Stephanie Dixon May Be Retired, But She’s Still In The Game

Former competitive swimmer and Canadian Olympian Stephanie Dixon may be out of the limelight, but she hasn’t slowed down.

Stephanie Dixon swimmer

Failure is a great way to learn about yourself

Stephanie Dixon came to the point in her life that she stopped doing what she loved – swim competitively. So, she retired. While we all reach that “now what?” point in our lives, it can be particularly tough for an athlete who has lived their lives in the public eye and were so committed to their sport with training all day, every day. (This is how you can set goals like an athlete.)

For Dixon though, it was time to move behind the spotlight. “I wasn’t sure if I could ever find something that would make me feel as passionate as I did when I was representing Canada on the international stage,” says Dixon, who is a six-time gold medalist at the Paralympic Games.

“After retiring from swimming, I still had a lot of passion for sport and living a healthy lifestyle,” she tells us. She now is the owner of Stephanie Dixon Motivational Coaching.

“I wanted to share my knowledge and passion with as many others as possible. Having my own business allows me to be flexible and stay involved in a variety of projects and clients.”

One of those partners is Canadian Tire and its Jumpstart Charities, a program that helps give disadvantaged kids in Canada access to sports and sporting equipment that they might not be able to afford.  And it supports kids with disabilities, an effort close to Dixon’s heart.

Dixon’s #BHmoment is owning her own coaching company. It’s just one year young. But she is as proud of this as any of her past successes, including holding the world record in the 200-metre backstroke in her class.

Why her company is her #BHmoment

“I have my own coaching business, which I’ve grown over the last year to a place where I am participating in projects I am passionate about while working with clients of various ability levels on living more healthy, active lifestyles and moving closer towards their goals,” she says. “I also had the experience of training under some of the best coaches at the best training programs in the world.” She felt confident in being able to share her knowledge.

Failure isn’t an option – it’s a necessity

“Failure if the fastest way to grow,” says Dixon. “It’s not only okay to fail or fall, it’s imperative if we want to know what we are capable of. Being willing to fail can be one of our greatest assets if we have our own backs and help ourselves back up when we do.” (This is the trick to facing your fears, according to science.)

The difference between being the athlete and being the coach

“While I might not be winning gold medals anymore, I have never felt more successful in my life as I help my clients find their own gold medal moments.”

How she went built up her company

It began in the fall of 2016, says Dixon. “I reached out to people who had their own businesses, my financial advisor, friends and family to get input, advice and encouragement. I reached out to various organizations that I wanted to work with and started to put out the word that I would be accepting clients. Things grew from there.”

She created a team she calls her “informal board of directors” and met with them regularly. “It has been a lot of trial and error over the past year but I have learned so much.”

What she would do differently

“I learned so much about business in the last year – some things that hard way,” says Dixon. “I took psychology in university. Looking back, I wish I had taken some business administration or economics courses on the side. I never thought I had the skill set or the personality to be an entrepreneur but I have learned that anyone can be an entrepreneur, whether full-time or as a side gig. If I could do it over, I would believe in myself sooner and not place any limitations on what I could imagine doing in my life.”

Why we all need a “board of directors,” even if we aren’t business owners

“Surround yourself with people who believe in you fiercely,” she says. “We all doubt ourselves sometimes or have a skewed perception of ourselves or what we are capable of. We need to have people around us that see more in us than we see in ourselves and to help keep us on track when we lose our way.”

Not passionate about your job? Here is your five year plan for not going broke.