Nastia Liukin at WELL Summit Brooklyn on Oct. 5, with Nicolle Mackinnon. Photo courtesy of Olga Brycht / MissO Photography.
Nastia Liukin at WELL Summit Brooklyn on Oct. 5, with Nicolle Mackinnon. Photo courtesy of Olga Brycht / MissO Photography.

6 Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Mastering the Art of the Second Act, Says Nastia Liukin

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4 min read

As Nastia Liukin lay flat on her face on a foam mat, having fallen off the uneven parallel bars at the Olympic trials in 2012, this is what came to mind: “No matter what, finish what you started.” It was a mantra the five-time Olympic medalist been coached to live out since she was young. While her chances for a second Olympic performance ended on that mat, Nastia knew without hesitation she had to get back up and finish.

And when she finished her dismount and landed on her feet, the crowd gave her a standing ovation, something she’d never earned before. At that moment, she says, she realized people would love her even if she wasn’t the best, and her fall was transformed from a defeat into a life-defining event.

5 Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know On Mastering the Art of the Second Act

Nastia Liukin at WELL Summit Brooklyn on Oct. 5, with WELL Editor in Chief Nicolle Mackinnon. Photo courtesy of Olga Brycht / MissO Photography.

What has Nastia since learned about happiness and work-life satisfaction? “It’s not about the medals or a job title but instead doing something you are proud of and love,” she told WELL Summit attendees on October 5. Her gratitude for the privileges she’s had with access to mentors, training and excellent coaching over the years was the catalyst for her wanting to give back and empower the next generation to be the best version of themselves. That mission led her to trade her medals for the tech industry, becoming a co-founder of Grander, an app designed to connect young athletes with mentors and a supportive community.  

But how does one successfully transition from Olympic gymnast to tech business owner? We asked Nastia for her advice and she shared six tips every entrepreneur should know on mastering the art of the second act.

6 Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Mastering the Art of the Second Act, Says Nastia Liukin

Nastia Liukin at WELL Summit Brooklyn on October 5. Photo courtesy of Olga Brycht / MissO Photography.

1. Recognize who you have been, where it has taken you and be proud of your successes.

Whether you’ve been an athlete, a stay-at-home parent or company employee, Nastia says, “Celebrate it and then put a check by that box and move on to your next goal and dream.”

2. Believe that you can be more than one thing.

Step outside of who you once were and what you’ve done. Your jobs or accomplishments in the past don’t define who you are now or need to continue to be. “Yes, I did gymnastics, but I’m not only a gymnast,” she tells herself. “I don’t want to look back on my life and think the biggest thing I ever did happened when I was 18 years old!”

3. Know your vision, mission and core values.

Nastia and her Grander team spent a lot of time on who they wanted to be internally and externally. She says when it comes to your mission, your product and your business, you have to know it inside and out. She adds, “And when you believe in it, live and breathe it. Others will see it.”

4. Be patient.

During her gymnastics training, there were hard days when Nastia would come home wanting to quit. Her mother’s sage advice? “You can always quit… but not on a bad day.” Says Nastia, “When you’re starting something new or transitioning career paths, there will be moments when you want to throw your hands in the air. That’s okay. But don’t make a decision about quitting unless it’s a good day. Don’t let a bad day determine your path.”

5. Take time for yourself.

Though it’s hard with her busy schedule and bi-coastal living (she hops back and forth between Boston and LA frequently), Nastia says she’s getting better about saying “no” to things that don’t feel like the right fit. She also says she prioritizing feeding herself good food, drinking plenty of water and trying to do some physical activity daily. Wellness, Nastia reminds us, is not something you can make a one-time decision about; it’s an everyday choice.

6. Remember the importance of being happy.

Nastia chooses not to rely on others or circumstances to make her happy. Happiness to her is the 360° view of mind, body and soul, not job titles, gold medals and salaries. She says nothing feels greater than being able to work on something that you love. “While I’m still learning,” she reiterates, “happiness is truly found from within.”


Want more inspiration from female entrepreneurs? Find more stories in our Women We’re Watching series.

About The Author

Heather Bursch

Heather Bursch

After teaching first graders for seven years, Heather Bursch went from creating reading lessons to designing dinner parties as a personal chef. She credits her three kids with teaching her how to eat well as they've lived and learned together about how good food makes them feel. Heather believes food is for health and pleasure and works to celebrate both the daily greens and seasonal desserts. She writes at shemadeitshemight.com, WELLinsiders.com and you can find her posting @heatherbursch on Instagram about food, life, cooking classes and all things in between.

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