October 2022 AOTM: Chaunte' Lowe, OLYOct 03, 2022
Welcome back to TWN’s Athlete of the Month! Each month we are highlighting athletes in our network to share what they have accomplished outside of sports, their contribution to the athletic community and more. Make sure to check out our weekly newsletter to learn more about the athlete, what motivates them, and how to contribute to their cause.
Our October Athlete of the Month is Chaunte' Lowe, OLY!
Chaunte' Lowe is an American track and field medalist and 4-Time Olympian. She now serves as a professional speaker and a Breast Cancer Awareness Advocate. Those who get a chance to encounter Chaunte’ always leave inspired and motivated.
Her infectious personality is electrifying. You can't help but leave an interaction with her with a winning, "I can do ANYTHING" attitude. Hers is the story of determination, perseverance, and strength. Not only is Lowe a mother of 3, a wife, and a Motivational Speaker; she is also a professional athlete, an American Record Holder, a 4-time Olympian, a 3-Time World Championship medalist, an Olympic Medalist AND a breast cancer survivor.
Fresh off of preparing for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, she now tours the world virtually and in-person, inspiring the next generation of "Champions in Life." And, did you know that Chaunte’ also has a TedxTalk? She spoke to TedxBocaRaton about her journey preparing for the Olympics, battling breast cancer and ultimately realizing and advocating for the importance of self care, and awareness for breast cancer. Check it out here.
Chaunte’ has also served as a speaker at several of our TWN Summits. In 2020, she spoke on our panel around the Impact of NIL on Athletes.
She shared the importance of authenticity, operating in your areas of interest and passion, and the power of relationships. She also highlighted her experience creating relationships with brands as an Olympian and what college athletes should be paying attention to as they embark down their own journey to build a following and create a brand.
"Build relationships with people that can help you. Reach out and build yourself a team of experts. If you don't know it, don't go out there and fake it 'til you make it. Rely on those experts and allow them to lead and guide you where you need to go."
Here's our full interview with Chaunte' Lowe:
Why did you decide to become a public speaker and author?
After going through my experience with breast cancer, I realized there were a lot of tangible skills that I could draw from my athletic experience to help me cope with the treatment, through the uncertainty that comes with being diagnosed with a disease. And then, once the pandemic hit, I realized that people were experiencing a lot of the physical and emotional traumas that I felt like I went through throughout my diagnosis. I realized that those tangible skills and the way I learned how to apply them to apply them would also be helpful to others that were going through the pandemic.
At first, I started volunteering, speaking to organizations and just inspiring them and giving them hope. Once word started spreading, I became very busy very quickly, through a lot of Fortune 500 companies as well as charities. As I began sharing my story, I started feeling a tremendous amount of hope throughout that process. That hope started giving me fuel to be able to push through my challenges, while also helping people push through theirs.
When it comes to how I became an author, it actually stemmed out of me sharing my story to a group where there happened to be a book president of a large book publisher. They had me pitch my life story to help young children. So throughout the pandemic, I wrote the story, and now the book will be released for sale on March 6 of 2023, so I'm very excited to be able to share those experiences. I've always felt like my story does not belong to me alone, but to anybody that could draw strength or wisdom or courage from it.
What has being an athlete taught you about the work you are doing now?
When you're an athlete, you have to learn how to overcome failures. You have to find dignity in your triumphs. You have to learn how to manage your schedule and your time, to prioritize what's important. But then there's also a sense of achievement, you have to set goals and find ways to positively turn failures into lessons.
So, when it came to me starting a business and being an entrepreneur, you go through all of those scenarios that I just mentioned, in a real time, real life fashion. Being an athlete helped me cope with rejections, helped me find a process of trial and error, helped me figure out what's important and how to apply those skills to my business. Now, I would consider my business to be thriving, and I want to do the most good in this world that I possibly can with the gifts that I've been given. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to work in my passion.
What is the most important thing you did for yourself to start planning for life outside of sports?
The most important thing that I did for myself is to begin thinking about what makes me tick. What are my passions? I know that when I was competing, I loved winning. I loved learning from losing. I loved setting goals and accomplishing them. And I loved just the the aspect of being able to perform in front of a large group of people. But one of the things that wasn't being nourished when I was actually competing was being able to help other people. That's always been something that I've had separate from my athletic journey.
Now, being a speaker, I'm able to put the two together. I'm able to perform on stage I'm able to tell my story, and I'm able to talk have fun, but I'm also able to help people with some of their most pressing issues. I'm able to find ways to be entertaining, engaging and exciting, but also to inspire people, to give them hope and to teach them lessons I've learned throughout my life that they could apply to their own.
One of the most important things that helped me prepare for that transition is knowing myself. It was important that I know what I like, give myself permission to try different things, and also give myself permission to bow out of things if I didn't feel like they were a good fit. I've tried being an accountant and I went to the financial service industry, which I still love, but I love being on the stage so much more. I did customer service, I worked at an airport handling bags. I've done a lot, but being able to connect with people has been my greatest gift to myself and to the world. Finding a career where I am able to do that is just awesome.
When and how did you decide you were ready to make the transition out of sports?
It is a hard question to know if you're absolutely ready to transition out of sport. I saw a lot of people that would retire and then unretire, then retire and unretire again. I never wanted to be that - when I decided to retire for good, I wanted it to be permanent. I didn't want to constantly be coming back and making my friends, family and fans go through whiplash.
So for me, this moment happened when I was able to watch the competition and realize I did not long to be there, I didn't long to compete. I was so happy and filled with excitement for the other women that were competing. I lost my competitive edge and I cared more about the outcome of how other people competed versus being there myself. That's when I knew that it was time to move on.
It also helped that I had something lined up - I had already launched my speaking career and I had already written the book. I knew that I had to build another passion that I felt more deeply for than I did actually competing. I also recognized that I never have to stop being an athlete, which helped me because it didn't take away a large part of my identity. I'm going to be an athlete for the rest of my life. I just might not do it on a professional competitive field, but it's a part of me and I never have to let that go. This is what helped me know that it was time to transition and know that the transition would be okay.
What advice do you have for athletes around moving on from sports to their next chapter?
The biggest bit of advice that I can give is to try things on, try on different careers, try on different skill sets. Try different types of people in different groups. A lot of athletes try to commit wholeheartedly very quickly. If we're an athlete at any type of elite level, we don't think in days, weeks, months - we think in years, decades. So when we commit to something, we believe that we're stuck. The one thing about sports is that, for most of us, we're doing something that we love.
If you commit wholeheartedly and deeply to something that you are not passionate about, that you are unhappy about and feel unfulfilled with, and you lock yourself in because of the word "commitment", you could be locking yourself in to a life of unhappiness. Nobody wants that. So the biggest piece of advice that I would give is try things on. Try on career steps, try on industries, try on managers. Do this until you find that right fit - then you can wholeheartedly commit to it.
Thank you Chaunte' for the incredible example you set for all athletes around using your platform for good and sharing your journey. We are proud to recognize you as our October Athlete of the Month.
Visit Chaunte's website here to learn more and book her for your next event today!