Manage the Moment: Conversations in Performance Psychology

Shannon Miller - Olympic History Maker and Cancer Survivor

April 26, 2020 Shannon Miller Episode 14
Manage the Moment: Conversations in Performance Psychology
Shannon Miller - Olympic History Maker and Cancer Survivor
Chapters
Manage the Moment: Conversations in Performance Psychology
Shannon Miller - Olympic History Maker and Cancer Survivor
Apr 26, 2020 Episode 14
Shannon Miller

Shannon Miller knows what it's like to face uncontrollable factors that sideline even the greatest of champions. A seven time Olympic medalist, she is a member of eight Halls of Fame, and she's the only female athlete to have ever been inducted to the Olympic Hall of Fame - Twice! Her tally of five gold medals at the Barcelona Olympic Games was the most medals won by a U. S. Athlete in any sport at that games. And as far as Olympic medals go, she is the most decorated Olympic gymnast, male or female, in U. S. History. Shannon and I spoke about the mindset that she developed on her way to becoming an Olympic champion, and that she later turned to and relied on while navigating life's challenges off the mat - in the form of injury, early retirement and later, a life threatening cancer diagnosis. Shannon's goal is to bring inspiration to those who are struggling, as well as those who could improve their lives through a gold medal mindset.

Learn more about Shannon at ShannonMiller.com

Shannon's Book here: ShannonMiller.com/shop

Follow Shannon on Facebook

Follow Shannon on Instagram

Follow Shannon on Twitter

Follow Dr. Shepphird on Twitter @drshepp   

Follow on Instagram @drshepp

Learn more about Dr. Shepp  at SportandPerform.com

Podcast transcripts at: ManageTheMoment.net

#ManageTheMoment YouTube Channel

Music by Brad Buxer

Source for "I Get Knocked Down"

Source for "Unwritten"

Show Notes Transcript

Shannon Miller knows what it's like to face uncontrollable factors that sideline even the greatest of champions. A seven time Olympic medalist, she is a member of eight Halls of Fame, and she's the only female athlete to have ever been inducted to the Olympic Hall of Fame - Twice! Her tally of five gold medals at the Barcelona Olympic Games was the most medals won by a U. S. Athlete in any sport at that games. And as far as Olympic medals go, she is the most decorated Olympic gymnast, male or female, in U. S. History. Shannon and I spoke about the mindset that she developed on her way to becoming an Olympic champion, and that she later turned to and relied on while navigating life's challenges off the mat - in the form of injury, early retirement and later, a life threatening cancer diagnosis. Shannon's goal is to bring inspiration to those who are struggling, as well as those who could improve their lives through a gold medal mindset.

Learn more about Shannon at ShannonMiller.com

Shannon's Book here: ShannonMiller.com/shop

Follow Shannon on Facebook

Follow Shannon on Instagram

Follow Shannon on Twitter

Follow Dr. Shepphird on Twitter @drshepp   

Follow on Instagram @drshepp

Learn more about Dr. Shepp  at SportandPerform.com

Podcast transcripts at: ManageTheMoment.net

#ManageTheMoment YouTube Channel

Music by Brad Buxer

Source for "I Get Knocked Down"

Source for "Unwritten"

Dr. Shepp:   0:07
Thanks for tuning in to manage the moment conversations in performance psychology. I'm Dr. Sari Shepphird 

Shannon Miller:   0:16
For me,  I think with that injury and I think with the other injury, I'll talk about a second. It was all about forward motion, and I think that's another thing that sometimes I do to a fault. I think the forward motion for me is so important, not getting to weigh down by things that control - things that I you can't control.  

Dr. Shepp:   0:38
Right about now, both in world history and in our own lives, we know what it's like to be sidelined out of the action and for that to be the case due to uncontrollable factors, namely the COVID-19 pandemic. We're  all navigating the situation as best we can with the tools that we have. Shannon Miller knows what it's like to face uncontrollable factors that sideline even the greatest of champions. A seven time Olympic medalist, she is a member of eight Halls of Fame, and she's the only female athlete to have ever been inducted to the Olympic Hall of Fame - Twice! Her tally of five gold medals at the Barcelona Olympic Games was the most medals won by a U. S. Athlete in any sport at that games. And as far as Olympic medals go, she is the most decorated Olympic gymnast, male or female, in U. S. History. Shannon and I spoke about the mindset that she developed on her way to becoming an Olympic champion, and that she later turned to and relied on while navigating life's challenges off the mat - in the form of injury, early retirement, and later, a life threatening cancer diagnosis. Shannon's goal is to bring inspiration to those who are struggling, as well as those who could improve their lives through a gold medal mindset. I hope that you will be inspired and enjoy listening to my conversation with Shannon Miller.  

Dr. Shepp:   1:57
Hi, Shannon. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today.

Shannon Miller:   2:00
Absolutely thanks for having me on

Dr. Shepp:   2:03
Oh, it's my pleasure. So you were part really of Olympic legend, as as one of the magnificent seven, the first U. S. Gymnastics teams to defeat the Russians and win the overall event? So it's it's, um, something that you're familiar with to to experience that kind of pressure. Can you tell us a little bit about what you remember from your career as an Olympian and, um, and just being able to withstand that kind of expectation and pressure.

Shannon Miller:   2:29
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think everyone, um, has you different amounts of pressures and and different ways that we handle that pressure as well. So just kind of talking about me and from my perspective, um, I always tended to put more pressure on myself that anything else, it was this this inner drive to want to do well but also knowing that it's not just me out there competing. Um, I'm out there competing, wearing a red, white and blue uniforms. I'm come competing and representing my country and my coaches and my parents in my community. And, you know, sometimes when you think of it that way, it can be overwhelming. But what I really tried to do was take that. And instead of creating this overwhelming pressure, think of it as all of those people also supporting me along the way. And they were my They were also my team members, and so I tried to think about it in positive terms. But, you know, I seen growing up in the sport you get used to being under pressure in different ways, shapes and form, because you're on a balance beam that's four inches wide. So there's pressure, too uh not hurt yourself or not fall off and you can't think of it in those negative terms. You have to think about it in more of a positive way. At least I tried to, and so as I grew up, I went into my first Olympics in Barcelona. I was just 15 years old. Andi at the time, I think, probably for me. Yes, I felt pressure and, um, again, mostly that inter pressure cause I wanted to do well, A trained really hard. I wanted to do well, but at the same time, really not understanding the complexity and and how many people were watching. There was no social media at the time. I mean, it really wasn't Internet at the time, so So for me, I wasn't getting that automatic reaction of people right then and there it was a little bit farther out, so you could kind of, um, put yourself in this bubble and think of it as OK. It's just another competition. Same four events just stay focused on that It was a little bit easier, I think to do. And at the time we hadn't really one much of anything as a team, so to go in to a new Olympics where our bronze medal win in 1992 was as good as gold. I mean,

