Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 175 - Haley Daniels

I actually I retired from sport in April, so I’m like, I’m a retired sport. But I’ll tell you what we did, because I did do it for 15 years. So I — we actually right now, so I know where I’m going to say Canadian celsius.
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 175 - Haley Daniels

[00:00:00] I actually I retired from sport in April, so I’m like, I’m a retired sport. But I’ll tell you what we did, because I did do it for 15 years. So I — we actually right now, so I know where I’m going to say Canadian celsius. But it’s actually six degrees here, so it’s above zero and we’re on the water if it’s above zero. So you go out and you put extra layers on and you walk in the snow, you get on the water, you carefully finagle around the ice because there’s ice when you’re getting on the water and then you get on and you paddle. And so. Yeah, we’re on the water above zero. Then we do a lot of cross country skiing because it’s the same muscles that you’re using as a push and then getting good aerobic base and then weights. And then we do this terrible thing called erg. I hate it.

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Jesse: [00:01:36] Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host Jesse Funk. My guest today represented Canada in the Tokyo Olympics in the sport of canoe slalom. She’s won a bronze at the Pan American Games and a gold at the Pan American Championships. If I got that wrong, she’s going to correct me here in a minute. Currently almost finished with her degree in Business, Commerce and Entrepreneurship. So I’m sure we’re going to get along really well. Welcome to the show, Haley Daniels.

Haley: [00:02:03] Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

Jesse: [00:02:05] Yeah, Thanks. Thanks for coming on. I first, I got to give you a little bit of a hard time or ask you. So for anybody who has Instagram, you can check her out @haleydanski, It’s Haley D-A-N-S-K-I. My question is, how do you deal with living in such a beautiful place like. How does that? I feel like that’s got to be crushing on the soul just to have such beautiful scenery around you all the time.

Haley: [00:02:34] I mean, I live here for that reason, for sure. No, I live in a mountain town called Canmore, Alberta. It’s just outside of the city of Calgary, where the 1988 Olympics were. And yeah, I love where I live. It’s definitely I just looked out the window this morning and I got really excited because it’s snowing. So we’re going to probably get some snow, which is which is good. But yeah, I think for me, I just I get excited to be in the mountains and that’s what I do all the time. So it’s a natural fit for me to live here.

Jesse: [00:03:08] I just. I know what I got on your screen. I just. I saw. I was like, I feel like. Where were you? I was just like, this is what Instagram is built around is just like, you just go, just go outside, go like it’s gorgeous. Like I lived this weird, like hot, cold paradise. The like has all the things, I guess.

[00:03:30] So I had to give you a hard time about it, but that does make me wonder. I mean, you’re primarily water-based sport. So what are you doing in the wintertime? I mean, I think I saw some pictures of you on the ice. Like, how are you getting out to train when it’s too cold to actually have liquid water on to?

Haley: [00:03:52] So I actually I retired from sport in April, so I’m like I’m a retired sport. But I’ll tell you what we did, because I did do it for 15 years. So I — we actually right now, so I know where I’m going to say Canadian celsius. But it’s actually six degrees here, so it’s above zero and we’re on the water if it’s above zero.

[00:04:14] So you go out and you put extra layers on and you walk in the snow, you get on the water, you carefully finagle around the ice because there’s ice when you’re getting on the water and then you get on and you paddle. And so. Yeah, we’re on the water above zero. Then we do a lot of cross country skiing because it’s the same muscles that you’re using. It’s a push and then getting good aerobic base and then weights.

[00:04:39] And then we do this terrible thing called erg. I hate it. It’s similar to rowing, but it’s like a kayak erg, and you do intervals on that. So when we are here in Canada, that’s what we’re we’re doing. But for the most part we ended up traveling. So this time of year I was usually in Europe or in more of western Canada, closer to Vancouver, where it’s just a little warmer and you can be on the water. And then usually come January, February, we are in Australia or New Zealand or Brazil or Dubai or somewhere warm where there is a whitewater course so that we can get proper training and not lose that water connection.

Jesse: [00:05:23] I mean, it seems like such a hardship to travel to all these places.

