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Medal-Worthy Lessons from an Olympian

By The Inspired Investor Team

Published December 4, 2023 • 7 Min Read

Investors know a thing or two about facing uncertainty, weathering ups and downs and setting ambitious goals. Not surprisingly, so do Olympic athletes.

In fact, as you dive into our Ready, Set, GO(al)! series with RBC Olympians, you’ll find many similarities when it comes to setting your sights on success. And as for setting big goals and creating a strategy for achieving them, there’s no better time for inspiration than as we head into a new year.

In the first of our series, we chat with 26-year-old elite taekwondo athlete Jordan Stewart, a member of Team Canada and a Paris 2024 Olympic hopeful. He shares his thoughts on success, goal-setting, money matters and sport. Oh, and we threw in a few rapid-fire questions for fun.

On success, adversity & motivation

As an athlete, how do you deal with adversity and uncertainty?

Overcoming adversity, for me, is just trying to take a step back. I look at the bigger picture, knowing that setbacks are meant to happen. It’s part of life. There will be good days and bad days, but I just try to go with the flow. Success isn’t linear and you will face obstacles and difficulties along the way. The key is to handle adversity with resilience and perseverance, and to keep working hard towards your goal.

For investors: Market ups and downs are a part of investing. Volatility is unavoidable – and knowing that is half the battle. Discover 7 Strategies for Success in Volatile Markets.

What’s one of the best investments you’ve made in yourself?

During COVID, I was able to take a step back and just focus on myself. I was reading more generally and picked up mindfulness. I started doing yoga a lot more. So I think the best investment would be just investing in my spirituality and myself overall.

Where does your motivation come from?

My motivation comes from and for my teammates, which is a group of 10 to 12 juniors. When I’m feeling down, I look to my left and look to my right, and I see that I’m inspiring someone that has the potential to go further in the sport. I’m just always pushing forward to be able to help future generations eventually achieve their goals.

For investors: Like most things, when it comes to investing, you have to find your own personal “why.” Learn more in Saving for a Big Goal? Here are 5 Tips for Keeping Your Eye on the Prize.

What’s one piece of information you like to pass on to younger athletes?

It’s a bit cliché, but never give up. It won’t always be easy, but you can make it through the adversity and the hard times. When you’re able to push past your wall, you’ll see that you can overcome anything. That’s the beauty of sport.

What’s one misconception most people have about Olympians?

That we’re overnight successes. I don’t think people understand that it sometimes takes four, eight or 12 years to get to where where you are winning a medal at the Olympic Games. It’s not just a one-year process for anyone. So there really is no overnight success.

For investors: Time is a huge component of investing. Consistency can be a big driver of success. Read Why My First $100,000 Was a Magical Milestone (And What Comes Next) for one investor’s story about hitting a first goal.

On money matters

First word that comes to mind when you hear the word money?


What do you think of when you hear investing?

Long term.

What does financial intelligence mean to you?

The ability to manage your money wisely, not only by saving it, but also by investing it in ways that generate more income and wealth for you.

Are you a saver or a spender?

It depends on the day, the month, the season. I will say I’m more of a saver.

What’s one thing that’s hard to pass up when you do spend money?

I can’t pass up experiences, likes concerts or travelling. If it’s a good time, I want to be part of it. So those are hard to skip.

Do you have financial worries as an athlete?

As athletes, our financial streams can vary, and they also come in waves. So you can deal with a lot of financial uncertainty. We have to think ahead and plan carefully. We also have to deal with the risk of getting injured, which can affect our financial situation. I tend to be conservative with how much I spend to make my money last as long as possible.

For investors: Isn’t that the truth! Many investors face challenges and can feel doubt. Learn how to Tame Money Anxiety and Make It Work for You.

When it comes to your own money philosophy, what influences you the most?

I think about myself 10 years from now and I wonder what kind of lifestyle he wants to live. And I kind of try to live my life today for that life in the future – for what I want to happen 10 years from now.

For investors: Self-care comes in many forms. Looking ahead to your future can be one of life’s greatest gifts. Find out Why Investing Is One of the Best Gifts You Can Give Yourself.

What are some of your longer-term financial goals?

I want to be financially safe and secure, be able to give back more and hopefully buy a home one day.

For investors: Buying a home is a key goal for many. Watch First Home Savings Account Explained in 2 Minutes to learn if it’s an option for you.

When you think about your own finances, what makes you the most anxious?

I think just the rising prices of everything.

Jordan Stewart

On goals

Did you always have a goal to be an Olympian?

I did not. Growing up, I was never really the star athlete or even the star in the family. I was always in the shadow of my older brother. So shout to Matthew for pushing me and helping me get here!

For investors: Setting financial goals can be challenging. Here’s How a Master List Can Help You Prioritize Your Goals.

What advice do you have for anyone striving for a goal?

Like I said earlier, success is not linear. There will be setbacks for sure. There will be downsides. There will be slow months, slow years and even slow seasons. But it’s how you bounce back from that and how you persevere.

On sport

What’s one misconception about taekwondo that you’d like to clear up?

Taekwondo is not karate. I know everyone watched Karate Kid and many think it’s the same thing. But Taekwondo is very different from from karate.

What’s the best feeling you can have in your sport?

The best feeling would be landing a spinning hook kick. When you hit one of those, it’s just an unreal, surreal feeling. Second, the jackpot.

Who is a non-sport role model for you?

That would be my parents. They are hardworking and dedicated. They raised a beautiful family and I’m just honoured to be part of it.

What do you see yourself doing after retiring from sport?

I see myself travelling the world, enjoying life, living life, having life experiences with wonderful people — and probably running a business somewhere.

Rapid-Fire Round

Cats or dogs?

Team dogs all the way.

Favorite genre of music?

Hip hop.

Best concert you’ve ever been to?

OVO Fest 2019

More introverted or extroverted?

More introverted.

Pineapple on pizza?

100% pineapple belongs on pizza.

How many glasses of water a day do you drink?

I’d say about eight to 10 maybe 12 glasses.

Would you rather skydive or bungee jump?

Both are on the bucket list, but I think higher on the list would be skydiving.

To learn more about setting yourself up to reach your own goals, reach out to a financial advisor or explore ways you can put your money to work for you.

The RBC Olympians program is a national initiative that provides support to Canadian athletes through all phases of their careers, helping them succeed in sport and in life. Find out more here.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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