A former Olympic rower reflects on his evolution from ultra-competitive athlete to supportive coach and offers his game-changing thoughts on achieving success.
Once the embodiment of an aggressive athlete, Jason Dorland used to identify himself according to the results of his competitions—winner or loser. The elite rower was raised with an “in-it-to-win-it” attitude and was trained to think of every competitor as an enemy. It took a devastating loss at the 1988 Olympic Games to shatter this destructive way of thinking, and it took the advice of middle-distance runner Robyn Meagher (who would later become Dorland’s wife) to help re-shape his views on what it truly means to win—both in sport and in life.
When he retired from competition and became an elite rowing coach, Dorland knew he had to produce results but vowed to adopt a more process-based approach to competition than the one he had been taught. It was a radical shift that was not always welcomed by the sporting community. However, the outcomes were nothing short of extraordinary. Dorland found that by creating an emotionally safe environment for his athletes, they felt free to fail yet ultimately achieved success beyond their wildest dreams. Pulling Together reflects on Dorland’s coaching philosophy, the lessons his sport has taught him, and how those lessons can be applied both on and off the playing field.
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About the Author
Jason Dorland is an Olympian, coach, entrepreneur, and storyteller who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence for himself and those he supports. He is the author of Chariots and Horses: Life Lessons from an Olympic Rower. During his ten years of coaching high-school rowing, Jason’s crews won twelve international championship events, set a Canadian course record time, and won back-to-back events with the same four athletes—a feat never before achieved at a National Championship. When Jason is not sharing his experiences and life lessons through his keynotes and workshops, he consults as a high-performance coach for athletes, artists, and executives. For more information, visit jasondorland.com.