Shannon Miller:   4:58
it was incredible. We were on the podium. I mean, that was amazing. We broke into the top four, that stronghold, um, that these countries had had on on Olympic gymnastics. Certainly the women's, um, area. So that was incredible. And then four years later, to kind of use that mo mentum going in And I think competing on home soil, um, having that expectation of the team gold medal again, you can let it overwhelm, or you can turn it into a positive of Wow, I get to compete on home soil. I get all of the support sitting right here in this arena with me as I move along. And they think my parents also helped shape that, um, expectation for me along the way throughout the many, many years of us in gymnastics, because I knew at the end of the day, you know, we used to see those T shirts. You know, sport his life. Gymnastics is life. Well, it's not life right to not sexist gymnastics and life is life. And my parents were very clear that there was a line there where, yes, we want your schoolwork done first and then Then you could go to the gym, and that's great. And we expect you toe train hard and try your best. But winner, lose it. It's going to be fine. Don't you know? Don't get too wrapped up in the wins and losses because you will fail, you will fall, and it matters more how you get back up on whether you get back up and keep going. So that's kind of a little bit of rambling, but all just to kind of say, I think the pressure can be what you make of it. It's never easy, and it's easier said than done to just kind of said to decide or turn it into a positive that takes and took me years of, of trying to figure out how to handle that. But when I realized, you know, I was in control of how much pressure I allowed to be placed on me that was really helpful in in kind of maintaining the right amount of pressure

Dr. Shepp:   6:59
that makes sense. So you found a way to focus on the things you could control. Yeah, because certainly you can't control the pressure being put on you from the outside, whether that's from the media or from other team members or coaches or, um, competitors. But you learned how to control it with from within you, and that's what made the difference.

Shannon Miller:   7:20
E think it did. I think that made the difference, but not just within me, but those around me, my coach. The last thing he would say to me as I stepped onto the competition floor, it was never Let's go out there and win a medal or you've got this. You can win. Are you have to do that? There was nothing like that. The last thing he would say to me it every competition bigger, small, right before I walked onto the floor was you've worked hard. Let's go have some fun and it would just take the pressure away. Yes, I've worked hard and in one thing that my mom told me, um, I won't tell the whole story, but basically kind of. I was having a little bit of a rough go in 1996. The team competition was fabulous, you know, here what gold medal had a great eight of Ben's? That was wonderful going into the all around. I was having a great competition than I stepped out of bounds on Lawrence's eyes, which is to this day still just a just a little bit are breaking buds up, you know, not that I ever think about it, but it Woz. And then I went into a vault and I missed evolved, which I just really had never missed in training. It wasn't that difficult of a vault for me, and and I spoke to my mom that night and just kind of vented to her and talked about how you got. Here are these issues that are coming up that I never expected. And now I am feeling the pressure. What if I say it? What if I fall? What if I What if I let everybody down and she stopped me at that moment and she just asked one question. Have you done the work? And I said, Of course, I mean, I always do the work. That's that's my thing. Be the hardest worker in the room, but I might not be the talent, the most talented, the most how are full of flexible. But I will outwork anyone. And and she said, I know, and that's why I also know that you can walk into that arena Head held high confidence in the fact that you have done everything you could possibly do up to that moment. Now, whatever happens after that's gonna happen. But what you know is you've done the work. You've done everything you could do, and that's what you have to remember. And I think that really helps me as well, knowing that it's not the day of the competition that matters quite a smudge as all of the things you do leading up to the competition, um, the hours of of work, the extra sit ups and the stuff routines and all of these things that you work on every single day. That momentum adds up, and so you can build your confidence and release some of that pressure by knowing that you have done the work and whether that's an Olympic routine or a presentation at work. Or maybe you know, your midterm exams at school, whatever that is. If if you've done the work, you don't have to be is worried. You don't have to feel as much pressure going into these big events.

Dr. Shepp:   10:21
Yeah, there's really no substitute for preparation. And it sounds like that's where you got a lot of your confidence from

Shannon Miller:   10:27
it really is. It's is one of the things that it was kind of twofold for me from the outside, it was thes confidence is built through the work you do each and every day. And then I also I was very, very shy growing up and may be lacking in some confidence. I always I admired those athletes that would go out with such confidence. It was incredible. And at one point in my career, they're young and I thought, Well, I'm just gonna I'm just gonna pretend to have confidence. I'm gonna hold my chin up and I'm gonna have my shoulders back and I'm gonna walk onto that floor like like it's part of the routine. That part of the choreography was was being confident, and I think after you do that over and over and over again, you actually realize you've become confident.

Dr. Shepp:   11:11
It's one thing to be an underdog. It's another thing to be t have the expectations of the country behind you to to win again, whether it's another bronze medal or even coming from a bronze medal to a gold, as you did in in 96 with the team. And so what's that, like the difference between coming in without that great sense of expectation versus coming in with the additional pressure of of, um, the success that you've had in the past?

Shannon Miller:   11:41
I would always prefer to be the underdog. Probably

Dr. Shepp:   11:46
through most of my career, I was the

Shannon Miller:   11:47
ultimate underdog for one reason or another. Maybe it was coming back from an injury. Or maybe it was just not being the best in the field, whatever. Whatever that waas I I feel like I always was better when I was the underdog, when I was striving for more when I was having to climb to claw my way back. Being on top is very difficult. It's difficult to stay on top. You have to fight that, um, feeling of rest and resting on your laurels, so to speak. Um, taking a break or just feeling like, Okay, I've I've done enough. What What else really is there? You can lose sight of your goals. You can, um, kind of get off track. You lose focus. And that's why I think it's so incredible. Someone like Simone Biles, who is not only great, but she is so are, um, above everyone in the field with with difficulty and scores. And it's just so far had more than we've ever seen. I think in the sport, at least that I've seen that it would be so easy for her to again take a break or lose focus, and she doesn't and I think that's really incredible. It

Dr. Shepp:   13:00
is incredible, and just being able to push yourself to try things that are more difficult than anyone has done in the past is a feat unto itself. And I know that was true of your Olympic career and and your gymnastics career. You were known for not only a precision in style but also for the level of difficulty that that you would attempt. And the thing you love about Shannon Miller is she does not hold back from start to finish. Watch the mountain should do a front flip onto the beam. She prides herself difficulty level that she has. Gymnasts often have great aspirations with their mind, but their bodies don't always want to participate. You know, you might be you like,

Shannon Miller:   13:49
uh,

Dr. Shepp:   13:49
yeah, you might be thinking of acquiring a new skill, but there's always the disparity between what you'd like to dio and then the just the fear that any human being would experience. When you put yourself at such a great risk with some of the difficult skills, how did you manage the realistic fears that would would potentially come over you?

