What agents can learn from Olympian Jana Pittman

Olympian Jana Pittman spoke at Connect 2022 about how her failures have helped shape who she is today.

The Announcement:

World champion athlete Jana Pittman has experienced plenty of highs and lows in her life and she shared that amazing story with 3,000 attendees at Ray White’s Connect conference. 

She’s an Australian hero, well-known for her impressive athletics career but Dr Pittman, now a medical practitioner as well as 2021 Sports Hall of Fame inductee, has been on a roller coaster ride of triumph, defeat, failure and success. Her journey has helped shape her career and built her into who she is today – a doctor, mother, sportswoman and even a TV star on Channel 7’s SAS. 

This inspirational woman has pushed every physical, emotional and mental boundary life has thrown at her – and has thrived and excelled in every aspect of her life. She is at the cutting edge of science, having completed a Masters in Reproductive Health at UNSW after graduating from Western Sydney University with a Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery in her life outside of top-tier sports competition.

The theme of Dr Pittman’s speech was to inspire conversation on how to get over the hurdles in life.

“I’m here today to talk not about my success but about my failures,” she said.

“I want to flip the idea of failure on its head a little bit here because I 100 per cent believe had I not wanted that Olympic gold medal, had I not been through miscarriages, had I not been through the ups and downs of the media, I wouldn’t be this strong, powerful woman who’s able to voice her opinion. 

“I genuinely believe had I not gone through the ups and down, I wouldn’t have had the courage to learn who I was and stand on my own two feet and share that really very personal, very private, very embarrassing component of myself.” 

Dr Pittman said her goal was to hopefully inspire the crowd to be more honest with themselves about what they were going through.

“If I had been a superhero that came out of the Athens Olympic Games winning that gold medal, I wouldn’t have gotten any press and I wouldn’t have had the voice I’ve got now,” she said. 

“I probably would have never re-sat that medical exam that I failed the first time and never gotten into medical school. 

“But I was a champion athlete. Why would I do anything else when I can sit on that, I can ride on that for the rest of my life?

“But every day now I get to go and work with women who are going through miscarriage or infertility.

“The career and the life I have now is all because the greatest goals I had in life failed, not because they were successful.”

She highlighted star athlete and Australian icon Cathy Freeman and obstetrician and gynaecologist Catherine Hamlin as her mentors.

“There’s going to be plenty of people in this room who don’t fully believe in their own goals so the thing I asked you to think about is how you’re going to achieve it?” she said.

“The number one way to succeed with your goal is to believe that you can do it and the best way to believe you can do it is to find proof through a mentor.

“In this room, there’ll be so many incredible mentors and if you’re younger and you’re coming up in your career or you’ve just started out, I encourage you today to reach out to that person and make that person your mentor and find that proof because you have them with you. 

“Everyday, I wake up with Cathy Freeman on one shoulder and Catherine Hamlin on the other. You’re not alone. You have to walk  it with  someone else.”

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