I’ve fallen asleep for the last five nights swimming in a sea of gratitude for this place, it’s absolutely alive with the most magnificent energy I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never been “glamping” but I would consider this trip exactly that. We dropped in on a place in the rainforest where people are the visitors and our energy was on loan from the trees and wild creatures that call it home. It was a week of calm, the jokes were pure and funny, and we found one of those places in the world that will make me better just because I know it exists. Luke wants to bring home a monkey, I want an Ocelot…since neither will happen, I guess we’ll have to come back to visit.
So often the lesson for me is about letting go - of expectations, of control, of the way things are supposed to look, and when I slow down and see what is, I realize that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. There will always be the things in life that come to challenge us and make us stronger, but when it’s peaceful and good, don’t forget to sit and watch it for a moment, you can see the energy glow in this place. It lowers my heart rate and brings tears to my eyes, because o often I forget about the time that has passed and the places we have had to go to get to this place. The last podcast I did before we came on this glorious trip was with Jim Karas, New York Times best selling author, he and his daughter wrote Confessions of a Division I Athlete together. One of the things we talked about was the importance of showing your kids your mistakes. What I realized on this trip was that we have broken through to a place that is so real it and honest it that anywhere feels like home, and we have a closeness even when we aren't together. It’s a beautiful place to sit, be able to trust this energy, and know how to stoke its fire to help them create a life path that has no expectation of what they will be, just who they will be. My deepest desire for each of them are to be strong, kind, unselfish and free.
I realize what I saw on this trip is our family’s collective nervous system. It's healing and it's good for all of us. To be able to downshift together wasn’t just calming, but confidence building as well. As I sat on the back of the jet ski with my 17 year old driving, I realized that I’ve spent most of my life struggling to lean into the curve and go with the struggle. That need for control comes when I try to avoid what I don’t want to happen, rather than trusting that the struggle is part of the process to lead to exactly where we are supposed to go. This week that struggle broke free to beautiful flow that I’ll never forget. It’s a wonder to sit and look at these beautiful giant humans…22, 20, 17 & 15. This is a definitive sweet spot. What a ride it’s been, and with our energy recharged, it feels like it’s just getting started.
What I enjoy so much about this new ‘What I Meant to Say’ podcast journey is the wisdom that flows from people of all ages and walks of life and the way it helps me connect the dots to high performance. One of these great conversations was with Mike Hagensick, a Special Education Consultant and Swim Coach from Iowa, not to mention a husband and father to TWO sets of twins, ages 4 & 2 (that should shed some light on his energy level). Our connection came through my favorite podcast, Finding Mastery. Years ago, Mike started a program to teach special needs kids how to swim that caught my eye. I sent him a small donation to support his efforts and our conversations have continued through his podcast with the E3 collective and now mine. This week, as I worked on a video about the IEP process to send to an teachers conference in Iowa, I was amazed at how that long distance connection (we’ve never met in person) that started out small has helped me see my own massively transformative purpose for my own life:
I started Be Better because I believe that every human, not just an athlete or a performer, is on their own path to high performance and through storytelling, human connection and better understanding of the habits and innovative products and services that are out there to help us unlock it, we can build an empowered community to inspire that journey.
Pulling on this thread has helped me unlock healing in myself, my kids, and the people I work with so that our lives become more calm and connected and, through that, purpose emerges. I count my blessings daily that so many meaningful relationships have come from this social media space…it doesn’t just have to be a place of mindless scrolling. The world is smaller because of it and there is a parallel universe of great wisdom emerging beyond the dust of the 24/7 news media that help us find alignment within ourselves and build that out into our communities.
This weekend part of this connected vision comes to life down in Louisiana. My friend Shawn Ledig, another entrepreneur, athlete, and family man, with boundless energy and heart, put together a volleyball team for the Special Olympics and they compete on Saturday July 16. I wish I was there because just through the photos and videos he has shared, I can feel what he has achieved. The path to high performance and inclusion are not mutually exclusive, and Shawn and his team are living it. Kindness is inclusive, and that helps everyone BE BETTER.
There is a spring in my step, because work doesn’t feel like work and this world of BE BETTER expands and sheds light in corners that need to be seen. Don’t be afraid to reflect on where you have been, it's likely to lead you to a place of greater passion and purpose. Check out some of these What I Meant to Say conversations and stay on your own path to high performance. There is a beautiful view when you can see the universal truth in every stories, and realize that your path doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” - Ronald Reagan
As a kid, 4th of July was my favorite holiday next to Christmas. Staying in my bathing suit all day, feet burning on hot pavement, and popsicles and fireworks in the street are among my favorite childhood memories. This holiday weekend though, what is heavy on my mind is how different what I learned about America was from what my kids learn. Last weekend a sweet 15 year old girl asked the question “Why is it a big deal when people take a knee during the national anthem?” and I was grateful to be the one who got to answer her. What she heard from me about the sacrifice made by men and women of past generations under that flag for our freedom definitely wouldn’t be the answer she’ll get at school. Everywhere we look, the message that we have nothing to be proud of as Americans is being spread loudly to the next generation. Yesterday I saw the headline that a woman member of the Contra Costa school board called for a boycott of the 4th of July because there is nothing to celebrate about America. Just the fact that criticism gets a headline shows what there is to celebrate, but all points of view don't share that same freedom these days.
What the next generation believes about America becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. This country is only as great as the people who have the energy to get up and make it happen and as that torch is passed to them, the current narrative will never give them the energy or belief that has been the bedrock of our country in generations past.
Today there is a great divide between real people and power and it's easy to get discouraged. I only let the news in enough to be informed instead of inflamed. The reality of the headlines and everyday life for regular people, from gas prices, bare store shelves and ridiculous arguments about whether a man can get pregnant are exhausting for everyone and we have to choose where we expend our energy.
American life comes with personal responsibility and a hopefully hefty dose of self reflection. When we know this, we have the power to change things from a conscious mind and heart rather than what we see today that more and more looks like a giant trauma bond. So often what we criticize is what we fear most about ourselves. We will never empower from a place of lack, and yet that place of lack and unworthiness is the loudest story out there. Greatness comes with the ability to stand on our own feet, and the ability to recognize where we need to adapt and change to BE BETTER, then we can ask for the support we need to do that. The state of our country can’t be greater than the state of our homes, or our own hearts, minds and spirits. So many of the root problems in America could be solved with introspection instead of outrage. Maybe then we could consciously and calmly connect to talk about the differences between us.
Last night my friend Chrissy and I sat on the beach, watching her boys play in the water until the moon rose in the sky. You could barely see it shining, it was only 2% illuminated according to Google, but it was there and it was beautiful. Our shine is still there if you look for it, I see it everyday. If we don’t teach them to look for the shine, they will never discover how to create it for themselves. What we focus on grows, and in so many places we are focused on the wrong things. Look for that sliver of light this weekend, and be one who coaxes it along until it shines brightly again. See the light, be the light, and let the connection come from there.
Happy 246th birthday America. I believe in you.
With love and optimism,