She has crushed barriers for companies such as Air Canada during pilot strikes, bankruptcies and mergers, turned around teams at national pharmaceutical companies during government reform, and busted Uber into Canada. In times of crisis, Tracy becomes a major disruptor of the norm, resulting in the companies she works with, out-performing on the stock market.
Oh, did I mention, Tracy has achieved all of this as an amputee of all four limbs and has also trialled at Paralympic downhill skiing and sailing selections?
Tracy’s feats have earned her the apt moniker, Unstoppable Tracy, and she now harnesses her abundant energy and passion for living life to the fullest as a sought-after motivational speaker and leadership expert.
Tracy’s unstoppable journey began after her time in a corporate job came to completion. She was talented at her work, but the companies she was with underwent structural changes, which meant their crisis was averted and they no longer needed Tracy. Although proud to have been so successful and helped these businesses through tough times, Tracy was still devastated the job was over. However, instead of dwelling on the past, Tracy quickly turned her attention to her life mantra; what you focus on grows. She had always been adventurous at heart – and a little competitive – so the solution was clear.
“I immediately asked myself, ”What is going to pick me up, no matter what?” Sailing is always my pick-me-up. But it was October and there was no sailing of my kind in Toronto in October, and no skiing yet either,” Tracy recalls.
“So, I searched where I might go sailing and found that San Diego had a regatta. I was still a beginner racer, though, so I thought I would just go and have fun. The same day I left my job, I spontaneously booked a flight and jumped on a plane to focus on something positive.”
Her rollercoaster of emotions continued as she got to the registration desk, only to be told the race was maxed out – but then a stranger offered her his ticket! She ended up getting a bullet (sailing talk for a win) in one of the races, and her passion for the sport was further fuelled.
Tracy set a goal to reach the Paralympic trials, but was told again and again how impossible it would be.
This is where Unstoppable Tracy was really unleashed. She would not take no for an answer; she knew sailing is what she wanted to pursue at that moment and was determined to make her goal a reality. She moved countries, found her ideal coach and worked long hours for free just to be considered.
“The news that I was taking off to live in Miami to train a week or so after losing my job did not go over well. My family and friends all love me dearly, but many were not supportive of my journey out of fear for me. They were quite resistant, even angry, that I was leaving. Only one person—Cathy Smart, who taught me to sail in 1980—told me to go for it. Cathy’s encouragement meant the world, so off I set alone on my journey. If it didn’t fit in my car, it didn’t come with me.”
Tracy tracked down Magnus Liljedahl (an Olympic gold medal winner) to coach her. After months of living out of her car or on a boat, running errands and cleaning boats, Tracy had her moment to shine on the water. A short time later, she was living her dream and competing in numerous World Cup sailing regattas against able bodied, predominantly male competitors, as well as sailing in the Paralympic trials for the 2016 Rio Games.
“From day one, I had a deep, ingrained belief that I’m capable of exceeding those uncertainties. All of us can embrace possibility. Even if you don’t know how, jump anyway. Earn that independence,” she said.
“I encourage you to take safe risks and live a life philosophy of, ‘how do you know unless you try?’ Having uncertainty is no excuse for not taking action.”
Through her journey with Magnus, Tracy not only honed her captaincy on the water, but also learned many invaluable business skills along the way. Despite her achievements on and off the water, Tracy did not make the Games herself.
Although devastated, she was never one to accept standing still, so she regrouped and looked for other ways to focus her talents. Tracy and Magnus became heavily involved with the athletes of the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games and the club became internationally recognised by the Olympic committee. As it turns out, the journey was bigger than Tracy knew. “The Universe gives you what you need, even if you don’t always know why at the time,” she said.
It was at a free Facebook event day that she signed up to a high performance business coach and renowned speaker. From here, she returned to being a skyrocketing business coach again and became the #1 speaker across 72 countries. Her talks seamlessly bring together her years of learning through corporate roles and the added experience in the professional Olympic sailing scene to help others conquer their own impossible
“Through this means, I could apply my high-performance gold athletic coaching skills… compounded with a lot of intensity, failures and passion that had come out of my past six years of my journey while looking for a win. It turns out, my win was my business after all and making a difference for others,” Tracy said.
So, what is Unstoppable Tracy’s secret?
Focus and visualisation with action!
“Many people quote Napoleon Hill; “If you can conceive it, you can achieve it”, but people skip the third part – making it happen.”
“Embrace possibility…You can do it, even if you don’t know how JUST START. You will figure it out along the way.”