ABOUT TODAY’S EPISODE | LAUREN GIBBS
Lauren Gibbs won an Olympic Silver Medal at the 2018 games in South Korea! This moment was the high-point experience of a journey that has taken Lauren from growing up in Los Angeles to star high-school athlete to Brown University volleyball player to Cutco rep and manager to the corporate world and eventually to becoming a 30 year-old rookie in the world of bobsled. Lauren’s amazing journey is a testament to her yearning for something more in her life, believing in herself, having the courage to chase her dream, and her commitment to doing whatever it takes to succeed. Hers is a story that will entertain, educate, and inspire you to chase the dreams in your life that might actually be more possible than you ever thought before.
Q&A WITH LAUREN GIBBS
Q: Tell us a little about background before you got started selling Cutco with Vector.
- I was born in Los Angelas and was always interested in sports, business, and money (and how the world works around it), and I’ve always been athletic.
Q: What did you learn from playing volleyball that you feel you’ve applied?
- I picked up volleyball later in life than the norm so I learned the importance of hard work just so I could catch up to my peers.
Q: How did you get started with Cutco?
- I tried to get a job at J. Crew but they didn’t call me back after my interview.
- I got a letter in the mail and I only had 5 weeks left before I had to go to college for pre-season and the pay looked good. When I got the job, my dad wasn’t very supportive, so I wanted to prove him wrong.
- I earned $5,000 in my first 5 weeks.
Q: What are some of the experiences that stand out for you from your experience with Cutco?
- The first experience I got was that I wasn’t a natural at it.
- I tried to make up my own approach because I thought I knew better. My second summer, I decided to try to use the approach from the manual, and I ended up selling a full set for the first time. I immediately felt regret that I hadn’t been using the approach that has been proven to work rather than my made-up approach.
- I learned that everything in life is sales.
- I also learned that if you really care about other people, they’ll care about you. And being part of people doing great things is what life is all about.
Q: So you left Cutco and went into the corporate world for a little bit. What made you pursue your MBA?
- What Cutco does really well is having a great product, a great program, and great people and those things all make you feel like you can do anything, which you can, but you have to remember that you need to have those 3 building blocks to be successful. When I went to a company that didn’t have the same level of quality in their customer service and product, I realized that I needed to be able to pivot into a role where I could impact those things, or I needed to be at an education level where I could be in a leadership role at another company.
Q: So you got your Executive MBA and then what?
- I was working at a company that got to be a case study for me while getting my Executive MBA, and I found that when I had ideas I would try to bring them up with leadership, I wasn’t getting the kind of openness I was used to getting from the leadership team at Cutco/ Vector.
- It was at that time that I realized something different was necessary, but what that was hadn’t revealed itself to me yet.
Q: So, how did that “different thing” reveal itself? Why did you decide to pursue Bobsled?
- A friend from my gym suggested I try bobsledding.
- I didn’t really like the idea, but I believe life is about collecting amazing stories so I I located an Olympic training center where you can get evaluated to see if you’d be a good fit for a sport. This was only about an hour from where I was living.
- I figured the story would end there but I got a call a few weeks later inviting me to Lake Placid, NY for a training camp for bobsledding.
- And next thing I knew, I was standing at the top of a mountain strapping on a helmet getting ready to go down a bobsled track for the first time.
Q: At the end of that first run, how did you feel?
- It was a mixture of fear and exhilaration I had been missing for a long time.
- At the end I thought, “what did I just do?!”
Q: Where did the path of bobsled lead you after this?
- I immediately started to pare my life down. I sold my car, left the apartment I loved, sold half of my belongings and put the other half in storage and every decision I made was filtered through the question, “is this going to pull me away from potentially reaching my goal?” That meant I had to miss some things like friend’s weddings, birthdays, parties, vacations, etc.
- It got lonely from time to time but I realized that if you want to do great things and you want to do things you never imagined you could do, there is a level of sacrifice or decisions you have to make.
- My friends would ask me why I would sacrifice my career, but the way I was looking at it, I wasn’t sacrificing my career, I was going down a different path and in the process I ended up among one of the most exclusive clubs in the world as an Olympic athlete.
- In life, most things that are worth your time and energy don’t come with a guarantee. You have to create that yourself.
- I found that as I found weaknesses in my performance, I would attack those weaknesses, and what I discovered is that not only did they stop being weaknesses, but I actually started to enjoy those things.
Q: In your TEDx Talk you talked a little about what you’ve learned from being a brakeman in the back of a bobsled. Can you share some of that with us here?
- One of the first things I learned was the ability to say, “no.” I’m a people pleaser and I realized I need to be careful of who I give my time to.
- I learned how to ask for help, and learned that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you want to get better. Big dreams require input from other people.
- Learning how to prioritize my time and focus on things that are within my control.
- Even if you don’t hit your goals, there are important things about your journey that you need to be grateful for.
Q: So what does the future hold for you?
- I want to change the world by helping other people realize what it is they’re passionate about, or realize their potential, or realize that they can cultivate whatever life or lifestyle they want for themselves.
- Most things that are worth your time and energy don’t come with any guarantees.
- Even if you don’t hit your goals, there are important things about your journey that you need to be grateful for. In the end, it is the journey that is the most relevant, whether you hit your goals or not.
- It’s important to focus on the possibility of success vs. the possibility of failure. Our minds move us in the direction that we face.
- Get out of your own damn way.
Show Notes provided by Carlo Cipollina.
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