Connecting a Community

Friday, September 26, 2014

Success. Scratch that... PROGRESS





Success.

What is it? Is it making the national team? Is it coming back to play from an ACL injury? Is it being a doctor who saves lives? Is it being a mom? A servant to others? 

My answer is it is none of the above...to me, 





Success is progress. 


Striving for something and finding yourself in a better place today then you were yesterday. Realizing your dream(s) and going for it. Even when the world tells you you are crazy. Even when you try to talk yourself out of it because you know how hard it is going to be, you keep moving forward. 

I think having a dream is one of the most important keys to life and progression. Read that carefully...a DREAM. Not a goal! The more I think about goals the more I want to forget they ever exhisted (thanks in large part to "Burn Your Goals" ...amazing book that I would recommend to anyone).  

One of my dreams is to be a professional soccer player. The apex of my dream includes playing for the US Women's National team and contributing to winning a Gold Medal at the Women's World Cup and Olympic Games. I can still see the very details of this journey: the white lines on the field, the smell of freshly trimmed grass, the feeling in my stomach as I hear the high pitch whistle blowing to start the Final game, scoring the winning goal with a left foot half volley, and tears running down my cheeks on the podium as the American flag goes up to the sound of the Star-Spangled Banner. 

However, somewhere along the way my dream turned into my goal. 

Over the past few weeks of post-season, I have had the time to reflect upon what I am doing with my life. (Literally, I ask myself almost daily, Jordan, what are you doing with your life?) During some of these quiet times, I have moments where I get this sense of failure. Like I haven't accomplished what I worked so hard for so many years to do. Even typing it sounds weird to me because in no way have I failed. I am living out my dream! I am playing soccer for my "job"!! But, the moment I turned my dream into a goal, I gave my mind to the opportunity to determine if I would "succeed" or "fail". What bothers me the most about this is it is so far from reality... I have neither succeeded or failed at this dream, I have only been on a unique journey of working towards being closer to it. 

Although this is still a dream of mine, I have many other dreams... 

My dream is to stay involved with soccer as long as possible: from anazlyzing games on ESPN/Fox Sports, sharing my insight with soccer fans all over the country (tapping into my first dream as a child to be an actress), to continuing to serve the youngsters at my childhood club, Colorado Rush. 

I dream of being a business woman who helps run a company leading a group of people to create an environment that breads creativity and cohesion. 

I dream of being a mom, raising a family and loving them more then I know possible. 

And my latest dream involves sharing my knowledge and creating a community where others going through or who have gone through ACL injuries can come to find strength, help, and inspiration. Literally creating  "The ACL Club."  


Who knows if I will be able to live out all my dreams, or what new ones will evolve, but I will work daily to see progress towards them. 

In the book Burn Your Goals, the writers challenge the reader to:

Put first things first, 
Let go of outcome based thinking, and
 Believe that everything that is happening to you is for the best. 

I am taking that challenge and relieving myself of being my own worst critic. The only reason I can't do something is because I tell myself I can't. The only reason I have "failed" or "suceeded" is because I tell myself I have. I believe in my dreams and will focus on what I can do today to help me be a better PERSON tomorrow. I challenge you to do the same (and to read their book!). 

So... as I ask myself what am I doing? I know the answer is I am getting better. I am learning more about myself, God, the game, relating to different people, and taking steps towards what is next. I believe this to be God's perfect combination of everything above. 

Success isn't a place to say "Hey look at me I've made it!" and be content in your accomplishments. Success is an ever evolving space around you where you feel YOU are MOST YOU. Dreams are precious and should be something we strive for. Progress is what we should seek daily. 

Keep chasing your success. Keep chasing your dream(s). I will keep chasing mine.  

                                          And enjoy the amazing journey.        

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Time

 There are so many sayings about time...Time heals all things...Time makes the heart grow fonder...Time, why you punish me? (Hootie anyone?!) To me, all those ring true about the time I spent away from the game. 
                           

Today marks the 3rd year since my life got twist turned upside down (man I'm full of lyrics right now!), and once again, it proves to be a hard day to get through without loads of emotions. The emotions from that day 3 years ago specifically come back: the laughter in the locker room as we danced before the game, the feeling I had after scoring, and being even more excited when my teammate and fellow Colorado girl Keelin Winters scored her first professional goal, and the gut-wrenching feeling that I knew exactly what had happened to me. Plus all the emotions I had to work through in the past few years in trying to understand the purpose of this lesson. Needless to say, it's a lot of different emotions. 

