How Basketball Taught Me to Deal with Failure

Thursday, September 24, 2020
Milena Flores

Milena Flores

Associate Director of Academic Counseling
Rainier Scholars

Milena Flores was shy growing up, so her parents enrolled her into the first sport available that was basketball, hoping that playing in a team sport would help her overcome being shy. That nudge from her parents grew into a love and passion for basketball that led Milena to Stanford University and the recognition of being an All Conference Pac-10 player in her junior and senior seasons. She continued her basketball career after graduating playing professionally for two seasons in the WNBA and then transitioning to playing in Europe.

This experience presented a number of challenges and opportunities for Milena to succeed and fail. A commitment to a daily routine and striving for continual improvement in these high-pressure environments helped her develop resiliency and a mindset for success.

As Milena began to wind down her professional career, the opportunity to enter coaching emerged as a way to continue in the sport she loved and continued her on a path to learn about leadership. Just being a great player did not guarantee you would be a great coach.

Milena's determination as a player helped her develop the leadership concepts that lead to a very successful college coaching career where she helped guide Princeton to six Ivy League Titles and 7 NCAA Tournament appearances.

The lessons learned in coaching are transferrable to business today as being a great sales person does not mean you will be a great sales manager. Milena talks about the insights into being an effective leader that she learned through basketball and how these same principals can be applied to inspire high performance.

As the first person in her family to go to college Milena is passionate about teaching young people how to become resilient and fulfill their dreams. Today, Milena focuses her efforts on counseling students how achieve success academically and chart a path to fulfill the goal of going to college.

Watch this inspirational interview with Milena Flores on how sports and coaching successes and failures provided life lessons to become resilient.

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