Kirstin Olsen What fuels your motivation? How did you manage to play internationally at such a high level for so long as a non giant (no offense) and get consistently good contracts?
Thanks for your question Kirstin! What fuels my motivation? I think it started with a passion. Passion is a strong motivator. When I was first introduced to volleyball, it quickly became my favorite sport. It was fun and that’s all I wanted to do. That passion was eventually accompanied by an obsessiveness; a trait that I am prone to. I had an appetite to push the limits of my own ability and a competitive drive that kept the fire burning bright. It’s actually fascinating to me that the “obsessive passion” was powerful enough to drive a 24 year career. Not only that, I have learned through passionate pursuit how to maximize my potential which can translate to any facet of life.
I actually have two passions now, and interestingly enough, volleyball is not one of them. I’m passionate about the Olympics and I’m passionate about golf. The obsessive quality is definitely fixated on golf. So does that make me nervous about the probability of success in beach volleyball? Not at all. Although volleyball isn’t my obsessive passion, the Olympics is a passion and what drives me now in my pursuit on the sand. My experience in indoor equipped me with tools to take forward and I have learned how to personally develop and reach towards my maximum potential. I learned how to set goals, make a plan, confront weaknesses and work the plan, daily. I now have a skill set (that was learned as a byproduct of my obsessive passion in one specific arena, indoor volleyball) geared around reaching my own max potential in any facet of life. The process is the same no matter what you direct your energy or attention towards. I am utilizing those tools for both passions: Olympic Games and golf.
As for how I was able to compete at an international level for so long. I think I am a good learner and a good team player. I was able to become proficient in every aspect of the game – never the best at any one skill but highly operational in all. In my book Max Potential Playbook, I discuss my Philosophy of Volleyball and the impact serving and passing has on the outcome of points. I was able to be strong in those categories, and there is always a spot on a team for a strong passer and server.
From a business standpoint, I think it all comes down to production. You have to produce and prove value on a “today” basis. Pro volleyball is so fickle and it’s truly a “what have you done for me lately” environment. So with that in mind, I played hard all the time and tried to consistently be valuable to whatever team I was on by competing hard and being a good teammate.