I needed time away from the game, away from the one thing that I loved so much but had hurt me so deeply. The time I took away truly helped me heal. I found new interests and figured out what I could be good at other then kicking a ball really, really far. Taking pictures, interior design (aka re-decorating my childhood room), becoming my best version of a yogi, sports broadcasting, and a little sports marketing. But most of the time, I found myself coaching...ok, ok, I didn't get that far away from the game and, honestly, it resulted in some serious internal struggles. There were days when I was so mad at soccer, so upset about what had happened, that I would have to drag myself to go to training...it was hard to stay this way for long once I got to the fields. I would show up to the fields and get mobbed by 16 11/12 year olds running full speed at me from 100 yards away just to be the first one to shake my hand and tell me hi. Then I would realize, I know why I was here. Why it was my time to be a coach and not a player. One day it hit me, if I hadn't got hurt, I would of never met these young girls in the capacity that I did. Would never be able to spend 3 years helping develop these young soccer phenoms (and I don't say that lightly). These girls healed me. They showed me what it is like to play with such passion, joy, and desire to learn. They allowed my heart to grow fond of the innocence that lies in the heart of our game. I will forever be grateful for my Rush girls and the time life allowed me to be with them. 

It is my first time being back on the field with a team since I got injured. Anniversary's are a remembrance of something that has happened in your life...good or bad you remember specific days for specific reasons. For this reason, time punishes me. My initial thought is, I know there will come a day when April 9th comes and goes without me even realizing...But then I think to myself, I am not sure that's what I want. I want to remember this day with all of it's emotions and all the great things it has brought into my life. 

As i got ready for training today, I called my parents to express how I was feeling going into training. Honestly, I can't describe the emotions I was feeling when I reached for my phone to call them...I just knew I needed to talk. They had both got up early to make sure they could talk to me in case I called. We couldn't get through the conversation without all crying...I think we all felt the same way, knowing there was nothing left for me to do but just go out and prove this day has no control over me. 

Time has punished me, time has healed me, and time has made me fonder of the gracious gift I have been given to play again.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Belief>Fear

Fear is a powerful emotion. 

Think about a time you were fearful of something. It can be both physically and emotionally paralyzing. Not allowing you to move. Stopping you dead in your tracks. Everything around you keeps moving and growing but your stuck in this “deer in headlights” position. This was me 3 months ago.

After battling over two years in physical therapy to get back on the field, overcoming a flare up on my right knee and many mental roadblocks, I felt closer to what I had worked so hard towards for so long...but I was stuck. Fear crept in. 

My fears sounded a lot like this:
Will I be good enough? Will my knee be strong enough? My body fit enough? Will I ever be as good at something as I was at soccer? For this blog, will I write the right thing? Will it have enough impact? Will I be judged? 

Once it started, it was a domino effect and one fear after another started to come up in my mind.

Through this process I have been challenged on many levels, but the mental aspect has been the hardest by far. To me, 
Belief is the opposite of fear

Belief is having hope that what is in store for you is going to be better for you then you could ever imagine. 

Part of my belief was to understand I had to let go of the control I thought I needed over my life. I thought if I held tight onto this idea of once again playing soccer, there was no other option but for it to come true. What was really happening was I was squeezing the life out of my dreams. 

It made me think of when you hold tight onto sand, it just slips through your fingers; but if you cup the sand in your hand, leaving your hand open to the sky, the sand can just sit there. The fear I had of me not being able to play soccer again made me hold on tighter when really what I had to do was let go a little. Still holding my goals and dreams, but opening up my mind and soul to all the options life has for me. 

Once I had this realization, I felt like the pressure I put on myself finally fell off my shoulders.

Looking back, all that noise in my head was preventing me from being ME. I let go, believed, and things on and off the field opened up! Job opportunities arose and I felt open to explore them while still pursuing a soccer career. It felt so nice, my mind was free again from the fear that was holding me back just days before.  

Then one day at the end of May, I crossed the white line at the training field and told myself I was fine…and I BELIEVED it! That’s a huge part of the equation. 

My belief in the purpose of my journey trumped my fear. 

I know I am meant to be on the field, I feel it when I am out there. 

After 2 months of training hard/smart, and knocking some of the accumulated rust off, I jumped on a plane and took what seemed like a long trip across the US to Washington D.C. As I sat on the plane, I had a mix of emotions running through me:

Excitement – how amazingly cool is this that I was given the opportunity to train with the Washington Spirit! I was jazzed at the idea of being with a team again. “Train. Get better. See how far away you are from that level.” That was my self talk as I prepped for that first practice, putting no pressure on myself to prove anything or do anything I didn't feel I was ready for yet. Saying this to myself helped me bottle up the excitement and use it in a constructive way. 

Nervous – for the plane ride and the whole next day, I just wanted to get out on the field. The anticipation of the first practice was something I hadn’t felt in a while…butterflies! That nervous energy that makes you feel like your doing exactly what you love to do. I soaked it in, felt every flutter in my stomach. If I weren’t nervous, then there would have been a problem.


Once I stepped on the field that wednesday evening, even though my first training back was a public training, I immediately felt a sigh of relief. Now all the waiting and thinking can cease and the feeling, moving, playing can commence. I believed I was right where I was suppose to be. 

Its hard not to smile now when I am on the field. 

More then ever I believe this game is gift, and every time I get to play, it truly makes my heart happy:)



Jeremiah 29:11