Haley: [00:05:29] Yeah. I mean, the travel is it is actually quite fatiguing when you’re when you’re on the road for anywhere from 6 to 9 months a year, you’re constantly being out of the bag your home for a little bit. When you’re home, you’re cramming in all the time with friends and family and sponsors and recovery and things like that.

[00:05:46] So it does become quite fatiguing. But yeah, it’s an amazing thing. I mean, I’ve been able to see the world with my boat, which has been so cool, but it’s also quite expensive. So all of those trips and coaching fees and accommodation and flights are all, I was responsible for all of that. So I’m having to come up with anywhere from $50,000 to $90,000 a year to compete. So when I hear that we’re going to go to Dubai, I’m like, okay, how much it’s going to cost there, what’s accommodation there? So it’s exciting, but it’s also my brain thinking about that budget as well.

Jesse: [00:06:22] Yeah, I mean, I’m being a little facetious in terms of like the travel thing because I know it’s like I traveled a bit doing triathlon and I know we talked to like, pros. It’s like. Talking about the inside life of pros. When I think about triathlon, specifically the pros I know we’ll talk about like, yeah, we travel places, but like you’re living like when you go to compete, you’re just living inside of a hotel room, basically, like training a bit, staying fit to race and compete.

[00:06:54] But like otherwise you’re not like going out and sightseeing and stuff. And as you mentioned, like you’re away from family and friends for a considerable amount of the year. I think that’s something that people don’t consider when they hear all hailing, get to travel all these places and do all these things. Like can you speak a little bit about, I guess, staying sane and like staying socially connected while you do all the traveling and stuff?

Haley: [00:07:21] Yeah, absolutely. I think like you said, like, although we’re in these awesome places for the majority, we’re at the course and then whatever our accommodation is because we need to get that proper recovery. And you’re training anywhere, like on a training camp. We’re training like 2 to 3 times a day, six days a week, right? So it’s like you don’t really have a lot of time to go see things.

[00:07:40] So on our days off, we try to do some tourist things, like when we’re in Sydney, we’ll go to the beach for the day or something. But yeah, I think for me, like a lot of my friends that I made on the tour from different countries, one of my best friends on the tour was from the Netherlands and things like that. And so you get to go hang out with these people, which is really nice.

[00:08:05] But it’s still not your friends and family that you grew up with and that you built a community with at home. So I had to develop a lot of different tools to kind of just get over my homesick, I guess. And so, yeah, I would schedule calls with friends and family and like pretty often I did a lot of journaling as well. So just writing down when I was sad or frustrated and kind of storing those thoughts on paper instead of rehashing them in my brain over and over and over again.

[00:08:37] And something that I picked up in the latter half of my career was doing drawing. So this was more I just I needed to do something that I was recovering and I wanted to still be creative, but I could really do something that allowed me to just be creative and be in my hotel room, but not feel like FOMO, that I couldn’t go outside. So yeah, I would just I would write different or I would draw different things and hopefully it would create these cool, cool drawing landscapes.

Jesse: [00:09:20] And is that something that like are you continuing it or is it just like, this is my activity I do when I’m like, stuck up?

Haley: [00:09:28] Yeah. I mean, I definitely, I, I figured out this thing through drawing, which is quite peculiar, but I, I’m not great with structure. I really like creating my own structure. And so what drawing allowed me to do is draw structure. But then I could color within my own lines, which I thought was quite cool. I don’t I hate coloring books, but I love drawing. So it’s kind of a funny thing.

[00:09:55] But yeah, I do it all the time. I mean, as we said earlier, like I have the mountains around me and it’s my favorite thing to draw. So I, when I have a day off, like today, for example, I have a day off, I probably won’t be doing some drawing because I have some other things I need to attend to. But I love just going and sitting somewhere on a hill with a beautiful view and drawing what’s in front of me.

Jesse: [00:10:19] I think it’s maybe it’s one of those things where it’s like, I guess I don’t know that you kind of like your thoughts on this. Sometimes I like to look at like. Roadblocks as an opportunity or like obstacles as an opportunity, kind of like when COVID shut everything down and just nobody could go anywhere and we’re all stuck at home, like, what are we going to do now?

