Own Your Next Shot

What are you doing to get inspired, to push your boundaries, or tap into that spark that moves you forward? If you’ve ever felt like you just need a little jolt to jump start your own momentum, try something new.

For Christmas last year, my husband gave me a package of tennis lessons. For me. Just me. Not for our kids. Not for himself. For me. Yikes. Now, if you know us, you’re well aware that he’s an avid tennis player (and I’ll boast a little bit – he’s pretty good, too!). My kids also love to pick up anything with a ball, bat, or racquet. It’s a joy to watch them. Yet despite the years and years of my own time playing soccer, basketball, swimming, lacrosse, skiing, and more, these days I’m pretty much just the mini-van driver who gets them to all their games, practices, matches, lessons, and more. I show up with snacks, cheer like a super proud mama, and even jump in as interim coach when the head coach is out of town. Basically, I know my role in this joyous season of life!

I haven’t played competitively since club and intramural sports in college. Sadly, I went down with an ACL tear in a sorority flag football league my junior year (please don’t judge, y’all; we had so much fun!). After that encounter and the 2-year recovery period it took to get back to almost normal, I pretty much called it quits on anything that required contact on a field or a court. Since that moment, something has been missing for me. Growing up, team sports fueled me deep inside. They’re truly ingrained in my DNA, which is pretty much how I fell in love with group fitness as time moved on.

As an adult, I’ve been a true fitness professional, teaching group fitness classes in all my free time for over 15 years. The group effect of working out with others has been a driving force to keep me going. Let’s be honest, though – that means riding stationary bikes, doing yoga on a mat, and getting my heart rate up in about a 40-square foot studio space for 15 years. So, when my husband surprised me with tennis lessons over the holidays, I got excited, and pretty nervous at the same time. Could I do it? Was I ready? Who in the world has time for this? I freaked out a bit. No joke.

I was anxious, scared, and worried. I had a huge fear that people would silently judge me for being an almost 40-something trying to jump into a game I had no business playing. I was concerned I wouldn’t have enough time to make reasonable progress and would probably just flounder through this lesson 5-pack and be ready to call it quits. Thanks, but no thanks on the Christmas gift, honey. I was pretty much petrified on all levels, even though this should have totally been in my wheelhouse. Sports, movement, activity, competition, and teamwork. It was everything that should make sense to me and drive me, but I was scared.

In a funny way, I think my husband knew all of that. He knew I would be nervous, pressed for time to commit, and I would never truly dive into the sport if he didn’t push me toward the court. So, he did it. He presented me with the lesson package on Christmas morning (artfully disguised in an empty jewelry gift box, I might add), and after a month of the paper certificate sitting on my nightstand waiting to be redeemed, he finally made me sign up for those lessons. Why? Because he knew I needed to do something just for me. He knew I needed something that would spark my interest, push me to accomplish something new, and get me out of my comfort zone to the place I used to thrive. He knew all of that was just what I needed – and he was right.

I’m trying not to get hung up on the whole “I told you so” concept, but he deserves all the credit on this one. He was spot-on with what would propel me forward. This was exactly what I needed. I needed fire, I needed something to strive for, and I needed to feel engaged in something just for me again. He saw how motivated I was when my friends convinced me to train for and run my first half marathon last year, and how the energy, commitment, and mental game behind the preparation for that event truly transformed me. He knows me well. So, when the training was over, the race was run, and the winter months set in, he knew I needed more. Dang. He’s always right!

So, here’s the moral of the story: push yourself, and don’t hold back. Try something new. Find what fuels you and do something that will get you into your own fire tunnel. I was lucky to have friends and family who challenged me to take a leap and become a better version of me, and I’m so glad I listened. That said, they won’t always be there to tell you or me exactly what to do, so own your next shot. Groundstroke, volley, overhead, or serve – it doesn’t matter which shot you take – just own it. You get to make the call, and go for it.

But wait: You’re busy. You don’t have time. Your family comes first. You have a full-time job that needs so much focus right now. Trust me – I’m with you. I have that job, that family, and none of the extra time. I’ve heard it all, right in my own head. I’ve said all those things to myself day after day after day and made zero progress at life. So how did I fix it? I pushed through it. I said yes to those tennis lessons and I ignored the chatter. I let myself unleash into something new, something different, something hard. By the way, this tennis thing is hard, but I love it. The fact that I have to work hard at it while I continue to show up and try harder is what keeps me going.

