Monday, May 4, 2015

It Comes From Within

Why do some people seem to succeed at whatever they decide to do?  Have you ever thought that before?  It seems to come so easily from the outside looking in.  However, I’m pretty sure if you saw the trials and hours of dedication behind the scenes it would be apparent that the path to success was not a linear line, but rather a veering course that eventually arrived at the destination.  

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I recently had this thought as I was summarizing my life to a bunch of young women at a local junior high school program that I helped entitle “Strong is Beautiful”.  Each year about 80 girls or 80 boys in the 12-14 age range are assembled (alternating years) to spend a Friday night fostering their development with programs at an age where this kind of guidance is crucial.

As I looked out into their faces, I couldn’t help but think back to when I was that age.  There were times when girls could be so cruel to one another and my role models were extremely important.   I was so thankful for the shelter of sports to help me devote my time and energy to something I enjoyed and where I could see progress.  

My main points included making sure they knew that I came from a very small school in the local area and that at times, I felt very alone, like I would never find my place in this world.  I emphasized the importance of education and how committing to being the best student possible opened multiple doors for me in life.  I talked about confidence and examples in my own life of going against the grain when others doubted me or weren’t supportive of my crazy dreams or ideas.  I spoke about belief and how the person most important to be true to is staring back at you in the mirror every day. 

The comments suggested to me as good things to share were important messages for all of us, even as adults.  When asked the question:

“What would you say if you could tell your 8th grade-self something?

People responded with:
  • Nobody is born ____, you become _____ by taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves, or searching for opportunities that fit your passions.  There will never be another "you" on this planet, so make your life a good story to tell.
  • Be patient, listen to advice given.  Think hard about your decisions and realize it will impact you later in life.  Always listen and learn.
  •  You'll make it, you'll endure and your grown up life will be amazing!
  • If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right.
  • Have a deep love for God, maintain integrity, and always keep a strong work ethic; that's the one thing people can never take away.
  • The expert in anything was once a beginner.
  • Do what you love, it will lead you to the right people.  What other people think doesn't matter.
  • You can be healthy and accomplished at any size as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle both through mind and body! 
  • It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
  • Strength isn't always about winning.
  • Every day you wake up, choose a positive attitude no matter will learn in life that your choice of attitude may be the other thing you have control over.
  It doesn’t matter what your age, these lessons still apply.  

I’m so thankful for good role models in my life and people who spent time with me when I was young.  My coaches, teachers, parents, friend’s parents and other positive influences gave me the tools I needed to truly believe that anything was possible if I just took the time to make it a goal and broke it down into smaller steps.  I hope my message will resonate with these young ladies that the pictures of women that have been airbrushed in magazines are not the goal.  Instead, that using your body, thanking your body for all it can do and treating it well with good nutrition can make all the difference!  

Thank you to the school for providing this amazing program for our youth.  I’d love to see something like this at every school at some point.  These teachers made it happen and it can be something that will change the lives of these young people forever.  I’ll forever be grateful to be a small part of that experience.

I'm thankful to my sponsors that support me and are a part of these events as well!  

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