Shannon Miller:   14:13
The mental aspect is enormous. You can be incredibly talented, and I watched incredibly talented athletes so much more talented than I ever was, come through our gym. But to go from training a skill every day and never missing a routine and work out to a competition setting, it just wasn't there that they couldn't kind of bridge that gap. And so I think it's just something that's really important to remember. The mental aspect is so important, and for me, I guess the way that I handled the fear that came along with it is I think first off when you're young, you you just have less feel There's less thought of what's going to happen next. Add a twist out of flip That sounds like fun. Let's go. Let's, uh, so there is a little bit of that. Ignorance is bliss. Um, I do think there I mean, I had a fairly long career. So then I did have those points where it was getting to skills and in getting older and realizing that, you know, there's a repercussion for, you know, landing wrong in this area. So for me, getting over that fear was making sure that I was being a safe is possible, but also understanding that at some point I needed to challenge myself. And it's a fine line because, especially in a sport like gymnastics, when you are twisting and flipping and often you know, a split second means the difference between lady on your feet are landing on your head, it's it is incredibly important that you take a realistic view of what's going on around you and what you're being asked to Dio. And so I think, for me understanding that my coaches were there for safety on, they were not going Teoh. I felt comfortable with them knowing that they would stop me if I wasn't really ready for a skill. They were gonna tell me they were not gonna hold back and just let me try something. Um, they they had stopped me before, so it's kind of one of those things. Hey, we're not ready to go on the beam for this yet. Let's do some more on the floor and it was okay, that sounds good. But it's also that opportunity to go into a fluffy foam pit onto soft cash pads doing it multiple multiple times. I think often when people see a competition and they see these big skills, they don't always see the thousands of repetitions that go into the foam pit that go in with a spot that go in with a really soft Matt. Um, all of the different levels that it takes actually learned some of those difficult skills. They don't just happen overnight. Many of them are years in the making. So after you've trained it 1000 times, the fear starts to go away. And you really think about the mechanics of the actual skill.

Dr. Shepp:   17:00
Yeah, did you have things that you would say to yourself before your floor routine. Before you did your forward somersault onto the beam to take to mount the beam. Did you have things that you would say to yourself to narrow your attention and just focus on executing that skill?

Shannon Miller:   17:16
I would typically keep three corrections in my mind, and I would focus only on those three corrections, sometimes only to no more than three. And for me that worked. It kept my mind occupied enough on exactly what I needed to be focused on without overloading it with too many things to think about. And I did the same in practice as I would do in competition. I felt like you are supposed to practice like you, compete, compete like you, practice, keep everything as similar as possible. You don't want a lot of wavering, a lot of difference between competition in practice, and I think the other thing that I learned, especially on balance being, because that's when you really need that solid focus on balance beam. I would only think of the next skill, so I wasn't thinking about the dismount when I was doing the Mount. I wasn't thinking about a really tough skill at the end of the routine when I was still in the easy skill at the beginning of the routine. That's when you get into trouble. That's when you have a wobble on. Um, you know, silly dance move instead of on a really big skill, and you see that often in fact, we would watch tape of great athletes and they would wobble on a full turn or wobble on a dance step. And but then they would be solid as a rock on all of their big skills, and my coach would talk to me about Okay, well, where do you think the focus waas? The focus was on the big, But then there was a lack of focus. You still have to be focused on on the minutia on the little stuff on again. That's kind of one of those great lessons learned her life week. We have to focus not just on the big stuff that's coming up, but on the little stuff that happened along the way is oftentimes that's where we get off step.

Dr. Shepp:   19:02
The focus is required all the more when you're on the biggest stage I know you're familiar with the biggest stages, but as time went on and your level of skill increased and you went to nationals and worlds and the Olympics, the stage increased, too. And so did it. Take an extra amount of effort to narrow your focus when the stage got bigger?

Shannon Miller:   19:26
It's a really good question, I e. I guess in some ways I would say yes, because it does more. Take more focus when you intern Olympic Games when he walked into the arena and there are 40,000 people screaming and you've never heard anything that loud and there's flashbulbs going off and in the audience cheering. Um, you know, that does kind of draw your attention. It has. But I think over the years that it took that the 10 years it took from from basically starting to Mass six to, um, the Olympic Games by first Olympic Games and then another four years to my second. You compete in so many competitions and you train yourself under so many circumstances that you build up that that tolerance and that focus over time so that it doesn't matter what situation know about how big or how small. You can kind of immediately draw yourself back, um, and maintain that focus on the four events that you have to do. And that's what I would always kind of repeat myself and remind myself is it's the same routines on the same four vents Being didn't get any skinnier and the floor didn't change. The size is the same. It's just whether or not you go in and do the same routine that you've practiced 1000 times, and it's difficult to focus on that. But it's something that you're trained to do overtime. We hear a lot about blocking out the crowd and in blocking out the things going on around you, and that's really important. And you learn to have that tunnel vision and you would see me on the sidelines. I was never watching the scoreboard. I was never I only know where it was during certain competitions because I I know because I've looked at video where I never knew during the actual competition. I didn't know that I was actually in first place after the second event of the Olympic Games meal. I had no idea, but it's important for me. It was important for me to be focused, even on the sidelines. So I was not kind of upped, cheering for everyone, and my teammates knew I was there for them. But the best thing I could do for them was to get the highest score I could possibly get. And in order to do that, I had to stay focused. So you would see me on the sidelines, not watching others not watching the leaderboard, but just doing going to my routines on the sidelines. And I would basically do that the entire competition and focus. But the other part of that is to be able to draw the audience in when you need it. For example, For me, the last tumbling pass on my floor exercise routine, it was always tough. I mean, you get to that last pass and it was not a walk in the park for me. It was all I could do on my jello legs and breathing hard at ever air of just to get enough of to get that that, um, that tell me pass around. And so at the end of the routine, I always a let kind of. It was almost like opening your ears. It's it was allowing the audience in and it didn't matter frankly, who they were cheering for. They could have been cheered for someone who just landed. Great Beamer Dean. But I would envision that those cheers for me and it would give me that extra push, that extra energy that I needed in order to get through that last time like that. So being able to also turn it on and turn it off, I think, is incredibly important as an athlete.

Dr. Shepp:   22:57
Well, I'm really hearing that you owned your own mental process and and didn't change that, even if it was different from from one of your teammates way of approaching the sport mentally because you didn't feel the pressure. At least it didn't overwhelm you to get up in cheer for your team. You really were able Teoh kind of narrow your attention, and then they keep it focused where you wanted it to be, and we do have the power to put our minds where we want it to be, and and to be able to tell ourselves things that kind of help us interpret situations that were in on it sounds like you really developed those skills Over time,

Shannon Miller:   23:35
it became such an asset on the gymnastics, that mental strength, that often between my work ethic and the mental aspect, those were kind of haute able to overpower maybe some of the areas that I was lacking but that I wasn't as great at while I worked on those. And while those kind of got a little bit more up to speed, But I was able to kind of get through with some of those other ass is

Dr. Shepp:   24:01
well, you overcame your fear of public speaking because you you have a career where you do a lot of it. So I imagine it's the same determination that you applied. Applied to that It is, you know, it

Shannon Miller:   24:14
was funny. I am. I lost some of that confidence I had gained through sport when I retired after the 1996 Olympics, and I remember one day just realizing how inward I had become. And I'm an introvert by nature. And so for me, it was a challenge. It really was. Okay, this is my goal. I am going to be less shy. I'm going to start talking to people, and I'm just going to stop being scared of that, and I really turned to sport. I really went back to some of those lessons learned for gymnastics in order to challenge myself. And I started, I'd always turned down every speaking engagement, um, even charity golf tournaments, the idea of thing for four hours with strangers and making small talk. And he was just terrifying for me on. So I started saying yes to these things, and what I've found was, I just really enjoyed asking questions. I enjoyed learning about people. I enjoy talking with people, and I'm always, um, I love learning. And so, for me, instead of learning through books, which is what I'd always done, I was learning through meeting people, and I found that I really loved that. And when I turned his, um, commentary and analysis and talking about gymnastics, talking about something in loved and now having the opportunity to talk about, you know what I consider the gold medal mindset that will hopefully help. People talking about cancer were in a social things that I am so passionate about, and I think when you're talking about something you're passionate about, it's different. Then when you're just talking about yourself. And so I kind of made that mental switch and, um and really haven't turned back. I mean, I just I really enjoy everything that I get to do now.

