Gabby Douglas has three gold medals. She is the first African American female gymnast in Olympic history to become the Individual All-Around Champion. Her nickname is The Flying Squirrel. Enough said.
If you are looking for someone who could teach you a thing or two, about many things, Gabby has got it covered. That’s why we jumped at the chance to interview the champion (aka ask her advice) when she was at Staples announcing her partnership with the Post-it Brand in honor of back-to-school season.
Guys, Gabby Douglas is so cool, it hurts.
HelloGiggles (HG): Some people write down their goals, others visualize them coming true. I’m wondering, how do you set your goals?
Gabby Douglas (GD): I do both. I write down my goals on Post-it Notes. I write them down. I put them on my Goal Board, and I just visualize myself achieving that goal and believing that I can achieve it, and following through.
HG: What is a current goal that you have and how do you plan to achieve it?
GD: A current goal that I have right now…I have so many goals! Since I’m not currently training at the moment, I’m just expanding my mind and my perspective, and just trying out different hobbies, and enjoying this time with family and friends. I’m currently taking acting classes…and I now want to move into that space. I’m super excited!
HG: Do you have any mental or emotional goals? Any advice that you want to start following?
GD: I do! I would have to say that when I see a negative comment online, [I’m learning] to not respond…I had a really bad, not-so-pleasant experience in Rio. I’m really on focused on when I see a negative comment or when I see something I don’t like, just to let it go and take the high road…It’s definitely not easy, but you can achieve it. Anything you set your mind to. And I know we all get those urges to go off on that person and have the best comeback, but it’s not worth it.
HG: What is the achievement that has meant the most to you, personally?
GD: I would have to say there’s two achievements. One, was a really bad one when I fell seven times, and that was in 2011 at the Nationals on TV. That year, I was like, “Okay! I’m done! I don’t want to try out for World! I think I’m just going to quit!” Then, I remember my coaches were saying, “No, you can do it! Believe in yourself!” Then, I made the World team. I was an alternate and two people got hurt, so then I was actually put on the World team, and that helped USA win a team medal. That was a team Gold. That was really a startup moment for me because I was like, “Wow! I really can do this, contribute to USA in some way.”
Another one was in 2012 at the AT&T American Cup. Again, I was an alternate, but I actually won the meet, but my scores didn’t count because I was an alternate.
HG: What would your advice be to those who set out to achieve a certain goal, but fail the first time around?
GD: Well, if you fail, maybe try a different time. Or do something new, do something else. I mean, you see a lot of high-class athletes and professional athletes. Sometimes we win battles; sometimes we lose battles.
But first step, I would have to say, write down your goals. If you don’t have a Goal Board, I would suggest you get one because they’re really helpful. My mom helped me with mine when I was about seven, and it really helped me in my career because I would look at it and I would just focus and hone in and just picture myself being at that competition, winning, or even making it to that competition. Definitely write down your goals.
HG: Since back-to-school time is coming up, what would your general advice be to students who are preparing to go back?
GD: Start fresh. Start new. Anything that you struggled with, just start over. Don’t get overwhelmed or frustrated with studies. Sports and academics, just always take one thing at a time. Don’t be too anxious about something.