My life mission is to establish and participate in authentic engagement that gets somewhere….That inspires people to grow and become more fully themselves…Or, put another way, to connect with people I know and don’t know, and inspire them to pursue their dreams.
Despite the above, I’ve resisted social media for a variety of reasons: a huge time sink and I’m already pretty busy; takes me away from my treasured in-the-moment experience of life; would rather live it than write about it; and, really, what do I have to say that might inspire reflection and motivate action in someone else?
But, life changes, and as I grow older, I see myself changing too. Nothing to brag about on the outside, that’s for sure, as my hair shuffles inevitably to grey, my musculature, so avidly maintained for nearly 40 years now, shows signs of conceding defeat in its lifelong battle with gravity, and the lines on my hands spar with my age spots for prime real estate. No one ever told me about the benefits of growing older (not old!), but it turns out, thankfully, there are some.
One of the gifts of growing older, dare I say this—and please understand that I offer this up with humility, not arrogance—is wisdom.
The biggest lesson of my last five plus years lies at the heart of what I would assert many of us contemplate: the meaning of life. Now, understand, I am not deeply religious, but I absolutely believe in the power of the Universe to shape and guide my life. I have been schooled in the importance of forgiveness, the power of grace, the intelligence of admitting my own shortcomings and ignorance, and the necessity of asking for help. And, I have learned that wandering around from day to day wondering what it’s all about, without an overarching focus on something that resonates as deeply important, is a recipe for disconnection and discontent.
Successfully articulating the pursuit that urges me up and out even when the rain is pouring down, or the fog outside my windows obscures the view, has provided me with a context for living a high-stakes life, one that is both challenging and satisfying. It’s not that I lacked a sense of meaning before, but I hadn’t pieced together my life experience and all I had learned about myself – what I love, what captivates me, what I’m good at – into a cohesive view that could guide my decision-making.
Now that I have, and as I share it with you, maybe you’ll agree that my core purpose sounds kind of hokey. But, you might as well know that at my core, I am kind of hokey. I often come across in person as all-business, hard-driving and bottom-line oriented. In fact, although my wife accuses me of speaking with dragon’s breath (which singes all it touches) when I’m ramped up, inside, I’m a mush. I possess the nature of an Olympic athlete (because I am one) – tough and tenacious on the outside, but on the inside, I have a tender heart.
Along with identifying my core purpose, I have come to realize that whenever I find a way to pursue it, I simply must leap up and grab the opportunity. So, regardless of my personal misgivings about whether I have anything to say that could make a difference in someone’s life and despite my internal chit-chat about not having enough time to engage in social media, I am here, today, planting my own virtual stick in the ground and entering this world of blogs, status updates and tweets, of Instagram and instant communication, all in the service of engaging with others and inciting purposeful action. If this blog becomes a platform where authentic connection occurs, where unpredictable outcomes result that alter the future in a positive way, well then, let’s get going!
Many people and organizations have contributed to my growth, among them Michael Gervais and Dave Phillips, to name a pair of amazing thought-provokers. My association with the WNBA and the Seattle Storm has provided me with ample growth opportunities, and I’ll talk about those too, down the road. Of course, so much of my life experience is grounded in my athletic endeavors, which continue today, albeit somewhat toned down, so I will touch upon them. Maybe I’ll even share the story of how I decided to train for the 2012 Olympics and how I ended up writing my first book, Course Correction: A Story of Rowing & Resilience in the Wake of Title IX, instead.
Whatever the topic, the purpose is always the same: to spur reflection, conversation, and action that forwards someone’s ability not just to dream but to pursue and possibly even realize their aspirations. Could that be you? Do you want it to be you? I’m up for it if you are.