Dr. Shepp:   25:59
Oh, that's fantastic. I'm glad to hear it. I know that it must have been a challenge for you when you were at the ripe age of 19 to think about retiring from sport. But it really was all you had known because you began your career, and just in gymnastics, when you were five years old,

Shannon Miller:   26:15
That's right. I did. So it was, for the most part, the only sport I knew. Um, but probably not the only thing I knew. My parents. As I said, they were very focused on education. My dad is a physics professor. Um, my mother, she worked full time to, and so they both kind of went through with with the three of us. My sister, my brother, myself of this understanding that education comes first. Yes, you're going to do these sports and yes, Shannon, that that's great. Your training for the Olympics? Awesome. But anything can have been, you know, whether it's an injury, whether you just don't want to do any more or the end of a career. At some point you're gonna retire. You know whether whether it's 16 1940 whatever that is, you're going to retire. And what are you going to do next? And they really did, Um, it wasn't forced. It was a very natural conversation. But it was always a conversation about, you know, making sure that you have something else to look forward to, some other goals outside of just amassed.

Dr. Shepp:   27:19
And so, working through your last few years of your career in sport had you already started to look forward and and, um, just flag some things that held your interest.

Shannon Miller:   27:30
I don't know that that I had anything specific in mind, but I knew I was going to continue a school, so I had started taking. I have enrolled in college and was taking college classes prior to the 1996 Olympics. I was just going pep time. And so wen part time to school there. And then you started going a little bit more regularly. Um, after I was hired, But for me, it waas maintaining that balance that was so important. Um, I was not one of those kids that could be all or nothing. Um, Onley focused on gymnastics. I had to have a balance. And so for me, if I was at the gym and maybe I had a big competition coming up for a big skill, I was a little bit nervous, toe learn or whatever that was when I was at school. I didn't have to think about I just that being with friends, I got to read I have but was on a map test all of those things I just didn't even have to think about. And same thing with school. When I had a big exam coming up for a big paper due, I walked into the gym and you left it at the door, and he just didn't think about it for the next five hours. It was a big balance for me.

Dr. Shepp:   28:42
Well, it doesn't sound like you struggled with underlying anxiety or or things that would have just preoccupied you with worry. It seems like you're really able to manage in compartmentalize things.

Shannon Miller:   28:52
I'm an probably I probably compartmentalize things to a fault. It's really easy in gymnastics, and when you're young and you're doing gym in school and people ask me about how hard was it to balance is, well, it's really easy to balance gym in school. It's when you get into a life balance and you can't always. And it's maybe not always a good thing for me to compartment curtain compartmentalize as much as I do is comes natural to me in everyday life. So I do have to kind of work on making sure I don't do that too much in real life. But but for me, it's I try to think of it as a strength. It's just something that comes natural to me not to say that I wasn't ever worried or concerned or anything like that. I just I think I had, um, enough going on that again. I could just kind of switch gears and kind of relieve, relieve the stress in certain areas by doing other things, and then kind of come back to it.

Dr. Shepp:   29:53
That makes a lot of sense, but it But it still speaks, I think, to your your quality that you had in your focus. You've certainly overcome a number of things in your life and in your career beginning may be with the injuries that you had to overcome before both of your Olympic appearances before your 92 games and before your 96 games. You had injuries that could have really affected what happened at the Olympic Games. Yet you're able to overcome those. Can you talk a little bit about how you managed to overcome those injuries? Yes,

Shannon Miller:   30:26
I always said the best timing with big injuries. Yes. 0 1992 I ended up breaking and dislocating my left elbow about 10 weeks before Olympic trials that year to talk about a moment in time. Um, and I come back to that moment often because I really feel like it waas a blessing in disguise. I know that's easy to say now, in hindsight, but it really ended up being that it forced me not only to realize how much I really wanted to be on that team. Not that I know that I lack to that want, but but it really did make me dig deep and say Okay. I mean, now you're dealing with you're unaware splint. For for this long you gotta screw in your elbow toe, hold the bones together on and, you know, for a while I couldn't even straighten my arm. So how bad do I want this? So that was part of it. And I think the other part waas, um, going in the gym and knowing that I needed to be in the gym mentally, I couldn't do that much again. I had the splint on and I wasn't allowed to do anything. Put any weight on my arm until it was completely straight. So what could I do? I could stretch and I conditioned, and that was a about all I could do. But then I would think about my weaknesses. You know, when I when I would think about Okay, what are the areas I could really use the help on? It wasn't routines. I had been doing routines. There were teams refine it waas the flexibility. It was the strength where I wasn't always the strongest for the most flexible. So after working on that and being forced to focus on it, I think I went into the 1992 big trials as well as the Olympics. A stronger, more flexible, more well rounded gymnast than I had ever been because I was forced to focus on those things. And um, for me, I think with that injury, and I think with the the other injury, which I'll talk about in a second. Um, it was all about forward motion. And I think that's another thing that sometimes I do to a fault, and I and I could hear that aspect as well. But I think the Ford motion for me is so important, not getting too weighed down by things that you can't control, things that already happened that have already happened. And I learned that lesson really Early on. I was at my first state competition and I went up on balance beam and I was so excited. I got to compete

Dr. Shepp:   32:55
the stay competition years old. This is the greatest thing

Shannon Miller:   32:59
ever. And I went up on balance being and I fell on my birthday event that can spring layout, step out and never forget. And it was that crushing moment of all is lost. I can't believe I fell on my first event. I mean, that's it on. My coach stepped in and he reminded and he, you know, kind of been working on this a little bit But he reminded me, Hey, yeah, there's nothing you can do about it. Now. Give up on the beam and you keep going and you try to minimize the deductions, and you never know what's gonna happen. So you just keep pushing, Keep giving 100% no matter what. And I ended up winning states that year with a fall. And I come back to that often not just because I won, but because I had failed. And I think that was something that helped me remember. Okay, Stuff's gonna happen. Gonna make mistakes. You're going to fail. It's what you do afterwards. That matter. Can you take that next step forward? And so I brought that into 1992 in 1996 was, um, also challenging. I had a wrist injury. Ah, that was just a nagging injury. I I'm not sure how

Dr. Shepp:   34:11
much I I really should have been doing

Shannon Miller:   34:13
on it, but, um, but it was one of those moments where you just kind of figured if I don't know if I'm not gonna do any more damage to it, then let's just go and you just do the very best that I can But for me, that's part of that's blocking out the pain. Part of that understanding where the pain is coming from, which I think is really important understanding, Um, when you need to hold back and when you need to move forward. And we did take out a competition that year, actually, both years, Um, I did. In 1992 and 1996 I sat at one of the trial competitions, but that was important in order to be able to compete. So there's a lot of their strategy that goes into it. But that mental aspect of just being able to take that next board staff

Dr. Shepp:   34:59
well, you are a very competitive person, and I think the strategizing that you did and continue to dio in your life, I'm sure assist you and being able t manage all of those competitive situations.

