Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is a three-time world champion. An Olympic gold medallist. A dame. A mother of two. And a fitness founder; her app, Jennis, offers workouts for women looking to up their game. She schools us in the art of overcoming.
“I want to join a women’s football team, but they train right beside the men’s team and I feel intimidated. How do I get over this?” Amy, 28
At the beginning of my career, I was obsessed with what was going on around me. Competing is a nerve-wracking thing: everyone’s watching. You think, what are they thinking? What’s that person in the crowd saying? When people are loud and cocky – and it’s not always men – it can make us feel small.
Instead, direct your attention to what you’re doing and what you want to achieve – whether that’s a technical skill you want to improve on or key points in the game you want to master. Focus on the pitch. Your team mates. Your performance. Eventually, you will forget the guys are even there.
“When you retired, how did you find a different purpose while remaining equally as passionate?” Megan, 39
While I was sure retiring was the right thing for me to do, it still felt strange – my whole world and sense of self changed. I wasn’t an athlete any more. I was a retired athlete. Even writing my occupation down on a form was daunting. Life sometimes forces us to go in a different direction that’s ultimately for the best. It’s important to make new goals. What motivates you now? Try and get excited about the new things you want to achieve, write them down and check in with them regularly.
“I failed my dance exam recently. It’s a hobby, not a career, so I shouldn’t be as devastated as I am. But it feels like I’ve failed at something I thought I was good at. How do you deal with failure?” Diana, 26
Firstly, remind yourself that every person experiences failure in their life. It’s inevitable, and it’s a good thing. Of course, we don’t want to fail all the time but when we do we’re actually achieving more than when we win – you’re learning about your limitations and how to surpass them.
It’s also important to embrace your emotions about failure. Give yourself that moment to be sad. From there, you can look at your performance and work out why you weren’t as good as you wanted to be, and make the changes you need to.
Images: Tom Van Schelven
Hannah Keegan is the features writer at Stylist magazine.