Challenge yourself to do something for you. It will, without a doubt, make you better at all that you do – at home, at work, at school, and wherever else you’re called to play. I promise you that. Find something that pushes you, something that grows you, something that makes you a stronger version of you. When you do, you’ll find the time you need. You’ll make it work. You may have to set down one thing to pick up another, but you’ll get back to it. It will be there waiting for you when you’re ready. In the meantime, you’ll become your best you, and all the other things that keep you busy, pressured, and tight on time will work themselves out. They’ll fit into each and every week because you’re more driven, more focused, and more passionate about life. You’re more YOU. Go be you. You need this, and I want to see you shine too, on and off the court.


Some Love To My Fellow Moms

On this Mother’s Day, it only seems fitting to send some love to my fellow ladies who work so hard to truly be amazing moms at home, at work, and wherever we go.

You wake each morning, ready to tackle the day ahead, powering through your routine to make sure you’re ready for work before getting kiddos dressed, fed, teeth brushed, and lunches packed. If you’re one of the lucky ones, maybe you got to sneak in an hour to exercise first, but sometimes that’s a rare feat. You lather on their sunscreen and get them out the door, and if you’re anything like me, on more than one occasion you’ve probably left the house with mismatched earrings or mascara on only one eye because someone stole your attention while you hurriedly tried to get it all done. No worries – you’re a mom; it’s okay, and you’re doing your best. Don’t forget to pack the napkins you volunteered to bring for the class party.

Your days are likely filled with meetings, deadlines, proposals, reports, trainings, and more at the office. Your mind is racing as you’re trying to do your best to be the top-notch professional you know you can be. Your heart skips a beat when you look down at your phone and see the school calling, knowing in that instant your next call is not going to be the webinar you’re scheduled to lead, but instead a ring to the pediatrician because someone has a fever. Thankfully, today isn’t that day – it’s just a skinned knee and they’re letting you know everything is okay and not to worry. Back to work, but you’ve been there before. In that moment, you pause briefly and worry that your kids don’t get enough hugs, snuggles, and trips to the library or the park, but you know they love you and you love them right back even more. Every day you’re showing them what it means to work hard, be dedicated, stay strong, never give up, and do your best. The moment passes, and then you jump on that webinar with a little pang of guilt, but you know you’re doing the right thing.

You pick the kids up in the evening, probably after their after-school program as the last few moms are pulling into the parking lot right alongside you. You share a brief conversation with these gals, as they’ve quickly become some of your best friends. They get you. You get them. You have just a moment to connect and catch up, likely about the upcoming class trip to the zoo that you’ve both booked a vacation day to attend so you can chaperone and be there for your kids. As you walk down the hall together, you enter the classroom, so excited to hug your kiddos. The little ones embrace you – hard, eager to see your smiling face and show you their latest creation from art class. The older ones might be sad to leave their friends at the end of the day, but you know you’ll get some good conversations out of them right before you close the last page of tonight’s bedtime story. They have so much to share and you want to learn it all.

You drive home and tackle dinner, a load of laundry, a dishwasher to unload, some outside play in the backyard, and then it’s baths, stories, and sleep. You might fall asleep on the pillow right next to them. You try to rally after those final hugs of the night to spend some quality time doing something for yourself, or simply to have a few moments with your husband or a significant other. Sometimes you can pull those eyelids back open to make it happen. You might even sneak in a few pages of the book you’re trying to read, or the latest episode of your show that you DVR’d last week. Or was it the week before? How many weeks are you behind on this season? It doesn’t really matter. Life is moving fast, you’re exhausted, but it’s love and you’ve tried your best all day, every day.

You head to bed knowing you’ve given your day 110%. Your family, your colleagues, your company, your friends – every person and every project got your best effort. You mom like a champ, work like a champ, and know that when you follow your heart and do the right thing, it always works out. Your life is full and no matter what comes up, you’ve got this. You’re a mom and you’re amazing. Yes, you stumble and fall along the way, but with heart and passion you get right back up and dust off the scrapes and bruises just like you tell your kids to do.

So, today – no matter how the day unfolds – be thankful for the crazy in our lives, the love in our hearts, and enjoy both a moment for yourself and a moment with the ones who have made you so happy (and equally as tired), knowing that you’re showing your family the love, heart, and the commitment it takes to do the right thing.