Shannon Miller:   35:11
I think it's important in again that was another lesson. Learn through sport is there has to be a strategy, and we all want to go out and we want to compete in every competition and we want toe, you know, um, get a 10 on every event and every meet, and I see this with young athletes these days, you know, get bummed out when they don't win every soccer tournament or every gymnastics meet, and they don't score the highest. But it's just part of the process. If you're winning at everything, just like I tell my kids, if if you're always getting 100 on everything they do, you're not challenging yourself. You to be able to challenge yourself and be okay with that. You have to be okay with making mistakes and not and I don't mean that in mistakes were great. Fall off with him all the time. What I'm saying, I just mean even you go out and you challenge yourself and it's not always gonna work out Great. Yes, you're going to fall. But you did it, and I bet you the next time you're not gonna fall on that skill, you might fall in something else. But you're not gonna follow that one, cause you will have learned something, and I think we have to allow ourselves and especially in this day and age, we have to allow ourselves those mistakes and those challenges along the way because that's how we learned the moat.

Dr. Shepp:   36:29
I think a person's attitude about mistakes. Not only says a lot about themselves, is an athlete but also says a lot about how well they might do in their sport because mistakes can't be Sina's as failures that you then fear the next time you step out, they have to be things that you learn from and see as part of your overall growth as an athlete.

Shannon Miller:   36:49
Absolutely. And that is the mentality that that you have to have in every situation in order to keep going and and even attempt success. You're not always going to succeed, but you're definitely not going to succeed if you don't get back

Dr. Shepp:   37:03
up. Now, what about the athletes who might not have that kind of mentality? Where where anything goes? I mean, of course, we know about the athletes who do because we hear about that mind set a little bit more. People might recall what happened with Kerri Strug on on her vault with her with her angle ankle in the 96 games, and people might recall just the pressure that was on you to perform because of your wrist injury before the 96 games and we think about um, athletes like Tiger Woods competing on a bum, a bum knee. And we think about Kobe Bryant and his ability to come back and win when he had Tauron cartilage and ligaments in his leg. We hear about those stories, but we don't hear a lot about the athletes who don't have that kind of killer instinct, and they might struggle a little bit more with fear or with worry. What is it that you might say to athletes who you just don't have that in eight? Killer instinct?

Shannon Miller:   38:01
I would say that they don't have it yet. No, it's not something that you just have. Well, you don't have. It's something that is homed. It is learned, and probably there are athletes that are it probably comes a little bit easier to them, but you still have to work on. It's not like any of those athletes that you just named never have fear. Never have worry. Never feel pressure. They all do. We all have his moments again. It's just what you do with that. We talk about, um, having inspiration in the sport and in the sports world. Those that go before you inspire you to do even greater, and that's why it's important to watch them. But watch when people don't succeed, watch what happens when they fail and then watch them get back up. Those are the stories you want to pay attention to. If you really want to learn how to do that, pay attention to those stories, not just the gold medal win. But what happened along the way. How many times did they fall? How many times do they fail? How many times did they make a mistake of want to give up? How many times did they give up? Yeah, before they finally got going again. Look at the entire story, not just the finish line.

Dr. Shepp:   39:18
That's great advice. I think it's so important for athletes to consider the whole context not only of their own careers but of sport in general. Because, as you mentioned the title of your book, it's not about perfect. Um, and you read about that in your memoir that it isn't about perfect. It's as you wrote competing for my country and fighting for my life. But a lot of times we get the impression that if you're not perfect at your sport, then perhaps you have no business attempting to compete at the highest level,

Shannon Miller:   39:46
which is crazy. You have to start somewhere. You are never gonna be perfect. Day one, there is not an athlete out there. That was perfect Day one. And none of them, frankly, are perfect. Now Tiger Woods loses. Sometimes. You know, Serena loses sometimes never have been. But you have your off days and you have those days where you might not be off at all. You just might be working on something. I mean, I think about gymnastics, and I think about you know, sometimes, um, coaches want to hold the athletes back in a certain level so that they can do really well at that level. And there's something to be said for that if if you want to work on boosting confidence and whatnot, so So there's a time and a place for that. But there's also a time and a place for throwing him into a challenging group, having them go up and try some of those more difficult skills and yeah, they're gonna fall. But if you never try it, if you never get out of the gym and actually do it in competition you're never really going to know. And so you know, this idea that you have to be perfect in every competition is crazy. You're never gonna get any better if you're always wanting to be perfect because you're going to keep your skill level low or you're going to get disappointed and lose that confidence. You have to continue challenging herself, and that's again what comes back to. Sometimes you just have to be okay with losing, with making the mistakes and with failing not because you like it. Not because you want the holiest or make mistakes. But you know that there is a path. There is a strategy. Yes, you're gonna have a few competitions that you make mistakes on so that you don't make it at the Olympic Games in the gold medal round.

Dr. Shepp:   41:40
Well, certainly a lot of lessons I can hear were taught to you from your parents, and you mentioned inspiration in your life. And you've become an inspiration to others, not just because of your career in sport, but because of other things that you've had to deal with in life. They haven't led you to some current areas of passion and ways that you want to try to make a difference. Today just happens to be World Cancer Day, and many people are probably familiar with the fact that you've overcome cancer in your own life, a very rare form of ovarian cancer. And that, of course, must have been not only a amazing shocked to have to deal with and to manage, but it really must have been the greatest challenge of your life.

Shannon Miller:   42:23
Frankly, it doesn't matter who you are, Um, where you're from, how many gold medals you have? Cancer doesn't care. Diabetes doesn't care. Heart disease doesn't care that those things are our life. Those are the things that I can really kind of dig into and feel so good about going out there and talking to people, um, in sharing experiences because a lot of us are kind of in the same boat. We all know someone who, um has been or is going through cancer diagnosis. If we don't know someone, we probably will at some point. And so being able to share those experiences and talk about it and also get the word out about signs and symptoms and the importance of early detection raising money for research. And you know, all all of those good things, Um is something I'm very passionate about, and I kind of came to it of a fairly hard way to get there. But again, I tryto look at that silver lining. I try to look at that, that bright spot in that blessing of being where I am today and having the ability to use this platform that I gained through gymnastics through. We're just basically going out and doing a sport I love. And having that platform now, too, hopefully bring awareness to such a difficult disease.

Dr. Shepp:   43:47
Well, you do an amazing job helping to raise awareness. And you also raise awareness about childhood obesity as well as being an advocate for safety and in sports especially, of course, after the, um, really unconscionable things that we heard happen to so many young female gymnasts that we've heard about in the news of those who have suffered in silence under some very just really horrible conditions when they were sexually abused by someone that they trusted. You've been an advocate for safety in sport as well, which, of course, and anyone would would share your passion for that. But you've used your platform to raise awareness to a number of really important issues, and I imagine that that brings some satisfaction and fulfillment to be able to make that kind of a difference.

