Thursday, January 27, 2011

Training Confidence & Chasing Rainbows

When asked last week by a group of students during a club meeting, "What makes a good leader?" I came up with several quick, deserving responses but was told to pick only five. As I pondered in front of the once-stark whiteboard, but now covered in colorful responses of various handwriting and font, I repeatedly got stuck on one subtle word.


After the activity of displaying and explaining words, we were all asked to choose one word that MOST represents a leader, and for whatever reason, out of all of the passions and responsibilities and visions and motivations... I chose confidence.

Now, I didn't or do not necessarily think that it is truly confidence that is most crucial when painting the picture of a good leader, but I DO think that it is the characteristic that I recurrently possess the fewest molecules for.

I don't recall where my disengagement with confidence started, I just know that it is deeply rooted keeping me from moving forward...or moving in any direction for that matter. However, in the last six months I have experienced many blue-flamed successes-- the ones that burn low and subtle, but extremely hot and lasting. These experiences have brought me to acknowledge both aspects about my physical willingness as well as my strong mental stature. In fact, sitting here, writing THIS feels sort of funny.

Having never been the first--or even the last or any in between--to offer up praise for my own accomplishments, this sudden awareness to do so is breathtaking. And not breathtaking, in an, "Oh! How beautiful" sort of way, but rather more like, "Yikes, I could just crawl out of my own skin from the discomfort of it all!"

But yet, I pull through. I pull forward and I tell myself that it is alright to be proud, and to share that with others. This pride and contentment that I feel makes a rainbow to and from my heart, glowing straight above in vertical distance, all the way beyond the stars. This rainbow is made up of first place races and difficult training sets. It is made of local sports awards and news features. It is made of proving that the power of the human effort is unyielding. It is made of the creation of hope and motivation in others. Able to be viewed by all, yet completely uncatchable, this rainbow is all my own.

The confidence that I presented on the whiteboard last week, may still be something of longing; however, at this point I feel far less frightened for it and far more aware of its existence.

The rainbow doesn't have to wait for rain to create majestic color spectra overhead; it just needs enough room to project those profoundly uplifting moments and emotions of the heart.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Sweet Treat

One of the sweetest treats that life offers up is the knowledge that surprise events can occur and will occur when least expected that can change your outlook and feelings about nearly everything.

Today I experienced one of those treats.

Shortly after the bell dismissed my final class for the day, I began cleaning up my classroom to get ready for a parent/student meeting prompted by one of my spunkiest and sweetest red-headed kiddos. The nature of this meeting was sort of unclear, seeing as typically these types of interactions are reserved for students who are neither excelling nor engaging, but this kid was undoubtedly both.

Interrupted in thought of what I could have done wrong in teaching this young mind, in walks nearly half of the science department. They inform me of a department meeting in my classroom that I had apparently failed to notice nor attend if it weren't for the fact that it was being held in my own classroom. But what about my parent/student meeting??? How was I going to pull both of these things off at the same time??

It was less than a minute more before I had my answer. In walks the school principal, carrying a beautiful arrangement of every kind of fragrant floral stalk that you could imagine. With principal as conductor, news crew and other clearly notable individuals come pouring into my classroom, along with none other than my spunky red-head.

"But I am supposed to have a parent meeting?" Was all that I could say as I was handed the framed letter stating none other than my own name as 2011 Colorado Sportswoman of the Year in Swimming.

What is most remarkable about this whole thing is, that embedded deep within my swimming, I have all along hoped to be projecting an example to those around me. An example of hope and confidence and belief and courage and determination and passion-- all the while I never actually believed that any of this was seen from anywhere beyond my own imagination.

I was wrong and I am terribly proud of that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MY Vision (Board)

Both my intuition, and my copious amounts of research, have told me that it is far easier to accomplish a goal if it is staring you in the face. The goal can be convoluted and winding, but it MUST be visually present.

Now, I have never been so much the type to display my accomplishments, so thinking about displaying my desired accomplishments almost left me feeling ill. However, it is all part of this journey and this process to really put my full-self into my project... so that is EXACTLY what I did.

Through cutting and pasting and printing and wishing I have successfully created my very own vision board.
A vision board is a tangible state of logic that is based off of the notion of the Laws of Attraction-- meaning that what ever you want out of the world, you need to put into it first. Based on this concept as well as various other self-help projects, came the birth of the vision board. This board is the very place to display your dreams and desires, and to project your goals and hopeful plans.

This board is the very place to display MY dreams and desires, and to project MY goals and hopeful plans.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Attempts to Share with the World

One of my greatest goals and drives in this world is my desire to share what I have learned and reflected upon to all that is willing to listen. In order to do this, I have learned that I have to be the one to jump out there and shove some of this knowledge at people using combinations of text and spoken word to get the job done.

Here is my latest attempt at sharing with the world:
The Power of Human Effort

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Swimming Is Good For My Soul

By far, the biggest worry that my brain endures is that of my health. That's why when I officially had a surgery for no good reason, I was fairly upset with myself. It would be one thing if I was having surgery on a part of my body that good readily respond to pain through intricate communication with my brain, but alas my knee, and my whole leg for that matter, keeps relatively quiet in that regard.

It was three days before I would even peek through the bandages at the damages done from the hammering and drilling surgeon. It wasn't so bad---some residual swelling and bruising and such, however it made my stomach churn simply because I couldn't feel it. Strange? I know.

Yesterday I was cleared to get my knee wet by way of a shower. I had been showering with my leg hanging out of the tub previously. I am cleared to get back in the pool on Tuesday, but my brain and body just could not wait another day.

I woke up this morning with a stiff and shooting sore neck. My elbow hurt and my dreams of swimming laps were telling me that it was time. Good thing that the previous night I had already made a special trip to Walgreens to load up on waterproof wound dressings.

So, doubling up on the waterproof bandages I headed to the pool with a crick in my neck and a smile on my face.

I can't believe how much my life revolves around swimming right now. I feel almost pathetic the way that my friends have slowly stopped calling, my bedsheets smell like chlorine, and my bedtime is faithfully 8pm. However, there is something so powerful about all of this. I have found a confidence that has been hiding for years. I am excited to see where this journey takes me and I am actually starting to believe that I still have a long road ahead, which I am equally proud and grateful for.

All that I know is that swimming is good for my soul.