Get to Know: Andrea Burk

(c) Olivia Merritt

(c) Olivia Merritt

Who are your role models? 

For me, role models are individuals who have the courage to be real, to be vulnerable, to be themselves, to share their journeys, and try each day to be their best. By looking to them as they go about life, they help me along my personal journey. Maybe your role models help you this way, too :) 

Today, I am excited to bring you one of my role models, Andrea Burk. Through sport, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Andrea several times.  She lights up the room with her awesome smile and infectious energy. She has achieved great success in women’s rugby, as well as in speaking and leadership development.

(c) Andrea Burk

(c) Andrea Burk

Andrea Burk is a Women’s Rugby World Cup silver medalist (2014) for Canada, a motivational speaker, and a rugby TV announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) during the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. A member of the National Senior Women’s Rugby Team since 2009, she was a 2015 Player of the Year finalist, named to the Women’s Rugby World Cup Dream Team, and was awarded Rugby Canada’s Gillian Florence award in 2014, which recognizes the player who best embodies the qualities of a Canadian national team player as voted on by her teammates. Andrea’s expertise is in building team cultures that thrive in highly competitive environments. She applies her proven strategies that make her a world-class athlete to motivate and inspire others to win in their own fields.  Follow her on her journey on Twitter & Instagram

Since rugby is all about scoring tries, I had to ask Andrea her strategies to help us all try daily to be our best selves. Read her interview below after you watch this sweet video she did for the holidays.

AM: Thanks for being here, Andrea. How has playing rugby impacted your life? 

AB: Rugby has been a big part of my life, especially for the past 8 years on the National team.  Rugby has been a place where I have been encouraged to be as strong and as powerful as I possibly can be.  Sometimes, outside of sport, we don't give ourselves permission to stand out or be assertive.  Rugby has helped me build a greater sense of respect for myself, and be more successful in life, off the field.  

AM: What advice would you have for someone interested in starting to play sport but doesn’t know how to start or is scared because they don’t know anyone?  

AB: Remember why you are doing it in the first place.  If you are there to play and learn, then go play and learn....meeting people will come naturally, and will be easier than you might think! 

AM: How has having a supportive team helped you achieve your dreams?  

AB: Having a supportive team is crucial to success.  When players change their mindset from "I want to succeed" to "I want for us to succeed,"  we have a much larger support network, feel less isolated in times of stress, and really have the foundation needed to rise above challenges.

First time I met Andrea (far left). 

First time I met Andrea (far left). 

AM: How do you maintain the balance between work and personal life? Why is it important? 

AB: I maintain a balance between work and personal life by doing what I love and by keeping a calendar. Having priorities, like deadlines and training sessions, laid out helps me make important decisions about where and how to use my time.  Being able to say 'No' to invitations is an important skill to hone. 

Work life balance looks different for everyone, yet at the end of the day, if we don't have some sense of balance we will burn-out.  This is important because burning out takes us out of the 'game'; it might look like an injury, illness, decrease in work quality, or failing to meet deadlines. 

AM: How do you practice self-care in your busy life? 

AB: I've developed a journal that I use every day.  In it, I track my goals, my dreams, my accomplishments, my failures, and my fears.  Keeping this balance enables me to be continually learning, letting go, and evolving. 

AM: How has a positive mindset influenced your work and home life? 

AB: A positive and honest/authentic mindset is the only way to live.  Our outlook colours our life; which way do you want to live?  I personally want to live where I look forward to the adventures that lie ahead.  There are days where nothing seems to go the right way, yet there will always be something good in the day, even if it's closing your eyes to go to sleep and let that one pass.  Likewise, the best day can happen, but if the focus is on the one negative aspect, well then is the whole day a wash?

Andrea empowering young girls at the Fast and Female event in April 2016. Photo: A. Merritt.

Andrea empowering young girls at the Fast and Female event in April 2016. Photo: A. Merritt.

AM: How do you cope with negative self-talk? 

AB: In the moment, I replace negative self-talk with strong empowering "I can...," "I am..." and other statements that keep me moving in the right direction.  Negative self-talk is mean, aggressive, and relentless; don't let it win the fight! The inner critic will back down with persistence. 

Negative self-talk makes me laugh when I picture it being played out outside of my head as if someone approaches me on the street and says these things to me out loud.  I wouldn't stand for it.  I would laugh in their face and do it anyways. 

AM: How do you practice being confident daily? 

AB: Positive self-talk, humour, and compassion. Journalling the top 3 of five things that went well in the day really helps keep my head up in difficult times.  Growth and stretching our comfort zones doesn't always 'feel' good, but if your goals are important to you it will be totally worth it when you look back at how far you've come.  Its like working out at the gym or going for a run.  I don't know many people who can say a whole workout is blissful, but they certainly say they are happy they did it!  

AM: What is your number one productivity tip? 

AB: If I am at my desk working and my productivity is fading, I love throwing on some good music and dancing it out.  That 4 minute dance party jumpstarts the next hour of work. 

AM: For those who don’t know, a try is a way of scoring points in rugby. Lastly, what does the word try mean to you, Andrea? How important is it to try and work hard daily towards your dreams? 

AB: Try means “go do it!”  Don't be paralyzed with inactivity; take the next easiest step towards your goals!  I always remember receiving training programs for rugby. On day 1, I would scoff at the required weight in Weeks 3 and 4, never believing I could lift that much.  By week 4, I was lifting the required amounts and more.  I wouldn't have known I could do it if I didn't try on day 1.

If you can feel it and wish it in your heart, it can happen.  The Universe isn't so cruel to give a dream that can't be realized!



Thanks, Andrea, for speaking from the heart and empowering us all to try  to be our best even when there are obstacles in our path! I loved your words, “Try means go do it!” We all need reminders to stand out and be assertive.  

I talk to people daily who let their fears prevent them from showing up online, at the field, in their work, in relationships.  Does this sound like you? 

When you show up, you are proving to yourself that your fear doesn’t control you. You are also being a role model to many and teaching others to try.  

Today and moving forward, go do it! Try!  The world needs you. You never know what you will achieve if you don’t try.

Wishing you all a safe & happy holiday season!