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Women’s Sports Foundation President: ‘To Find Success, You Have To Like Being Blindsided’

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In this edition of our Corporate Competitor Podcast, World Rugby Hall of Famer Phaidra Knight discuss the setback, and the tough plane ride afterward, that taught her the true meaning of resilience as a successful athlete and entrepreneur.

Convinced she was on her way to becoming part of a championship squad, Phaidra Knight found out she was not selected for the 2009 World Cup Sevens team while playing in a tournament in San Diego. She had an important decision to make: Fly back with her team to the training center in Arkansas and help the selected players prepare, or go home to lick her wounds.

“I was devastated. There were no indicators that I would not make it. I had played with the team for three years and was selected for every trip and tournament,” Knight recalled.

The media must have been shocked, too, because shortly after, Rugby Magazine named Knight USA Rugby Player of the Decade. “None of that made a difference to the way I felt,” she recalled.

Knight chose to be a teammate first. “It took a lot to bury my pride, ego, and anger to fly back and show up for them,” she said. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”

But in that moment, she learned something that changed her life: “You have to be able to sit in the failure to let go of the bad. As long as I still have breath in my lungs, I know there’s an opportunity for me to do something great,” she said, “something greater than anything else I’ve already done.”

She was right. One of those “things” was becoming President of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Another? Launching PSK Collective, a fusion of activewear and streetwear that is now available in Target, Walmart and Kohl’s.

In the podcast, business leaders and sports enthusiasts will acquire deep self-leadership insights through Knight’s intense examples including:

3:00   How to speak life into other people.

8:00   How to prepare for future opportunity.

12:00  How to create camaraderie in business.

18:00  How to make failure a segue to success.

22:00  Why you should like being blindsided.

29:00  The impact of Title IX on her psychological development as an athlete.

“Listen, you’re going to get blindsided. That is life,” said Knight, the first African American inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. “That means there’s something else out there for you!”

Check out the full Corporate Competitor Podcast interview archive and subscribe to new episodes.


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