[00:10:43] Like, I use it as an opportunity to get back into kind of a hobby that I really hadn’t pursued in almost a decade, just to be like, I really want to spend some time on this instead of instead of being like, “Oh, what was me?” Like, “What am I going to do?” So was that the kind of approach you took where you’re like, “Well, I’ve got all this time, so I might as well put it to use?”

Haley: [00:11:05] Yeah. I think when I picked up drawing again, it was actually we were at a training camp in just between Pemberton and Whistler in, in BC, and it was there was a really, really bad smoke from the fires and we were camping and my coach got sick. This was before COVID, but he got really sick and I felt really sad and couldn’t really go anywhere because it was so smoky. And so I actually just I drew him a get-well card and I realized how much joy it gave me to draw again and just and I did it a lot when I was a kid.

[00:11:39] And I lost it because I was school and sport and all those things. So. Yeah, exactly. I think I just I came back to I really love being creative and, and then I started realizing also that I am quite good at it. And so for me that was just really exciting and nice to be able to just continue to create and add color and, and pictures and things like that.

Jesse: [00:12:04] So I want to back up a little bit. One of the things I want to ask you more about is or maybe we’re continuing, I guess is just like. The life of an Olympian, the life of training as a professional. Like you touched on just the expense every year that you’ve got to come up with just to compete. I mean, a lot of people you said I think the figures you said are like 50,000 to 90,000, I’m going to assume Canadian, but it’s roughly equivalent to USD. It’d be slightly less.

[00:12:36] But for all intents and purposes, let’s just go with that. So, I mean, for many people, that’s like that’s the yearly salary that have to come up with the —

Haley: [00:12:47] Spending.

Jesse: [00:12:48] Right. That you’re spending. So, you know, can you take me through, I guess, a few things? You know, fundraising. How do you pay for it? And then what kind of day-to-day or week-to-week, month-to-month? How do the training schedule kind of get put together?

Haley: [00:13:07] Well, I’ll talk to the fundraising first, and then I’ll talk to the training because they correlate, but they’re definitely different. So when it came to fundraising, I kind of had to reinvent the wheel a little bit because there’s not really a solid foundation for athletes and sponsorships and fundraising. So I put together like a personal brand that talked to outdoor adventure, gender equality because of my sport and fighting for gender equality in my sport, and then also plant-based diet. So I eat a plant-based diet.

[00:13:40] So I kind of that was the sponsors that I targeted in relation to that in my branding. And then I built my own website and within social media I tried to talk about those things and then was able to get some amazing sponsors like Subaru, Mountain Equipment Co-op, which is like right in the States, grocery store Save-on-foods, a lake community that was close to me called Harmony. Yeah, many, many other different sponsors. But it really that was part of how I paid for a lot of things.

[00:14:15] But the thing that actually was most lucrative was fundraisers. So my first fundraiser was like a wine and cheese, and I had like a bunch of random silent auction things. And then I moved to I made a cookbook called The Newest Kitchen, and it had plant-based recipes. And I sold those cookbooks along with teaching vegan cooking classes here in Canmore.

[00:14:39] And those were they were quite lucrative, but they were it was a lot of work for small events, and they only pulled in about anywhere from like 2 to $5000 an event. And it was just like a lot of work for that. So I eventually came up with this idea with so I, I formed an advisory council. Someone told me that I need to have a board of directors because it’ll just help bounce ideas off. And then I can use their network for inviting people to think.

[00:15:07] So I formed an advisory council of eight people that I trusted and we met and I was like, I want to do a fundraiser. I ideating some ideas. And we came up with this idea where artists paint paddles and then we’d auction those paddles off to fundraise for my year and it was sold out event every year there was media. We had entertainment there. We had a beautiful paddles like I’m actually every time they would go, I would be sad when they go because I was like, I want to put these all over my home. They’re so beautiful.

[00:15:42] Hopefully sometime in the next couple of months here, I’ll be able to find some time to paint my own paddle. But it was just such an amazing experience. And I think for me also, it was it was amazing because I could invite all the people that had helped me on my journey and thank them and say thank you for helping me. And here’s what’s next and here’s how you can support me. And I think that was just so special.

[00:16:05] We did do one post-COVID as well that was online and it did well as well. So yeah, I think it was that was all encompassing and all of those mostly I was the driver of it, so I was full time working on these sponsors and fundraising. And then I was also working at the same time and then training full-time.