Shannon Miller:   44:36
There are things that I really do want to utilize my platform to get the word out, to get others inspired to get others excited about the positive things that weaken Dio.

Dr. Shepp:   44:49
That's wonderful. And I think another way that you give back through your experience to is is just in the way you speak to young people. A swell is really anyone who gets the chance to hear you speak or read your book about how your mentality really translated to to help you in other areas of that of life's your your sport mentality. And you talk about a few specific sports psychology skills that helped you in your process of recovery from cancer. One was the idea of teamwork. Another being the idea of setting goals and then another was the idea that you can really be yourself. You don't have to be positive all the time, and I wanted to just kind of visit those quickly before before we close out our conversation. But it, if you could speak just to house some of your sport psychology skills, have helped you outside of sport will be fantastic.

Shannon Miller:   45:39
Some of those that I learned through sport that I carried over to my cancer journey and really to business and motherhood and every race. But the idea of gold setting always think Think gold setting is the foundation. You have to have a direction. You have to have a pass. You have to know something that you want to do. Big Small doesn't matter, but you gotta have a goal and you might have multiple calls. You should have multiple goals in different areas of your life, but have that long term goal work on their short term bowls. What is it? I can get up and do two day to get closer to that long term goal, because it it doesn't always matter what the end game is. It's all about what you do today that matters the most, and so I think that's really important. But I think the one thing we often leave out is that idea of follows room. We all know how to set goals. We all know that you're supposed to set short term goals and you're supposed to set smart goals. But I think we forget about the follow through and the fact that you have to actually do the way. It's not enough to know what you need to do. You got to do what you need to do. Don't just put it on your smartphone or on your calendar. Write it down, chip away at it little bit every single day matters. Um, you mentioned teamwork. And, um, I think for me during my chemotherapy treatments, that's when it really came full force back to this idea of teamwork. Very different team, but more medical staff comment team. But this idea that I was not alone, I wasn't doing this alone. I wasn't in it alone. But not only did I have all of these great people surrounding me medical friends, family neighbors, but I was also a part of that team, and as a team member, you've got to contribute. You've got a hold up your end, and I think that helped me take that next forward step when, especially during that first week, it came to therapy. When I was back in the hospital and I couldn't keep down food or water, and I just wasn't even sure if I could do this. How do you How do you do this? I just I just wasn't sure. And it was that understanding that I wasn't in this alone. But I also I had to get up. I had to get up. I had to figure out a way, whether it was asking for help or, um or just getting to the accept. Whatever it waas, I had to be a part of that team. And then the last one you mentioned, um, was the last one. You mentioned

Dr. Shepp:   48:15
that you didn't have to feel positive all the time. You could you could be yourself.

Shannon Miller:   48:18
Oh, yes. And I'm glad you mentioned that one because that's a really big one, because I I think I'm a pretty positive person and and I don't want people won't want to make sure that, especially when I'm talking about something as heavy, is as a cancer diagnosis or other health issues, it's important for people to know that this is not when I talk about a positive mindset, it's not just happy, cheery. Put a smile on your face to hide the pain. That's not what I'm talking about. When I talk about a positive attitude, it's it's trying to find those small, positive items, you know, It may be hard to find them, and there some days it's not gonna happen, and that's okay. But I feel like for the most part, we have the opportunity each day to wake up and find something, something good around us. And during my cancer journey, getting up in there were days that if I could get up and get dressed, that was that was a good good day. That was win. That was my positive and just the idea that I got to get up and I got to see my son. So you've got debt, but I think it's important to allow yourself that pity party time. You know, you have to have that sometimes just have the pity party, but then when you're done, you finished with it for that moment and take that next four words down. Um, so I think that's an important art to remember, especially because when I do talk, I do talk about a positive mindset, but I do believe that being positive is a choice is there are very few things in life we actually get to control as a mother now, more than a a lot out of our control. But our attitude is something that we get to own. We get complete control over and again. It's it's not gonna be great every day. But if if it could be good most of the days, that's that's a great start.

Dr. Shepp:   50:25
Well, certainly you've learned a lot about how to manage attitude over all the things that have happened in your life. But I know that it's very difficult for athletes who are injured or facing the prospect of retirement or just have have setbacks off of the court off of the field, off of the mat to navigate. How to change their mindset in order to manage those things. And you've highlighted a number of things that are just important on just little strategies, as we've talked about in order to do that, because when you're an accomplished person or you're someone who has lived their life setting goals, it can feel like you have no goals left to accomplish when you're sidelined. For some reason, And yet, if you use your goal setting ability to to refocus on things you can accomplish and find little goals that can can feel motivating and move you forward every day, you're really winning the battle.

Shannon Miller:   51:17
Absolutely, least that's what's worked for me and again, I think everyone's different. But I think if you can continue that forward motion in some way, shape or form, that doesn't mean you know you're going to retire. It's going to be easy. You're gonna find your next thing, and you're gonna have that new goal. But it's not typically how it works, in fact, retiring from sports, whether it's a collegiate career, a professional career and I'm a big career, whether it's a young age or older age, it is an incredibly difficult process for many, and it can lead to depression. It can lead to anxiety. It can lead to a kind of a paralysis of what do I do next? You've kind of your family overnight. Your team. You don't have the structure that you had before. You don't have to be anywhere 40 hours a week, eh? So what do I do with that time when I've never had that kind of just open time before, So there's a lot of things that go into that. But if you can fill some of that avoid and fill some of that space, one with team so that might be mentors it, whether it's in business and in school, in sport. But whatever that is, find the mentors doesn't even have to be in your area of expertise. In fact, it's good to have mentors that aren't because I help you think outside the box and look for other avenues that you might enjoy really good at, um so surrounding herself with with a team that you can check in with that they can check in with you and help you along that path. And the second is trying to find those goals. They don't have to be his lofty as an Olympic Games. It could just be whatever that next step is. Okay, I'm gonna enroll for a Class E over call it just I'm gonna enroll a class somewhere or I'm going to go speak at an event. I'm going to go do something, but whatever that is, having something actionable, having some goal, some reason to get up and do something each day, and it sounds simple, but it can be difficult when you're going through that time and that void of what do I do now? Who am I without my sport? I've never done this. I don't know anyone in this kind of area. I'm now outside my sport specific area. What am I supposed to do? So I think it's it's really important to kind of go back to to some of those lessons, but reshape them in a way that that fits kind of where you're headed now, even if you don't know exactly where that is, you've got to do something. Find out what you don't like to do. I would still be with you. May even know what you like to do. Find out what you don't like to do. Go try stuff, and then you can just mark it off and it's you might find out something. You do it,

Dr. Shepp:   54:06
Just be friends. Well, you've been really gracious to share a lot of your great advice with us today. I wanted to just close. If I may, by asking you some questions that I ask everyone that I speak with. Okay? have nervous. Ah, no reason to be. Um So, Shannon, what in life are you still curious about

Shannon Miller:   54:32
everything? I hope no one ever sees what I search on Google because about everything. But, um, you but me, I just love learning. I've always lived learning. I, you know, And now to also learn through my kid's eyes. It's it's just incredible. But yes, I google anything and everything. I increased about everything.

