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Leadership Library Selection: Rise: My Story

As a speed skier, Lindsey Vonn helped pave the way for female athletes, transforming how America sees and celebrates women in sports. In her empowering and honest memoir, Rise: My Story, she gives readers an inside look at her life, her success, and the countless obstacles she faced along the way.

Vonn's track record is truly unmatched. She's the most successful female skier in history, with four overall World Cup titles. In Rise, she gets into the nitty-gritty of how she got to the top of the mountain, giving readers a raw look into her mental health struggles and how she battles back.

"Your mental strength has everything to do with your success," she writes, and she admits it's not easy, detailing the ways she managed the many twists and turns in her own life.


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The title is Rise for a reason. To rise means there was a fall. As a competitive skier, there were countless falls on the snow and ice, but Vonn uses this metaphor to parallel the ups and downs she faced off the slopes as well.

She takes readers on a ride from the very beginning of growing up in Minnesota to her life today, including the setbacks that came and shaped her as a person—from devastating injuries, divorce, and the tough relationships she's had with other athletes.

Today, she's sending the ski lift down to the next generation with the Lindsey Vonn Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering underserved girls through camps, scholarships, and other experiences.


The way Vonn details the moments leading up to a race is riveting. She puts you in her skis and you can sense the quiet and the pressure she faced. With a small margin of error, skiing is a sport that has an added layer of danger to it, and she details some frightening moments. It's a sport that demands mental toughness, which Vonn learned to nurture through preparation.

"Preparation is the one thing I can control, so I've always controlled it to a T," she writes. "It's not superstition as much as it is comfort." She lists the ways she would visualize a course the night before a race, getting it down to the tiniest detail.

The power of visualization is an effective transferable leadership skill. Though you might not be faced with the physical danger of a winding ski slope, visualizing a successful presentation, meeting, or tough conversation with a family member will help you get to the finish line.

And when the prep works, remember what you did. Vonn writes about the exact process she'd stick to before a race, adding, "There is comfort in the routine." Once she discovered her ideal pre-race prep, she never varied from it.

Key Takeaways: RISE

In her book, Vonn writes about:

  • Her own mental health struggles and how to persevere

  • The sacrifices you have to make to achieve greatness

  • Goal-setting techniques and turning vision into reality

  • Managing a healthy work-life balance with a busy schedule

  • The power of grit and resilience to beat out the competition

  • Why taking risks is necessary to achieve your goals

Read Lindsey Vonn's Rise: My Story and see how to rise up from the hardest falls to become stronger than ever before.