[00:16:27] So not a lot of time to spare. But when it talks, when you come into your second question with the training plan, we would do a yearly training plan. I would sit down with my coach at the beginning of every basically the off season. So off-season is like October, November, December, and we would talk about what didn’t go well the year before. What I want to improve from that, how can I integrate that and look at where the national team was thinking of training.

[00:16:56] If I wanted to go on those training camps, how long I would go. And then just looking at the races I wanted to peak for and then figuring out my tapering or my training load heading towards those races.

Jesse: [00:17:13] You know, when you’re talking about do you think you did a bit more than him, but so you’re talking about like. You as the driver are kind of like. I would think almost like you’re the CEO of your own life in a way like organizing all things it feels like a few weeks ago. But it may. I think it’s longer than that. I was speaking with pro gravel cyclist Alexey Vermeulen.

[00:17:36] We spent like 20 minutes talking about like the importance of athletes promoting themselves and like kind of how, in his opinion, like COVID shifted the kind of like sponsorship landscape and like how money flows through the sport and that like the emphasis on the athlete really got pushed up because there in that time, like there were no events, like nothing was going on but like social media was still important, like sponsors could still get exposure that way.

[00:18:05] And like athletes building themselves up as their own brand gave them more control over who am I working with? What’s the message I’m putting out? Like where the dollars coming from, and then also be like being more authentic? I think, you know, you talked about working with like plant-based diet sponsors or companies because that aligns with what you’re doing.

[00:18:30] I think that’s. It’s an interesting and great time, I think, for athletes because you can find companies that align with their values instead of just being like, I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m not sure what a good bad example would be like. Like it’s like Tyson Chicken being like, “Hey, Haley, we’re going to give you a million bucks. If you just promote Tyson Chicken”, you’ll be like, you’re like, “Oh.”

Haley: [00:18:56] You know, I actually had an opportunity like that with the Turkey Association of Canada. And I say no because I was like, Why? I just don’t eat turkey. But, you know. Yeah. Yeah. It’s I think it’s important to understand your alignment and like, what it is I want to represent. I think now it’s shifted a little bit for me because environment is really important to me.

[00:19:19] But I think that, yeah, it is a huge opportunity with COVID, but it was also hard. At the same time, I think you had to really lean on social media. And I did. I did vlogging for a bit, which just made newsletters easier and things like that. But yeah, I mean, as you said, like I was like being an athlete that was looking after your own sponsorships and fundraisers.

[00:19:47] Like it’s like being an entrepreneur, like you have like a million things coming your way all the time. And if you don’t do them like no one’s coming, like you have to do it right. So there was this. Sometimes I was flying by the seat of my pants. But yeah, I think, I think there’s just there’s a huge opportunity with athletes, with social media, but it’s also a burden as well.

[00:20:09] I found that a lot of times I would get distracted by it because I’d be like, Oh, I could like, I really need to take a picture of me doing this. All this is great content, or Oh, I should do this because and my brain would always be in that creative space. And I think that excites me. But it would also distract me from training sometimes. And, and then I’d have these commitments, like with a lot of my sponsors, it was monthly or weekly commitments that I would need to do. And so it would take away from that recovery time off the water.

Jesse: [00:20:41] I mean, when you’re talking about your schedule, you’re talking about training full time and then basically having a job just it’s sort of like you had several jobs, so who knows how many hours that adds up or maybe, you know, how many hours that adds up to it. Just, you know, I felt like, how do you possibly keep track of all those things? I mean, before we got going, we talked about kind of my background and my endeavors into trying to become a pro. 

[00:21:07] The peak I was training like 15 to 20 hours a week and I kind of started my own company so that I could be in charge of my own schedule and make my own money and not be because I knew sponsors wouldn’t care about me, basically. But even if I was like, I wouldn’t be beholden to anybody else. But even then, it was hard to juggle. I can’t imagine, like all of the extra time that you had to spend on all that and still be able to recover.

[00:21:31] Like what you and many top athletes I speak to go through. Like it feels unimaginable to me, like just having a glimpse of that lifestyle and then thinking, oh yeah, tack another like 20 or 30 hours on to this and still be ready to go. Do you look back on it and go like “Oh, I’m glad I’m not doing that anymore.” Or do you look at it and go like, “how did I get through it?” Or you were just like, “Oh, no. Like it was just one thing at a time.”