Dr. Shepp:   54:56
Well, that's a wonderful answer. And again, another great skill to have is is to just have a love for learning. Um, So what is more distracting to you throughout your career, as as an athlete, but also as a commentator and as a public speaker? Is it the praise that you have received or is it the criticism

Shannon Miller:   55:13
which is more distracting?

Dr. Shepp:   55:15
Yeah, you know that that might throw you off your game a little, cause you think too much, you know, get in your head, start to doubt.

Shannon Miller:   55:23
Um, you know, my parents taught me early on, um, now, granted again, this was before thistles before social media and the internet. So it was basically, you know, newspapers Andi and three channels on television, but they said, Don't read your media. There's no reason to ever read your media and what they meant by that Waas It really doesn't matter if someone says something good about you. Well, that's nice, But if they say something bad about you, neither one of those things affects what you need to go out and do each day. None of those effects how hard you try on the balance beam, right? It doesn't affect that. You're going to go out and give 100%. So just go out and give 100%. And don't worry about what people say. And I mean, I've been very fortunate people. I've I have the best fans ever, So but But I think that's important. And I think in this day and age, when you do have young athletes that have such big social media followings it, it can become, ah, significant distraction, and it really can. It doesn't matter if you're an athlete or not. It could really play with your mentality and how you feel about yourself and so being able to, um, one of the things one of the groups that I had spoken with, um, it was regard Teoh bullying and some other things that, um that was working on years ago. They said, You know, if if we tell kids that if they're looking at I mean this should go for adults as well. You know, if they're looking at social media and they're starting to feel bad about themselves, then start the leading because you don't need to compare yourself to others on. And you don't need to worry about kind of some of this outside stuff as much as just going out and doing the best you can each day. Just kind of going out and being you are very best each day.

Dr. Shepp:   57:23
It is such a different world than it was been in 1996 with the with the popularity of social media in our daily lives, and I think we might feel immune to the impact of it. But I don't think any of us really are immune to the impact of it. So I'm glad to hear that you address that with young athletes cause it's such a challenge these days

Shannon Miller:   57:42
it is, And I mean, of course you feel good Winston and says something good about you. I mean, That's just natural. Um, then you know, if if there's criticism, I like, um, healthy criticism. I mean, I am an athlete. I mean, I've had coaches, so I I want that criticism that helps me learn and helps me do better. You know, in gymnastics, if my coach were to say that's a great routine every time and it wasn't a great routine, that doesn't help me. What helps me is OK, that skill. We had a problem. You've fallen on it four times. You stopped leaning your right shoulder. I want you to follow the other side of being next time, you know, which is I mean, I guess it's criticism, but it's not personal. It's how can I get better? And that's the criticism I like. And I really do make a point to tell people, because I think sometimes when, um, your e maybe even athlete and Olympian people don't want to give you bad news. People don't want Teoh critique you, but I want to be surrounded by those that that will help me get better

Dr. Shepp:   58:51
again. I think that's wisdom from your years of experience, but the fact that you're open to that kind of criticism is probably part of what made you such a success, because we we have to be. We have to be willing to learn and to and take a look at things that need improvement. And if we are closed off criticism that I think it, it actually hinders us in the long run.

Shannon Miller:   59:08
Well, and I feel like we're we're all the work in progress can all use a little help now. No, granted, there's there's sometimes I'm more welcoming than others, but but it is important to your point, I think, to be open Teoh. Constructive criticism is overall, probably a good thing because it can help you learn and do or try something new are again. Learn what doesn't work

Dr. Shepp:   59:34
well on that note. What is one comment or piece of feedback that you receive that still stands out to you because of its impact?

Shannon Miller:   59:42
Um oh, goodness, which had some time to think about a good ones? Um, some feedback is I mean, there's so much, Um, I mean, there's there's the little things every day in the gym, but those would be more meaningful to the gymnasts out there. Um, I think overall, you know, I think still might My mom talking to me right before my Olympic being routine. And, um, in 96 I mean, I still think hurt her, asking me, Have you done the word that that comes back? I mean, I would say every day I think about that in different scenarios when I'm walking into ah, presentation for work. And I might be a little nervous or I'm going into, you know, a speech. Okay. You know, I always I always get nervous because that's just me. And I kinda learned how to handle the nerves, but I always feel like nerves are telling us that we care about how we dio, um look, it is a good thing, but it's not always a great feeling. So when I get nervous, I think about that. Have I done the work? And I think about that when I want to procrastinate and I know it's been coming up. Have that maybe months down the road, and I think about that at some point, I'm gonna have to ask myself, Have I done the work? And I need to have the right answer. So I think that's a really big one for me,

Dr. Shepp:   1:1:03
okay? And you've mentioned this already a little bit, but I wanted to go ahead and still ask the question in case you'd like to respond to it a little bit, a little bit more in depth. But how do you move on from failure?

Shannon Miller:   1:1:15
It's not easy. It's never easy to fail. Nobody wants to fail, Never know, wants to feel that, Um, it hurts. It hurts your heart. It's hard, and I think it's easier for me now. Toe look back because I've failed so many times. And now I've seen how many of those failures have not only shaped who I am today, but helped me get to the Olympic Games. Become a gold medalist. Um, do some of those things that I may have never even thought were possible, but they were possible because of those failures early on, Um, but I think it's important to remember that failure is part of the process and that it's such a difficult lesson to learn when you're just starting out, whether it's in a sport or your young I see to my kids, they don't want to fail. They wanted you get it right all the time and trying Teoh, give them to understand that failure is part of the process is difficult. And I owe. It was for my coach. I mean, I would burst into tears. I was just I mean, people saw it on TV. I would just burst into teachers every time I messed up and even in the gym, and he took me aside and in many, many times, because it didn't just take one time, he had to stay on it. Um, for years before I kind of before it kind of got through. But he would tell me, Look, you've already messed up. You've already fallen so you can cry about it and feel bad about it. But that's not gonna change. What happened with a change is what you do now so you can stand over here and cry, or you can get back up and try again. And then you try again after that and then try again after that and you get better. And it did. It took time for that to get through. But when when it clicked, it really clicked. And then it doesn't hurt quite so bad. It hurt. You don't wanna bail. But But when you realize that you have to, there's often times you just have to fail in order to get to that next step.

Dr. Shepp:   1:3:22
That's true, I'm sure, in gymnastics, um, perhaps more than a number of other sports, because when you when you learn a new skill at a new level, there's there's no doing it right the first time. So you really have to be open to that idea of failure as as just part of the learning process

Shannon Miller:   1:3:38
you do. And I think it is probably easier, like you said, easier to see in gymnastics because you're just never going to go out and do a skill perfect the first time there's a learning process and that involves failure. And there are other sports where there's failures, maybe not as big in the learning process. But it's maybe in the tournament's or the games and losing with your team. Losing is also helping you find your way. You don't want to lose. I mean, if you're okay with, if you're just completely okay with losing, then it doesn't mean enough and you probably shouldn't be doing that so that that's different than what I when I have talked about being okay with losing before, and I kind of explain that that's that's knowing that you've got to get up and keep going, and it's part of the process. But, um, you should never want to lose. But when you do, when it happens, know that it is going to happen. And what you gonna do? Is it is it going to fuel the fire to go back and work harder and do better? Or are you gonna let it overcome you and and not allow you to move forward? So when you fail, when you lose, you get to make that decision.

