The Anatomy of a GREAT Talk: Valorie Kondos Field’s “Why Winning Doesn’t Always Equal Success”

The Anatomy of a GREAT Talk: Valorie Kondos Field’s “Why Winning Doesn’t Always Equal Success”

The Anatomy of a TED Talk - Valorie Kondos Field

Every time you WIN, is it a SUCCESS?

In this talk by Valorie Kondos Field, she explains why winning isn’t considered a success.

Valorie Kondos Field, referred to as Miss Val, is a retired American gymnastics coach, known for leading great athletes to astounding success. Here, she tells us more about how she defines success.

A while back, I introduced you to the FRAMEWORK we use with our clients to create their talks. It breaks down the presentation into different key elements that contribute to an overall great talk. This is NOT A FORMULA –  it’s a simple framework– the box which holds the sand– so that you can create your unique, authentic talk!

This framework has helped people write TED-style talks, Keynote Speeches, 5-minute pitches as well as full day-long workshops. It can be adapted to the context of your presentation while guiding you to cover the most important elements for effectively connecting with your audience.

Let’s take a look at how this powerful talk from Valorie Kondos Field fits in with the framework!


MINUTE 00:53  

“But I am here to share my insight: winning does not always equal success. All across America and around the world, we have a crisis in the win-at-all-cost cultures that we have created. In our schools, in our businesses, in politics, winning at all cost has become acceptable. 

So I’m calling for a time-out. Time-out. We need to redefine success. Real success is developing champions in life for our world, win or lose.”



MINUTE 02:43  

“Real success is developing champions in life, not for your team, not for your business and, I’m sad to tell you, not even for your Christmas card bragging rights. Sorry.”


MINUTE 03:08 

“Let me take you back to 1990, when I was first appointed the head coach of the UCLA Women’s Gymnastics Team. And I would like to share with you that I’ve never done gymnastics. I grew up in the world of ballet. I have never done a cartwheel, and I couldn’t teach you how to do a proper cartwheel.”



MINUTE 05:25  

“I realized that I needed to fortify our student-athletes as whole human beings, not just athletes who won. So success for me shifted from only focusing on winning to developing my coaching philosophy, which is developing champions in life through sport. And I knew if I did this well enough, that champion mentality would translate to the competition floor. And it did. The key ingredient was to develop trust through patience, respectful honesty and accountability — all of the ingredients that go into tough love.”

MINUTE 06:14  

“Speaking of tough love, Katelyn Ohashi is a perfect example of this. You may have all seen her floor routine. It has had over 150 million views. And the consensus is, her performance is pure joy. However, when Katelyn came to UCLA, she was broken in body, mind and spirit. She had grown up in a stereotypical, very high-level athletic world, and she was damaged. So when Katelyn came to UCLA her freshman year, she found her inner rebel quite well, to the point where she was no longer able to do gymnastics at the level at which she was recruited. And I will never forget a team meeting we had halfway through her freshman season. We were in there with the team, the coaching staff, the support staff, sports psychologist, and Katelyn very clearly and unapologetically said, “I just don’t want to be great again.”



MINUTE 08:26  

“And further proof that dictating was not going to win. So I embarked on the painfully slow process of building trust and proving to her that first and foremost I cared about her as a whole human being. Part of my strategy was to only talk to Katelyn about gymnastics in the gym. Outside of the gym, we talked about everything else: school, boys, families, friends, hobbies. I encouraged her to find things outside of her sport that brought her joy. And it was so cool to see the process of Katelyn Ohashi literally blossom before our eyes.”



MINUTE 09:00  

“And through that process, she rediscovered her self-love and self-worth. And slowly, she was able to bring that joy back to her gymnastics. She went on to earn the NCAA title on floor, and she helped our team win our seventh NCAA championship in 2018.”

MINUTE 11:29  

“It was the first time that Kyla had shared with anyone that she had been sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, who was later convicted of being a serial child molester. Kyla came forward and joined the army of Nassar survivors who shared their stories and used their voices to invoke positive change for our world.”

MINUTE 12:53 

“Kyla came up to me and shared with me the fact that she felt one reason that we’d won was because we had addressed the elephant in the room, the tragedy that had not only rocked the world but that had liberated the truths and the memories in herself and in so many of her friends and her peers. As Kyla said, “Ms. Val, I literally felt myself walk taller as the season went on, and when I walked onto that championship floor, I felt invincible.” Simply –”



MINUTE 09:42  

“So let’s think about the Katelyn Ohashis in your life. Let’s think about those people under your care and your guidance. What are you telling your kids on the car ride home? That car ride home has much more impact than you know. Are you focusing on the end result, or are you excited to use that time to help your child develop into a champion? It’s very simple: you will know you’re focusing on the end result if you ask questions about the end result. “Did you win?”

“How many points did you score?” “Did you get an A?” If you truly are motivated about helping your child develop into a champion, you will ask questions about the experience and the process, like, “What did you learn today?” “Did you help a teammate?” And, my favorite question, “Did you figure out how to have fun at working really, really hard?”

Check out more about Valorie Kondos Field HERE!

If you are saying to yourself… easier said than done, this formula looks great, BUT not sure how it can work for you, then download the 7 STEPS TO WRITE YOUR TALK framework and let me walk you through it. DOWNLOAD NOW 

Check out more examples of GREAT TALKS!

We are preparing for our first LIVE WORKSHOP of 2020 where we will focus on SCALABLE BUSINESS MODELS. Want to join us? Learn more!

In Clarity,





Dolores Hirschmann is an internationally recognized strategist, Clarity coach, TEDxOrganizer, Speaker & Author. She has over 20 years experience helping entrepreneurs, companies & organizations realize their potential—by guiding them to CLARITY—to define their CORE IDEA, message and market strategy needed to reach their next level of growth. As a Speaker Coach Dolores guides speakers to go from successful professionals to thought leaders in their field. If you would like to learn more visit: or download her free resource “STAND OUT THE TED WAY”
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