Lauryn Williams’s exploits in athletics are that of legend. A four-time Olympian, three-time Olympic medalist, and World Championship medals too numerous to list, Williams was a mainstay on the podium for over a decade.
Now in her post-track career, she is a Certified Financial Planner, holds an MBA, and started a financial services company: Worth Winning. We caught up with Lauryn upon the release of her book The Oval Office, which is a guide for track and field athletes in becoming a fully-rounded professional, both on and off the track.
AthleteBiz (AB): You have been so generous with your mentoring of professional athletes. What inspires you to do this and what prompted you to write a book on the subject?
Lauryn Williams (LW): I had a wonderful and long career in the sport. There were so many things I wish I had known or lessons I learned the hard way. While I did have a great community of people to ask for support sometimes I didn’t know what to ask for because I had no clue what I needed. I always wished for a manual so I didn’t have to guess so much. This book is my way of giving back to a sport that has given so much to me.
Click here to read an excerpt from The Oval Office, by Lauryn Williams
AB: How might your athletic career have been different if you were armed with the knowledge you have now from the beginning?
LW: I would have made far less mistakes, planned ahead more and taken time to do research to be more knowledgeable in some areas after learning the basics. I would have been a more well rounded and better prepared athlete as the result of having a tool like this.
AB: Who is the target audience for your book?
LW: This book is for the college athlete thinking of going pro or the athlete who had recently gone pro and is trying to navigate this new world. However, I think high school athletes, coaches and track fans will enjoy this inside look in to what it means to be a professional track and field athlete.
AB: You often encourage athletes to think of themselves as the CEO of the own business. Tell us more about what you mean by that.
LW: So often athletes are encouraged to just focus on competing, don’t worry about anything else. Grasping the concepts of business are integral to an athletes success. Athletes are actually business owners and like all successful entrepreneurs you must where many hats. Investing in yourself on and off track and investing in your team gives you the best chance of being a successful and profitable business.
AB: You equally emphasize preparation for life after sport and successful career management while competing. Tell us how your own experience has informed you about this.
LW: We are more than just athletes. Understanding our identity outside of our performance is very important. I spent a lot of time investing in other areas interest life to make sure that I had options when I was done competing. While the transition from sport to life after sport was tough it was a lot easier for me than many of my peers because I had avenues to explore. We often think we can’t be fully focused on sport and doing other things but I believe having other interests in fact can enhance your performance.