Dr. Shepp:   1:4:47
That's a great distinction. I'm just a couple more questions. If you don't mind the second to the last one, I would be. Have you ever had what with what you would say was a transformative moment in your career, and if so, what was it?

Shannon Miller:   1:5:01
There's probably been a couple, I would say, Um, there's a few. Um, I talked about one with my fallen at my state competition, and I know it doesn't sound like much, but for me, that made a huge impact on me. This idea that I fell but I could still succeed and and I had to do that by getting back up and taking that next step and keep going and put it behind you, and you can cry about it later. But right now, what do you need to focus on? So that was a big one, I think. Another one for me was in 1993. I had come off the 1992 Olympics, won five medals. It was fantastic. Went the next year in two world championships, won the world championships, came home from that competition, and I have been working the same routines for two years. My shin splints. I'd actually had a growth spurt, which I probably doesn't seem like much. But, you know, for a gym, Daza Grossberg, it knocks you off. Absolutely. When my back was really hurting, I didn't have an injury. It was just have the growth spur. And, um, I came home one day and just said, I'm I'm told my parents. I'm finished. I'm done. I don't wanna be the Jim NIST anymore. And that's that. And based and okay, Well, and they were always of the mind that it was I was driving the bus, and they were happy to support me, never waiting everywhere they could. But if I don't want to do it, then we're gonna look at why you don't want to do it. You don't get to just give up, but you don't have to stand us forward if you're not enjoying it. And they said, Well, let's here you out But I also I think it's appropriate to bring your coaches in and just talk and just make sure everyone's on the same page in. And so my coaches both came over. We were sitting around the dining table and and my coach, Stevie, he looked over and he said, OK, so why do you want to quit? I said, Well, my back hurts. Emissions heard anymore, and he looked at me again and he said, Okay, but why do you want to quit? And I'm thinking, Why aren't you listening to me? And he said, I know you vets since blends. I know your back hurts, but these are not, um, you know, horrible injuries, these air things that you just need to rest and and they'll be fine. So what's the real reason? What what's going on, and I really didn't have an answer for him. It try as I might I was

Dr. Shepp:   1:7:39
trying to think of.

Shannon Miller:   1:7:41
But I didn't really have a good answer. And so he came back with a proposition. He said one. All right, how about this for the next I can remember was two or three weeks, but the next three weeks, some of the gym. But you come in for two hours only, and we're only going to do things that don't hurt nobody. And that's it. And I'm thinking, you know, I trained 67 hours a day. Two hours is nothing. I barely get through conditioning and that amount of time. I mean, I could do that standing on my head. That's okay. Okay. If if that will be what quiets them down, and I could be done with this great, I'll do it. So I said, sure, So the first week I went in and couldn't do much, did a little uneven bars, and that was about it. And by the end of the week, I had learned a new skill. I wasn't having the train routines every day, and I wasn't doing the other events that hurt. And by the next week, by the into the next week, I had learned a second new skill on anyone parts I'm starting to get, you know, not enjoyable, but like a little bit more. My shins were starting to feel better. My back was feeling a little bit better. And then the third week came and I remember him dropping some some lines like, Oh, yes. And I heard that Dominique Dawes has signed on to do this on next. The next big international competition that's coming up so that awesome Because you can you can cheer for her while you're sitting in your living room. Ha ha. And now, of course, I know he was throwing that out there to see, you know, Yeah, that sounds good. I'll get some popcorn, and I'm probably don't need to be in the gym. Huh? I certainly had

Dr. Shepp:   1:9:16
the other reaction of Wait a second.

Shannon Miller:   1:9:18
It sitting on the couch and up. And after that, I went back to regular training and never thought about it again. But look what we realized You that time united together realized I just I lost sight of goals I had gone to the Olympic Games. I had won the world championships. What was left? I didn't know what was left for a gym. It's and so I hadn't been thinking ahead, and we have always created a plan. I always had goals, and I just was lacking that. And so we started creating new goals for other competitions and then eventually for the Olympic Games in 1996. But, you know, he was smart enough to know that I just needed some time, some space, and to kind of come back to it on my own.

Dr. Shepp:   1:10:12
Steve is a smart code. She's also was a very positive coach. I know not every gymnast has been so fortunate to be under the tutelage of a really positive coach. But he was miked up for a few of your events that you can still find on YouTube. And, um, you get a good sense of of just the level of support he he offered you.

Shannon Miller:   1:10:30
Yeah, it was very fortunate to find coaches both tea and my balance beam coach Peggy, who were in Oklahoma, where where I grew up and trained and win school and live with my family. So it was that great balance of kind of being able to have the best of every world.

Dr. Shepp:   1:10:50
That's fantastic. But lastly, Shannon, let me just ask you, what have you learned about yourself from all of the events of your life and career?

Shannon Miller:   1:11:00
I've learned a lot, Um, you know, some good, some some thoughts of good, I think I've learned that I can compartmentalize extremely well. And sometimes I could do that to my death. Come in. Um, I think of all, um, coming from my background, being shy, maybe not always being the most confident. I think overall and going to the cancer experience, I've learned that I'm stronger then I've probably given myself credit for, and I know that sounds silly being an Olympic gold medalist, but and that's kind of the outward. That's kind of what happened. That was the goal. That wasn't necessarily how he was feeling inside, you know, for me there, it wasn't always that certainty and that confidence. And so for me to kind of be it a place in my life where I can look back and think You know, I I am I am stronger than maybe I I ever imagine I could be. And I think often that something that does come out of, um, probably less of a gymnastic suit experience and more from a cancer experience of realizing that, um, you know, sometimes you you just rise to the occasion when when occasions brought to you and you don't have a choice.

Dr. Shepp:   1:12:34
Well, Shana, thank you so much for all of the insights that you've shared. Including that that Final One, you have had a remarkable career thus far, and I know that it's it's still in its prime with all of the many activities that you're involved in in the tremendous ways that you're making an impact from the pleasure that you brought when we watched you compete to the difference that you're making in the lives of of those who need inspiration in their own struggles and suffering. So I wanted to thank you not only for that, but also just for the time that you were so generous with today in joining me for this conversation. So thank you so much, Shannon. Absolutely. Thank you. This has been managed the moment with Dr Shep, my physical action of moments. It's how you manage the moments that makes the difference. My thanks again to Shannon Miller for Joining Me on today's episode and thank you for listening. You can learn more about Shannon's incredible career and contributions on her website, Shannon miller dot com. And if you'd like to pick up a copy of her books, you can do that as well at Shannon miller dot com slash shop A special thanks to those of you who have taken the time to rate or review this podcast. I really appreciate it, and you're small. Effort really does make a difference. To help this podcast. Thanks, you can subscribe to the manage the moment podcast for free just by clicking the subscribe button wherever you're listening to this podcast, and then you'll be sure to get the newest episodes as soon as they're uploaded. For more information about manage the moment podcast, you can see the episode notes for this broadcast. You'll also find us on social media and I'm on Twitter and Instagram at Dr Shep. Thanks so much for listening and taking the time to share these moments with us until next time