Haley: [00:22:03] All of the above. I think that I do. I miss it a lot. I am now. I’m working at a leadership development company and I’m doing business development there. And it’s an ever changing environment. So it’s a start up essentially. So I do like that fast-paced environment. But I think it’s hard because like. It’s just a lot of sitting and things like that. But I look back often and I think about how did I do it?

[00:22:35] Like I’m exhausted now, and I would say I’m doing less. And maybe it’s because it’s a lot more like mentally new things. And that’s maybe what’s tiring. But yeah, I was like training 2 to 3 times a day, plus working, plus hustling sponsorships, plus, you know, lobbying to the International Olympic Committee to try and get our sport in the Olympics. Plus supporting my dad through a transition plus, plus, plus. Right. So there was just so much there.

[00:23:03] So I think that now I, like, almost feel guilty for being tired because I’m like, I wasn’t tired before. Why am I tired now? But I think something that I’ve kind of come to terms with is I’m still quite burnt out from the Olympics, even though it’s been more than a year later.

[00:23:23] It like it takes I think it takes years to recover from that. And like, I think I was just going on low for so long that yeah, I’m still, I’m still just trying to figure out how to get that energy and be recovered. And I think now my priorities are really shifted. Like before it was like my highest priority is training. My second highest priority is recovery. And then my third highest priority is funding my sport.

[00:23:54] And now like activities still high on the list, but it’s not my highest priority and recovery is still high on the list, but it’s not my highest priority. Lately I’ve been actually thinking about shifting that because I think recovery needs to be higher on my list. But it’s just it’s a really it’s really hard because I want to be able to go and do that activity. But I like it’s just sometimes there’s not as many hours in the day to get it done.

Jesse: [00:24:24] You made me think about the sentiment I saw recently. I can’t remember exactly where I saw it, unfortunately, but it’s something along the lines of like, I’ve talked about this before, like comparative suffering, in this case, being tired. Like, you don’t have to apologize for being tired. Like, if you’re tired of you’re tired just because in this case past you versus like, present you like, “oh, why am I not able to do such and such” or wherever like whether you’re comparing to yourself or you’re comparing to somebody else, maybe somebody can do more than you can and then they’re tired.

[00:25:04] So it’s like there’s this idea about like almost earning a badge of tiredness, like, “Oh, I put it in 100 hour weeks and thus I’m tired and my tiredness is like, better than yours.” But maybe you’re like, you know, you I mean, like, but maybe I’ll say, say in my case, maybe I put in 20 hours a week and I’m exhausted. But it’s like, well, your tiredness doesn’t equal my tiredness because I put in more work. It just I saw the sentiment about like, it doesn’t matter. Like tired is tired, you know what I mean? Like, I feel like it should. If I can boo your spirits a little through my rambling, I just feel like you give yourself a little bit of grace.

[00:25:46] The Olympics is unfathomable to most of us. The work that it takes to get in there and just, you know, if you know you’re tired, like allow yourself to be. I think you’re I think you’re probably doing okay.

Haley: [00:25:59] Yeah, I think it’s just a — I want to high a performance athlete always a high performance. You have that. You have that high-performance mindset. And so I really want to be good at everything I do and I really want to love my job and I really want to love the things I’m doing and I’m figuring that out right now. I am aspiring actually to be a firefighter, so that’s my next thing. But it’s a really long hiring process.

[00:26:24] And yeah, I just I, I do need to be a little better about not comparing myself to other people and not comparing myself to my past me, because how I feel now is how I feel. But I think, as you said, like, yeah, giving myself some grace. My sports psychologist always talked about this. It’s important to grieve. It’s important to feel how you feel. And I need to probably bring that back into my space a little bit.

[00:26:54] But I think something that drives me in, anything I do is I want to know why, why it is that I feel this way, why it is that I’m moving towards what I’m doing. And I just I’d like to know why it is I’m so tired all the time. So hopefully, hopefully there’ll be some clarity there.

