Susie O’Neill: The One Piece Of Advice I Will NOT Pass On To My Daughter

14 August 2020

Broadcaster and Former Olympic athlete Susie O’Neill reflects on advice she received during her sporting career, and her future hopes for daughter Alix.

My daughter Alix is my rock. She’s one of the most important people in my life and an all-round good egg.

As an Olympic athlete and broadcaster, I’ve learned a lot over the years. That said, nothing prepares you for the challenges of parenthood. Of course, I want Alix to live her best possible life. All I can do is arm her with the tools to tackle any challenge life may throw at her.

One piece of advice I will never pass onto my daughter? Worry or anxiety is a sign of weakness.

This was something ingrained into my psyche when I was playing professional sport. I was taught to never show weakness or vulnerability. It was understood that a showing a lack of confidence would mean I was ‘weak’.

This isn’t a healthy way to think or approach life, nor does it give the best outcome in a sporting event.

Instead, let’s encourage young girls to feel comfortable reaching out to their parents, friends or trainers for help and support.

I’ll never forget the bonds I created with the girls in my swimming squad. As girls, we’d share our hopes, dreams and frustrations. We’d build each other up and support each other through the good times and the bad.

They say people come into your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime. I can safely say, the relationships I built as a girl playing sport have continued far beyond my professional career. These relationships have continued to blossom into adulthood and I’m lucky to surround myself with a tribe of likeminded, strong and confident women.

Let’s set girls up with these strong support networks. If we help girls identify their strengths and follow their interests, it’ll help them build trusted relationships for encouragement and reassurance.

I want my daughter to feel comfortable with failure. Of course, I want Alix to push and challenge herself — but there’s no point worrying or stressing when things don’t go to plan. The world isn’t going to end!

As such, it’s important not be too rigid with our goals. The world is always changing, and possibilities are always in flux. Amazing opportunities arise when you least expect them. A strong and supportive support network will help put failure into context.

When I think about the future I want for my daughter, I want her to be part of a  a culture of openness, confidence and resilience. I want to encourage girls to build each other up and look out for each other. So, when I was approached to partner with Suncorp Team Girls, it was a total no brainer. It’s so important to empower our girls to be confident, strong and active in sport, life and relationships.

Q&A with Susie O'Neil