Your puzzle

This weekend I was humbled to have the opportunity to tell a very important story of mine to a group of strangers who quickly turned into family. I told my story with no reservations, no shame. After all, your story is just that: yours. No one knows it better than you. It is your job to own it and love it, despite possible imperfections or rough edges.

Each story that we rack up in this crazy life of ours — and the subsequent relationships that come along with them — is exactly what makes us who we are, quirks and all. These stories are like pieces to the puzzle of our life, making up the big picture that we will never fully see until much further down the road.

Sometimes the pieces to our puzzle fit when we least expect them to. It could happen right when we need it to, or perhaps at a time that seems a little bit off. Isn’t that so frequently how life works? The pieces reveal themselves when you’re off going through the motions of your typical routine. Yet at the very least, just having the pieces out on the table to begin with lets you know, “hey, you’re on the right path. This is a sign that you should keep going in this direction.”

The good news is, you don’t have to leave the completion of your puzzle, and your story, to chance and to timing. You’re allowed to take some of the pieces out of the box and put the puzzle together yourself. It’s not an easy thing to do; you’re staring at an incomplete picture, and that can be scary as hell.

But if you can find joy in the processrather than becoming anxious about the questions that remain unanswered, that is where true happiness and love shine through.

“Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke


Leave better

I’ve come to find that I blog the least about the issues that take up most of my time. I rarely blog about work or the outside networking I do because I’m out doing it rather than reflecting upon it.

The same goes for coaching. Between practices, games, choreography, competitions, emails from parents and making sure my girls are passing their classes, it really is another full-time job. And i’m only three months in! It is actually very hard for me to believe that.

I coach a group of fifteen girls, all in ninth and tenth grade. Typically when I tell people that, their reaction is, “Yikes! Good luck with that.” And my rebuttal is always, “Actually, they’re a fantastic group of girls. I’m really enjoying my time with them.”

Hands in. Team on “three”

Of course I said that with a little hesitation when the gig had just started. But they have proved to me time and time again that they are a good group of young women. I have an amazing relationship with them: We have a clear understanding of what I expect from them, and probably more importantly, what they expect of me. I listen to their suggestions, don’t ever use running as punishment (I haven’t had to punish them at all yet, knock on wood) and do my best to be fair and give them the benefit of the doubt.

I have been blessed with fantastic coaches in my past. It is the sole reason why I eagerly said yes to this position. I’m hyper-aware that coaching is not just teaching a girl how to properly execute a skill; it’s about teaching her how to carry herself in the midst of a chaotic situation, respect others, represent her school in a positive light, work hard for what she wants and ultimately become someone she can be proud of.

When I was leaving practice tonight, I tweeted (shocker) about what a blessing it is for me to coach. It dawned on me that I feel the same way every single time I leave practice or a game with my team…

I feel better when I leave than when I came in that day.

If you can fill your plate with things that make you feel better when you leave than you did when you started, hold on and don’t let go.

Whether that’s a hobby like coaching, an activity that lets you put your worries aside, a job that makes you feel like your contribution truly matters or even a person that brings out the biggest joys in your heart, give that part of your life your undivided attention.

Because when you truly love something, you should focus on it with all of your might. After all, being in love with every second and every aspect of our lives is the ultimate goal, isn’t it?

Team of misfits