Jesse: [00:27:14] Yeah. Yeah, I would hope so. But like I said, I just. You’ve put in an ungodly amount of work over 15 years, you know, And it’s like I said, I just I know we just met but just I hope you take that to heart. Just give yourself some grace because you put in the work, you know? So I dislike seeing people suffer, especially like, you know, I connect with it just like high-performance athlete thing. I get it. I really do get it.

[00:27:53] But just that’s something I’ve been working on, I guess it’s like like I’ve been struggling through injury this year and I basically haven’t been able to compete because of this injury that, for lack of a better explanation or longer explanation is like it’s something that’s been basically ten years coming and I have to get through. And so I’ve had to spend a lot of time like. Just being like, okay, maybe you’re not as fast as you were. Just be present with who you are now.

Haley: [00:28:20] Yeah.

Jesse: [00:28:21] And like you said, the shifting priorities, like finishing your degree. We’re back for the Olympics. You’re finishing your degree. You’re like, trying to move forward. And when I talk with anybody, you know, any, any a high-performance guest on the show, the Olympians, the pros, it’s like. It’s hard to transition away from being like being at the top and then moving on to something else. I’m going to have to look up her. It’s going to take me a minute. Gosh, why did I just forget her name? Anyway. It’ll come to me in a minute.

[00:29:04] Speaking with the guest about Adriana Nelson from Roll Recovery episode 166 there we go. She is still competing as a pro runner in her — I don’t remember if she’s in her late thirties or early forties now and should be having a baby here shortly, actually. But talked a lot about like building the off-ramp before you hit the exit like and how a lot of people don’t do that and then find themselves in this place of like. But what now? So it sounds like a little bit you have been building the off ramp with your degree, thinking about being a firefighter. Can you, I guess, talk a little about that?

Haley: [00:29:53] It’s so hard to do it while you’re in it, you know.

Jesse: [00:29:56] Yeah.

Haley: [00:29:56] Like there’s a lot of programs that are offered to us as athletes. The Canadian Olympic Committee has an amazing program called Game Plan, so they helped us to transition even while you’re still in sport. But there’s only so much you can do to build that. I like that term, off-ramp. I’ve never heard that before, but there’s only so much you can do to build that off-ramp because you have to have blinders on.

Jesse: [00:30:24] Yeah.

Haley: [00:30:25] Like if you want to get to the top, if you want to be at like the top Canadian and going to the Olympics and being the number one, there’s only one person per country per category that goes and then only 22 nations go. So not even all nations go, right? So if you want to be that one person, you have to like, I often think of the horses with their blinders, right? And they have that carrot in front of them and it’s dangled and it’s just like run towards the carrot. Nothing else matters. Right?

[00:30:50] And that’s what you have to do to get there. And. I don’t regret that in any way, but I definitely I’ve dealed with a lot of adversity throughout my life and my career, and transitioning has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I think I’ve been thinking a lot about it and why that is. But I think there’s various things that when you’re an athlete, if you’re tired, you nap. 

[00:31:17] If you’ve got if you’re feeling like you’re not performing on the water, you take a day off. If you have something that’s off, you go and get tests. You talk with your team, you figure out you talk with your coach about how to be better in that thing. And in the real world, we and athletes, we have this funny thing called NARPs. So normal, average, regular person, it’s an acronym. So I’m a NARP now.

[00:31:46] But being a NARP, I guess it’s like you don’t have that team of people unless you assemble it. So like, you can have your partner, you can have your parents, you can have your friends, but like it’s not the same. They don’t have an obligation to you to help you perform unless you assemble a team of people that are like, “Hi! Can I can you be my high-performance team to be a normal person, please?”

[00:32:09] So, yeah, I find that there’s so many things that I’m uncertain about, like, should I, should I take this job? Should I take this volunteer opportunity? Should I take a day off? Should I push it here? So I’m still trying to take my high-performance mindset and and not the things I’ve learned from being an athlete. But it’s I don’t have that team of people that I can rely on to bounce ideas off of.

[00:32:34] So that’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, is maybe I need to form a team again of coaches in a way that are going to help me with all of the facets that I have currently engaged in. And yeah, I mean, it’s I like the other part I find about transition is when you’re an athlete, like you can dip your toes oh so slightly in something and it can feel like, “Oh my gosh”, like I always thought I wanted to work in sponsorship marketing and I still kind of think I want to do that.

