Making my case for leaning in, out and on.
Last week was a big week for me, full of “leaning in” to fears and feeling the excitment. It started with jumping out of an airplane and ended with a public speaking gig on the book Lean In by Sherly Sandberg. Both were scary, nerve wracking events, but they were exciting and admittedly fun as well! Of course, by the weekend I was sleeping 12 hours per night and completely lethargic, the yin to the yang.
Lean Out—The Jump
I’ve always wanted to skydive, but as a neurotic professional athlete, I couldn’t partake in extreme sports while competing. Those years were followed by a pregnancy, nursing, and an attempt to return to competitive athletics. For a long time I’ve kept that self-preservation, bubble-wrap lifestyle... until now. When my friend told me recently she was planning a skydiving event with high tech-underwear company Dear Kates (soon to be collaborator with Believe I Am.. watch this space), I saw it as an opportunity to scratch an item off my bucket list and spontaneously said, “Yes! Lets do this!” Thankfully, my hubby also gave me the green light at the very last minute :)
Skydiving is the best rush ever! Its frightening to think about, but really exciting and exhilarating to take part in. Having a group of #sistersinadventures to share the experience with and some really dead-on tandem instructors made the whole thing doable for me. It wasn’t until the last second, when I saw the girls jump in front of me, that I thought, “this is stupidest thing I have ever seen!”. An instant later I had jumped and was falling 120mph from the sky without any time to think. Then the initial rush passed and I found myself floating above the Hudson Valley basking in the sun and enjoying a bird’s eye view of an area I know and love well (my in-laws live up there). The entire experience was so exhilarating that I couldn’t sleep from all of the adrenaline in my system—kind of like after smashing your personal best in a big race! In the subsequent days my friend Mylene and I just kept looking at each other and saying, “We did that, can you believe it?” It was a very empowering experience. If I can do that, I can do anything!
Watch a video of the jump here.
Lean In—The Book
My second experience of “leaning in” to fear that week came via a local Pecha Kucha. Although I admittedly have the Irish gift of the gab, I still share the world’s #1 fear (it’s not jumping out of planes)—public speaking. Here at Believe I Am we are all about encouraging people to overcome obstacles and reach their potential. This leaves me no choice but to practice what I preach. If I talk the talk, I need to walk the walk. Remeber, thoughts become words; words become actions. This event wasn’t a spontaneous decision. It was something I had planned to do. I knew I had a resistance around public speaking and that the only way to deal with this was to do it and overcome the fear associated with it.
I have lots of strategies for dealing with fear and nervousness from racing as a professional athlete. I knew that simply labeling the stressor as a “challenge” (instead of a fear) can really affect the psychosomatic response. This Pecha Kucha was an opportunity to test these theories in the real world. I know that rushing around and training hours before the race is the worst thing you can do for performance. I also know I should be mindful and ignore the “mental gunk” and internal chatter of identifying as a “non-public speaker.” I was prepared and armed for the “fear” (aka “excitement”) as it came and went leading up to the speaking engagement. In addition to being motivated and really wanting this experience, having a strategy and being prepared helped immensely. I was determined to disarm fear’s hold on me! I wore my “I Am” butterfly necklace as my shield and as a reminder to be courageous and to give the love :)
If you haven’t read book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg I’d highly recommend it. As mother running my own business, I loved reading about such a successful woman. My favorite part of the book is where Sandberg explains that the main roadblock for any woman’s success is her own internal obstacles—self-doubt, shyness, lack of confidence etc. It is this EXACT reason why we started Believe I Am! We wanted to share our own experiences – specifically that despite being elite runners, we also had to overcome these same obstacles. And overcoming self-sabotage is important in each step of setting, sticking to, and achieving your goals.
Lean On—Your Support
One thing that is really evident to me about leaning in, is that if we are leaning forward in one direction, we are also leaning back in another. This balancing act is really a dance (balance comes from balar: to dance) of leaning in and out, side to side, up and down. As I lean in to my roles as a mother and owner of a small start-up business, I must recognize that I’m leaning back from my previous life of racking up 80-90 miles per week of running—and thats ok. I’m spending my time doing what I love, so leaning back on running is what I need and, more importantly, what I want at this time in my life.
If we are really leaning in and going after our dreams, we also need a support system before we fall flat on our face. This is where our family (or close friends) and our community can really help us transcend our individual potential. My community of “Run Providence” elite runners have helped me become a better runner, and have made the entire experience a lot of fun. Its all about finding your flock! This community of support is our vision for Sisters in Sport: a network to share knowledge, encouragement, dreams, and desires (More to exciting developments to come on that front this month!). Before I arrived at the skydiving ranch last week, I had never met Gia and Michelle, two running friends of running friends who happen to be the models that jumped out of the plane with us for Dear Kates. I felt like I knew them right away, and I can’t wait to meet them for a run someday soon. #Sistersinsport is real, people :) Virtual friends can turn into real friends—Hooray!
Don’t waste your time believing you can’t. Learn strategies for overcoming your fears. Be mindful of the negative self-chatter that can hold you back, and set a goal to squash your fear. You will set yourself free to float like a butterfly :)
How to win a free "I AM" Butterfly Necklace
Let me hear a fear you would like to overcome! Expose that weed so we can help you chop it up and get it out of your mental and emotional space. Share your fears in the comments below and to celebrate the launch of our new eco-friendly USA made "I Am" Butterfly Bling and you could be in with a chance to win one!
Rules to enter:
- Name one fear you want to overcome or have already overcome in the comments below.
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- Tweet "I entered to win @BelieveIAm “I Am” #ButterflyBling necklace. Lean in to fear: http://bit.ly/14Qy6XK"
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You’ve got until midnight EST July 7th to enter to win!
There can only be one winner, but everyone else can get a FREE journal with any Butterfly Necklace purchase before midnight EST Sunday July 7th!
The winner is Megan Buschkopf! Please email me email@example.com before July 14th. Thank you!