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  • Writer's pictureDave Veale

Strength and resilience in the face of adversity

Updated: Jan 29

There are many things I admire about Emily Rodger, a high-performance athlete, including her strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

But I have to say it’s Emily’s authenticity that is wonderfully impressive – the fact that she presents herself with no pretense or artifice, with an open, welcoming approach to life and the world.

She is truly inspiring, with an amazing story to tell of personal triumph that is uplifting for everyone.

Raised in New Brunswick, Emily is well-known in athletic circles for her success in cycling and the triathlon. She is a two-time, UCI GranFondo World Champion, both time trial and road race, a Canadian Masters National Time Trial Champion, and a 70.3 Ironman world qualifier. She loves cycling and it is a sport that has given her great personal satisfaction and success.

As a cyclist, though, Emily has twice been involved in horrific crashes with vehicles, resulting in multiple broken bones, a brain injury, and extensive soft tissue damage.

Fought back bravely

She has fought back bravely from both accidents and the experiences have shored up her inner strength and determination.

“I simply want to share with you that I know how it feels to be shattered, both mentally and physically,” she says. “But no matter how broken you are or may feel, there is always a way out of our darkest places.”

“But no matter how broken you are or may feel, there is always a way out of our darkest places.” ~Emily Rodger

That is a theme that plays out in a powerful way in a new film about Emily and her journey. Cadence: Breaking Rhythm and Finding Pace, brought to life thanks to my friend Greg Hemmings and Hemmings House, is debuting at film festivals.

She has also recently become a leadership coach – a development that followed her own experience being coached by one of my colleagues at Vision Coaching.

Special guest co-host

And I’m delighted that she will be making special guest co-host appearances on upcoming episodes of The Boiling Point podcast, sitting in for Greg.

Emily recently lit up social media by posting a photo of herself sporting her trademark big smile – except this time one of her front teeth is missing.

Most of us would disappear into a dark room when faced with the prospect of meeting people minus a front tooth. Few of us have the self possession and authenticity to simply say to the world, ‘This is how I am for now, a little less than perfect.’

As Emily put it, she made a choice. “The choice that I would keep showing up. I encourage my clients to bring their WHOLE selves to our coaching calls and I will continue to do the same – front tooth or not! Whistle while I work? Don’t mind if I do.”

Touched a nerve

There has been a huge response to Emily’s post, including about 2,500 comments. The missing tooth traces back to one of her accidents and the reconstructive surgery she has needed on an ongoing basis. She literally touched a nerve, especially with others who have required complex fixes due to accidents.

You can take from this that Emily is a natural leader. She has the ability to inspire people and encourage them to make the kind of changes that bring success and happiness.

She has taken a step back from racing at the professional level to pursue all the things that bring her joy, including her passion for coaching others. She now has her own business, Emily Rodger Coaching, after graduating earlier this year from the executive coaching program at Royal Roads University.

What a journey, and an inspiration. I look forward to having her with me on The Boiling Point and sharing some of that. In the meantime, check out this earlier episode and stay tuned….

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