My story

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Hi, I’m Nikola, and I’m dedicated to helping forward-thinking professionals define and achieve their personal concept of success.

As a coach, I teach my clients how to own their podiums by helping them uncover strengths they didn’t know they had and creating strategies to help them achieve their goals. I empower and motivate my clients by giving them the tools required to contemplate and make executive decisions, guiding them to take action towards the achievement of their professional and personal goals.

What makes me unique in the executive coaching world is that I am a former professional athlete, and among very few who have achieved a top 10 in the World across 3 different sports disciplines. Throughout my 15-year career, I’ve relied on determination, creativeness, and entrepreneurial prowess to manage my Olympic campaign, raising more than $1.8M in funds in the process.

I may have had full creative control of my Olympic career and been passionate about what I was doing, but it was a long and lonely road to the top. I spent a lot of time in my own head, strategizing and planning my next move, and I struggled to find people in my life who could relate to the special brand of isolation that came with being an Olympic athlete. Because of my experience, I deeply empathize with people who put their hearts and backbones into achieving their goals. I know the toll it takes on ones physical, mental, and spiritual health, particularly if there is no support system or strategies in place to help create a healthy work/life balance.  

Being at the top of my field came with its share of difficulties, but retiring from the world of competitive sports was equally as challenging. While being an Olympian was somewhat unique, my feelings surrounding what some refer to as “post-Olympic depression” were anything but. I felt depressed, afraid and overwhelmed. I felt the loss of my identity and purpose, and with it, a loss of motivation. To go from a celebrated Olympic athlete to what felt like nothing at the time was devastating, Equally as devastating was how ashamed I felt over my feelings: “I shouldn’t be upset, look at the career I’ve had, I should be proud, not sad!” But still, there was no denying how much I was struggling with the transition.

With my feelings of trepidation full intact, I relied on the memory of my father who passed away suddenly and tragically when I was just 19 years old to boost me outside of my state of self-doubt. At the time he was just about to retire and was incredibly excited to begin doing some of the things he had always dreamed of doing but had put off until later when he thought he would have more time. Unfortunately, a late-stage cancer diagnosis left him with only a few months to live, and during the heartbreaking process of his passing, he shared some words with me that have never left my side, and helped fuel me with motivation whenever I experience the inevitable uncertainty and self-doubt that comes with transitions:

~ Live your dreams now because you never know when it will be too late. ~

I have experience with both the successes and failures of being an Olympian and everything in between. But more than that I have experience being a human who is driven to genuinely help people seek more from their lives, by drawing on my unique combination of experiences and expertise. Through my company, Own Your Podium, I am grateful to be able to encourage and inspire my clients to take the first step towards achieving their goals. 

Thank you for visiting and learning a bit about me, and please contact me if you have questions or want to set up a call to discuss working together. I’d love to hear from you. 

Dare to Dream, Achieve, and Succeed with me. 

Nikola Girke