As she was figuring out a new finish line after graduation, her coach asked if she had considered being a coach herself. He saw potential in her for mentoring athletes even before Diljeet saw that side of herself.
Fast forward two decades, and Diljeet is the associate director of cross country and track and field at BYU, a role she’s held since 2019. She’s also been paving a renaissance in the women’s program at BYU. Diljeet has coached seven All-Americans in cross country and track, while earning five top-11 team finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
“My parents immigrated from India, and I grew up in a culture where we learned to celebrate and be happy for each other,” Diljeet says. “I also had a fifth grade teacher who inspired me by how she made a difference in my own life. I often think of her when I reflect on my current opportunity to make a difference in the lives of my BYU girls and my two sons.”
Harvesting Life’s Seeds
The beauty of the 40s is we’ve collected wisdom from past decades, climbed a few ladders, and still have peak energy to compete and succeed.
Diljeet’s 40s include harvesting seeds she’s sown both professionally and personally.
“I have always dreamed of being in a situation where I can really feel that I am making a difference and empowering people and helping them believe in themselves,” she says. “Because of where I’m at now, I get to actually see it come to life. I am witnessing all of those sacrifices come together and pay off. Being a coach helps me see others plant seeds of hard work and goal-setting.”
The relationships and the connections Diljeet develops with athletes is the most important part of her job.
“Faith, trust and love are important parts of our team culture,” Diljeet says. “That doesn’t mean it doesn’t get hard or that I don’t demand the best from them. It just means we evolve to that place. I still yell at them and make sure they know hard work is required. But it is a relationship that grows and evolves. It’s real. I have always wanted to be someone who made a difference in other people’s lives. Coaching is how I do that.”
Diljeet makes an even bigger impact at home, where she says her biggest accomplishment is raising her two boys.
“In the realm of life, they are my greatest joy,” she says.
With a career in full swing and her priorities solidly in place, Diljeet treats herself with fun fashion and experiences to be shared as a family. Time is the greatest currency at this stage of life.
“I am a little more greedy at this age with how my spare time is spent because I have less and less of it,” she says. “I am more intentional with how I fill my plate. Quality time with my children is most important. I value my family in ways I never knew I could. The space in my heart has grown as I’ve grown, and we have grown as a family.”
And while she’s at peace with her age, she also glances forward and wants the next decades to be just as rewarding.
“My question to women decades ahead of me would be how can we all learn to stay in the moment?” she asks. “I would love to live every second in the now — because when we don’t, it takes away from what is happening in this moment. Women decades ahead of me will always be an inspiration to me. I learn from mentors and coaches who’ve been where I’m going.”
Best Part of 40s
For BYU coach Diljeet Taylor, being in her 40s means harvesting seeds she has planted in both her professional and personal life. “I have always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives,” she says. As a mother of two and a coach of seven All-Americans (and counting) on the BYU cross country team, she’s on a run toward accomplishment and mentorship with energy and confidence.
Money & Time
With her career securely under way, Diljeet spends more money on clothes than she did in her 20s and 30s — and not just average T-shirts from Walmart. We’re talking splurges like Gucci belts and red-bottomed stilettos.
Diljeet describes the 20s and 30s as “being in the trenches.” She advises younger women to “keep focusing on the journey and enjoying the grind. Think big picture. There is no elevator to success. We all have to take the stairs one step at a time.”