Olympic medallist Goldie Sayers is no stranger to hard work. But it was only when she swapped the podium for the boardroom that she realised years of athletics training could also translate into success in business.
“Finding out that I could use the skills that I’d developed as an athlete was quite exciting,” said the former Team GB javelin thrower.
“I realised that, as athletes, we have a set of attributes and behaviours that other people don’t often have or haven’t developed to the same degree. Resilience, being willing to take risks and being used to working outside your comfort zone. I think a lot of athletes who have just retired are not aware that the skills they have are transferable.”
Now the owner of a highly successful property investment business, Sayers is keen to help other athletes through the difficult transition into life outside of professional sports.
She was delighted to become an ambassador to the VSI Life After Sports Summit, an event designed to provide guidance and support to former and soon-to-be retired athletes.
“My advice would be to approach it like you would as an athlete. Find yourself a coach, someone who has achieved what you want to achieve, learn from them and get stuck in,” she said.
“Often you don’t know what jobs are out there so don’t be afraid to try different things as much to find out what you don’t want to do as what you like doing. Athletes are used to failure, but we learn from failure quickly and strive to develop.”
The summit will also give potential employers the chance to tap into a vast talent pool offering the kind of attributes that only sporting professionals possess.
“Sportspeople operate under an extreme amount of pressure and are always accountable for their actions. Having them in the workplace has got to be a good thing,” she said.
“I’d say they are the ideal employees because they have this desire to keep getting better.”
As well as practical advice about employment and finances, speakers and exhibitors at the event will offer guidance about the physical and mental wellbeing of athletes struggling to adjust to life outside the sporting bubble.
“One thing athletes do need to remember after retirement is to keep moving,” said Sayers. “They spend their lives expressing themselves physically, so to stop altogether is the wrong thing to do both physically and mentally. That’s one aspect of retirement that you don’t hear much about.”