Show Notes

“And I feel like that’s very important. To be happy is to be able to look forward and say, alright now what? Now what is it I want to do in my life and how do I make that happen? Sometimes the adversity is the thing that actually gives you the gift of what it is that you want to create in your life.” Nicole Hannan

Volleyball defined Nicole Hannan (nee Sanderson) for sixteen years and along with a crazy upbringing she has used these parts of her life as wonderful foundations for who she is and what she is doing today in terms of her career, her medical research and as a mum.

Growing up in places like Borneo in the middle of the jungle, Jakarta, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands created amazing memories thanks to her father working in forestry. This meant in her formative years she had snakes and beetles as pets and got to swim with sharks and barracuda!

Eventually ending up back in Australia Nicole attended boarding school on the Gold Coast and in Perth. She found a love of volleyball when a teacher told her she would be a great player. The sacrifice and work ethic this sport gave her was second to none. If she was to time-line her life Nicole describes it like this…

– Boarding school at the age of 9 in Perth after her parents divorced

– Gold Coast age 10 to 14

– Boarding school in Perth for 2 years then back to the Gold Coast

– Year 11 second half in USA (Florida)

– Year 12 lived by herself on the GC as Mum lived in Thailand and Dad in Fiji

– Uni in LA on indoor volleyball scholarship for 4 years (Sports medicine degree)

– Moved back to Aus age 21 and started playing professionally on the beach.

– 2003 world champs bronze

– 2003 final world ranking 4th

– 2004 Athens Olympics 4th (even with some crazy injuries)

– Naturopath

– Master of medical research

– Current full time PhD and research on clinical trials

– Lecturing for a few years and clinical practice

– She has a daughter Charlie (12), and gorgeous husband Steve

– Now back coaching volleyball with Charlie playing for Qld!

Her daughter Charlie loves hearing stories of her childhood and has responded so well to all that Nicole can offer her from her own experiences.

Nicole believes her upbringing has made her more resilient and more versatile and taught her to find the best in every situation.

We get an insight into her life as an Olympian with some stories she has not shared publicly! Plus the disappointments of not making the 2000 Olympics through serious knee injuries.

Nicole believes it is ok to go through devastating situations with ‘woe is me’ feelings for a bit of time, and explains that the key to getting through such moments is managing your emotions. She believes it was only when she retired and then became a mum that she got more of a perspective on what she took so seriously.

Nicole admits she is still working on herself in regards to the need of validity in terms of results. Getting more titles or degrees or awards does not necessarily make you a better person.

The mental side and ability to handle emotions is apparent in her parenting. It is a balancing act. To be tough on yourself, to work hard, to know you can do more and give more is important without setting up a whole lot of self-worth issues. It is helpful to use the lessons on the court and translate them into life.

Attitude is hugely important, work ethic and striving to be the best is imperative to be at the top of her sport. But along with these skills, volleyball also gifted Nicole with friendships, travel and life experiences. These have all helped her in life as a Naturopath and Researcher.

Nicole shares how she got into doing the research she is now based on a medical condition her daughter had. It was important she created and found the evidence-based research to help patients with EOE (Eosinophilic esophagitis). She believes she would not have been able to help people as much as she has without her personal experiences, and this is what is driving her research for her PhD in complimentary medicine for people with EOE.

We talk a lot about medicine and complimentary medicine and the balance between the two and how do we make sure everyone has the quality of life they deserve.

Nicole says keeping it simple helps. Looking after yourself with a healthy lifestyle, good real food, movement, sleep, rest and sunshine. But the fundamentals are definitely lifestyle.

She has a degree in sports medicine and a master of medical research plus Naturopathy which supports her to have a wider perspective and appreciation for all sides.

Her definition of Self Love is about being able to sit back from yourself and be able to see you from a different perspective and to have empathy for yourself. Be ok with where you are at whatever that is. Be ok you are doing this thing to the best of your ability.

The self-love podcast listener are warrior kings and queens and Nicole’s final message to each of you is to always strive to be your best. Look at yourself and where you are at. Be kind to yourself and constantly keep looking forward. Make decisions based on what you want your life to look like. Work out the steps you need to take and then doing those things. The people who are most successful don’t sit around waiting for it to happen they take action to make it happen.

Her favourite quote is from: Our Greatest Fear — Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

— Marianne Williamson

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