Personal Next – How Elite Athletes Navigate Career Transition

By Sherri Middleton

I received a review copy of a book earlier this year that I’ve been trying to read here and there when I’ve had time. I finally sat down to read it recently and felt it was a good one to share with our sports industry partners.

            Personal Next: What We Can Learn from Elite Athletes Navigating Career Transitionby a former Olympic swimmer includes interviews with more than 100 elite athletes and other high achievers who have transitioned in their lives. The book also offers practices and insight to help others – not just athletes – face the challenges ahead.

            As the back cover of the book suggests: “Life after the pinnacle of success doesn’t have to be all downhill. If you are struggling to find your feet after coming off a personal best, reading this book will help you to prepare for success in your personal next.”

            Harrison was a multi-year All American swimmer and captain of the University of Michigan swim team. She competed for Canada as Melinda Copp in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and now she is a certified professional coach who helps others transition through the stages of life success.

            “I know how difficult it can be for someone who has achieved great heights to let go of past glories and find a new path to meaning,” said Harrison. “This book will help recalibrate how you see performance, and specifically peak performance – not as a capstone event but as one of many important but distinguishable peaks you will have in your life.”

            The book combines stories of top athletes and other peak performers along with the authors personal experience from training, challenges and life after reaching the peak of a personal best.

            “The reality is that your future goals will be different from those in your past,” Harrison said. “However, you can use what you’ve already learned – the practices that contributed to your personal best – to fuel your next adventures and propel you to your personal next.”

            The book provides readers with nine-key practices for achieving the next personal success.

            It also discusses athlete autopilot, failure as a gift, gut checks, identity shifts, self-measurement of old definitions of wins and new versions of competition. Readers will also learn about the importance of acknowledging feelings of doubt or anxiety ad pivot points for finding new forms of fulfillment and joy when facing changes.

            Personal Next is available in paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo in Canada, and other major booksellers.

            To learn more about Harrison or her new book, visit