Epiphanies have always come to me in the water. As a swimmer, I used to wish that there was a device that would record my thoughts as I stared down at that black line. People say it’s a lonely sport, but as an adult with real world thoughts and challenges, it was an introvert’s dream. These days, post my Feb 14 ankle surgery, those deep thought processes are confined to the shower. This morning I was reconciling a conversation I had with Matthew, my 14 year old, who happens to be a very literal thinker.
“BE BETTER?” He asked. “Mom, that sounds harsh.”
I paused. Over this process of developing a mission driven business, I have wrestled with my ego, I’ve written, watched, learned, taken notes, had the best conversations and made connections with people I never knew were headed my way. But I have also sat frozen on my couch, completely overwhelmed, drowning in information and fear of failure, so the last thing I want to sound like to anyone reading or listening is harsh. What I figured out in that process though, is that no matter what our ego wants to tell us, this game of life, or even a battle on the court, it is never an all or nothing proposition.
Every life is filled with moments of victory and defeat, love and loss, process and achievement, but what ends up defining our journey is the way we learn to respond to whatever crosses our path. It was here that I learned to gain confidence because I believed in my ability to adapt, rather than base my confidence in what I already knew for sure. What a game changer. Yoga and mindfulness practices helped me learn to sink into a feeling of being instead of doing, and things began to flow, on the volleyball court and in my life. And that’s where the concept of ‘BE BETTER’ started. ‘BE BETTER’ isn’t harsh, it’s meant to give the grace to take it slow, so that we can feel safe enough to self-reflect and know that perfection is an illusion, so we don’t get stuck and try to do more and more to feel worthy. That is the prescription for burnout, not greatness.
Over the last few months, I added a podcast called ‘What I Meant to Say’ with the vision of giving ourselves some grace when we get the chance to tell our story with the benefit of hindsight. Another tenet I hold on to is that we go through difficult times in our lives, not just to make us stronger, but so that we can help others, and my hope is that these conversations will do that. With three releases so far, I can see the stories of athletes and leaders from all walks of life connect and synergize in a way that not only teaches growth mindset, but inspires us to make choices based on love not fear, and abundance instead of scarcity.
As I listened to these first three conversations, Episode 1 with Toni Rodriguez, Episode 2 with Savvy Simo, and Episode 3 with Kahlee York, all three NCAA beach volleyball alumni and current up and comers on the professional scene, and BE BETTER featured athletes. Through their stories, they connected a message of tenacity, sensitivity, and self care that makes both a good life and a great leader. Each of these vulnerable stories recounted the highs and lows of their journeys and will inspire you to live authentically as you compete in your own game of life. Their stories reinforced my belief that the best way forward is to compete with ourselves and collaborate with our communities so that we can be strong on our own and better together. To get where I am meant to go, I have had to stare down at my own black line and not worry about what is to either side of me, but when we come out at the end, I believe in the community of support that is there for all us just trying to BE BETTER, one breath at a time.
With love & optimism,