[00:33:08] But working in a big corporation and doing something like that. And then I tried it and I was like, This is not what I thought it was going to be. And this is not. And I dip my toes in it. So I had one or two days of it a week or something, and I was like, “Oh, this is going to be so fun.” But then when you’re doing it for 40 hours a week or 50 hours a week, it’s a completely different experience. And so there’s just there’s a huge transition period of figuring out, is this actually what I want to do?

[00:33:42] And there’s so much of me feels behind a lot of my friends are buying houses and having families and getting promoted to director positions. And I am in an entry-level position, renting a home in a beautiful place. But I don’t have capacity to think about a family for at least a couple of years. But it yeah, it just makes me feel so behind and I need to play catch up.

[00:34:11] But at the same time I have this amazing career behind me and there’s so many skills that I take from that and I apply to my current life. And I just need to continue to remind myself that although I might not be a director in a company right now, I still I was at the height of my career at a young age so.

Jesse: [00:34:34] There’s an analogy I heard a while ago I think may apply to you if you think about again, I’m not trying to be preachy, I’m just trying to offer some like, tidbits of things that have helped me as I see them over the years. So. First, you’ve got to think about like, what do you want in life? Like you wanted the Olympics and you put those blinders on and then now the blinders are off and there’s all the things and you have to decide. There’s so many choices. That’s the tough part.

[00:35:09] I think. I guess if I look at you and I think about the kind of person that I think you are. Again, we just met. So I’m making assumptions here like. You probably will have a very rich, full big life. That doesn’t necessarily mean like you’re a huge celebrity kind of thing, but just like a very fulfilled life because your high performance, you want to do the things you’re going to go after the things, right? The analogy I heard was about building a house and if you say your friends, if they’re out and they want to build like a two-bedroom cottage. Well, maybe it only takes a couple of years to build a two-bedroom cottage.

[00:35:57] But you, on the other hand, have decided to build a castle, and it’s going to have a moat and it’s going to have a drawbridge. And it takes more than two years to build a castle. Maybe in two years you’ll only have a turret standing up and you don’t have anywhere to live. And it’s windy and drafty and you’re like, “Why am I living in this drafty little castle? Because it’s not even close to done. My friends are all enjoying their little castles.”

[00:36:20] And it’s not to demean the people that have two-bedroom cottages. That’s just what they wanted. But sometimes when you’re going after bigger things, it just takes longer to get there. So if you step back and you realize, “Oh!” like, “I have the ability and the capacity to live a bigger life than a normal, average, regular person.” Sometimes it takes longer to construct it. So I, I would encourage you again, just like try not to feel so behind because you done this big, this big amazing adventure that most people don’t ever even have the opportunity to go on.

Haley: [00:37:03] Well, thank you for that. Yeah, I think I do really like that analogy. I think patience is something that I have been trying to practice lately and really, really like I think that’s another thing to with transition is like when you’re an athlete, like if you want to change something, you change it because it’s your life.

[00:37:23] Like you change that and you have so much autonomy over that. But when you’re working for someone or just things outside of sport, there’s change. Take so much longer because there’s approval processes and there’s many people involved. And I think that being patient with that process and I like that analogy of being patient with building my moat around my castle and maybe putting some windows out so it’s less drafty.

[00:37:50] But yeah, it’s just about continuing to — I heard this analogy once and it was actually it was that two skaters that are quite famous in Canada, Tessa and Scott, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moore, I think last name was and they talked about how every day, if you put a piece of rice into a container, it might not seem like much every day. But at the end of the year, you can look at that container and it’s an entire container full of rice. And you knew you filled it by intentionally putting something in there every single day. And I really love that. And I still love that.

[00:38:32] And I try to bring one thing a day that can give me joy, but also work towards the goal that I am working on right now. But, yeah, I had I do a lot of keynote speaking and that gives me a lot of joy. But I did a talk to some financial planners for RBC last week and I had a question from a gal in the audience. She said, “So you’ve been working towards this massive goal and it’s been your goal for 15 years, then your goals over.” And she’s like, “so what’s next? What do you do?”

