on Insight [00:38:00] timer and I just go and listen and I’m like right after that, I’m like, ready? All right, here we go. Um, let’s get the kids out the door. Like let’s get ready for the day. Um, but it’s, it’s set and that helps me to have a better day.

Speaker 2:          Uh, are you on, do you do the social part of Insight Timer? Cuz I use it every night, but I haven’t quite figured out. Like, I know it’s like a social thing, uh, where you can like, share with, there’s so many amazing meditations on there. Right. And, um, so I, I

Speaker 1:          Am kinda oh, many,

Speaker 2:          [00:38:30] So many. And Tara Brock on there. Do you know Tara Brock? She’s like, no. Um, like

Speaker 1:          Buddha

Speaker 2:          Herself, she’s amazing. She’s got a podcast too. Yeah. I think you’d like her a lot. She’s beautiful. Awesome. Um, awesome. Well, is there anything else? This has been so insightful, Heather. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience before we wrap things up?

Speaker 1:          Um, just keep going. You know, I think, um, the world’s a crazy place right now, [00:39:00] so, you know, um, figure out what you can control, uh, tune everything else out. Um, have a vision for yourself and just don’t stop till you, you are successful and you find happiness. Um, you know, I think that’s really what it is, is just figuring out like what it is that is going to make you happy. Um, and I think in the past a lot of times we would focus so much on, you know, success is, is your [00:39:30] job title and how much money you make. That’s, that might work for some people, but I think if the majority of us sat down and really just took the time to be like, what would truly make me happy? Um, and you wrote that down, you’ll, you’ll find that just having that vision helps you to move towards making that life for yourself.

Speaker 1:          So we all have an opportunity to create the [00:40:00] life that we want. Don’t forget that. So, um, don’t let anybody put you in a box. Uh, if you hate your job, quit it. Find something that’s gonna bring you, um, your passion and your purpose and live your best life. Life is short. Um, my dad had Alzheimer’s and, um, passed away recently, and he worked his entire life to, you know, for everybody else. I feel like, you know, to, [00:40:30] um, he just was always so concerned about supporting his family that he wasn’t able to go on trips and enjoy his life once he retired. And it makes me so sad. And, you know, I had to live through that and watch him, but I’m now sharing that we have one life to live. So pick the most of, of every single time because it is short [00:41:00] and we should do the things that make us happy.

Speaker 2:          Oh, Heather, I’m, I’m so sorry for your loss, but thank you so much for, uh, for sharing that and for sharing your wisdom and beauty with the world. I really appreciate you.

Speaker 1:          Thanks Ella. Um, thanks for everything that you do as well. Good luck with the sanctuary and, um, all else, uh, in life. You really are a shining light.

Speaker 2:          Thanks, Heather. [00:41:30] Thanks for listening to this


“Don’t focus on what everybody else is doing. Figure out what makes you special and unique and hone that skill.”  – Heather Mitts

I’m excited to share the conversation I had with 3-time Olympian, Heather Mitts, who I felt very connected with right off the bat. 

In this inspirational episode Heather shares what it took to come back from her devastating ACL injury. We also dive into what she calls the Gold Medal Mindset, which includes…

  • Giving yourself permission to achieve your dreams
  • Owning your identity
  • Learning to control what you can control
  • Not stopping until you are successful

We also discuss how these tools can be used to achieve health in a broader sense, as well as the ways Heather keeps herself on the path of holistic health at this point in her life.

After watching this interview, I have no doubt you’ll agree with me when I say that Heather is not only a champion athlete, but also a strong, beautiful soul and resilient and inspirational human being! 


Heather Mitts first touched a soccer ball at age 6 and was instantly hooked. On an athletic scholarship, she attended the University of Fl where she became the Gator’s all-time record holder in appearances, starts, and minutes played. Heather helped bring the Gators to their first ever NCAA Women’s soccer championship. In 1999, Heather was names a first-team All-American.

After college she launched herself into professional soccer with huge success, playing iwth the Philadelphia Charge, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence, and the Atlanta Beat of the Women’s Professional Soccer league. 

Mitts was a member of the USA’s 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal teams as well as the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team. She played in nine career Olympic matches including a memorable performance in the 2008 gold medal game victory against Brazil. She scored two goals in her career, both game-winners.

Off the field, Heather has appeared in Sports Illustrated, FHM and has been voted ESPN.com’s “Hottest Female Athlete.” She served as a studio analyst for ABC, ESPN, and EPN2 during the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and was also a sideline reporter. 

Heather founded Train Like Legends, a soccer specific strength and conditioning app geared toward youth athletes with the intent of taking her strengths and knowledge and sharing them with the next generation.

Heather is a Motivational speaker sharing the Gold Medal Mindset and online coaching to help athletes who need help overcoming obstacles.



Heather’s Website


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