[00:39:09] And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’ll call you when I figure it out, because, you know, what do you want to give me your number? I have no idea.” I mean, that’s the thing that we struggle with is athletes retiring is what is that next goal? Is there going to be a goal that’s ever as big as the Olympics? Who knows? Right.

[00:39:30] And is that something that I want? Do I want a goal that’s as big as the Olympics in my life? Do I want a couple of goals? That’s like a thing that’s going to be constantly massaged right now until I kind of have this moment of clarity. But it’s just it’s a hard thing, I think, right now, personally. I mean, I’m obviously working towards the Calgary Fire Department, but I had this realization that I really miss.

[00:40:00] I miss working with athletes and I really I’ve always been very entrepreneurial and with sponsorships and fundraising, I realized that I’m actually quite good at it. I’ve learned a lot and I just have that mindset of figuring out the gap of how to connect a brand with an athlete or a brand. And it’s just like, it’s just how my brain works and I have my capstone project for university coming up here.

[00:40:27] So it’ll start December and it goes to February and I need to come up with a company and then pitch it to investors at the end there. And I had this idea of maybe creating an incubator for sponsorships for athletes, and I just don’t think that that’s something that is happening right now. And it’s I it’s been like the last few weeks that I’ve been thinking about it, but I literally get excited. I get giddy when I think about it and I’m like, maybe this is my thing.

[00:40:57] But it took like quite a few months, almost a year, two years to figure out maybe I do want to start a company, maybe I do want to work for myself, like you said, create my own schedule. So it just takes time and I have to practice that patience and get to practice that patience.

Jesse: [00:41:17] Yeah, well, the tough thing too, is like when you’re trying to figure out, what do I want to do? What is — what should life look like? I think I talked about this when I was talking with Tim Perreira — Tim, what episode were you — 169, is like designing your life and all those kind of things, but also realizing like number one, it happens.

[00:41:43] And two, that it’s okay that sometimes the goal is shift or like your idea of what do I want changes, you know what I mean? Like, so in your case as a concrete example, maybe you’re like, No, I want to put off the company for a while. And I really do want to be a firefighter for a while, and then maybe eventually you go, No, I think I do want to do that company or vice versa or whatever, you know, like.

Haley: [00:42:07] Yeah.

Jesse: [00:42:08] It — That’s the wonderful and scary thing I think about life and being an adult is that you have all these options and you could choose any number of things. But eventually you have to choose something and then deciding, okay, let’s continue on this path or let’s, let’s change paths. And I don’t have any hard, concrete advice in terms of like, do this and that, but just commiserating, I guess, with the difficulty of having options sometimes.

Haley: [00:42:45] I think at the last half of my career, something that I leaned into really hard is trusting my gut because there’s so many choices that come at you. And I think like I had so many people giving me advice and all these things and I was like, the most important thing I can do is if this feels right, do it and lean into it and really do it well. So that’s something I’m trying to do now. Just trust my gut. I know that I have the skills to take it on.

Jesse: [00:43:15] Yeah. Haley, as we’re winding down in time. You get to be the last person to answer this question this year before I bring a new question for next season’s show. I’m asking the same question to all my guests this year. I think you probably know it if you watch that episode. This year I’m asking people, how do you celebrate your wins?

Haley: [00:43:37] I call my friends and family. I jump up and down with excitement. I recently just passed the polygraph for firefighting, and that was something I was thinking about for eight months, about how scary it would be. Polygraph is not something that anyone does normally. You see it in Ocean’s 11, but you don’t want to go ever. No one ever wants to go do a polygraph.

[00:44:05] And I found out that I passed and I literally jumped out of my seat with excitement and danced around my house for like 20 minutes. So, yeah, I think for me, celebrating my wins or celebrating with others that there’s no point in winning if you’re doing it on your own.

Jesse: [00:44:23] That’s a great answer. Haley, if people want to get in touch with you, see what you’re up to, follow your journey, where can they do that?

Haley: [00:44:31] I am most active on Instagram. I have a TikTok account that I hardly use. I’m trying to honestly wind down from social media just because it takes over our brains. But yeah, you can find me on my website or on Instagram.

Jesse: [00:44:49] Awesome. Haley, thanks for hanging out with me.

Haley: [00:44:51] Yeah. Thank you.

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