Lessons from Sport: Leading them Forward

 
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Sport will forever be a part of my life.

It’s shaped me in so many ways.

It was, after all, the vehicle that allowed me to tap into the magic inside of myself and LIVE out my dreams.

Of becoming an Olympian. Of standing atop that podium. 

And, its impact:

So.much.bigger than any podium moment.

 
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I’ve learned so many lessons -

About being a teammate.

About being part of something bigger than myself.

About sacrifice. And giving up something I loved to LEAP into the unknown. 

Sport forced me to face failure.

To rumble with pain. Which in turn, forced me to learn HOW to rise. 

It gave me life in some of my darkest times. The water always feeling like home.

It gave me an opportunity to PUSH myself and see just how far my body + mind could go. 

It gave me an outlet for my undying LOVE of competing + performing.

Along the way, I learned how to paint a vision and break it down into the smallest of steps.

I learned that those small steps mattered.

And over time, would compound to separate me from the pack.

I learned how to stay in my own lane — how to step out of the joy sucking dark hole that is comparison.

Sport forced me to have BRAVE conversations with teammates and coaches.

It allowed me to feel the force and pure power that comes when 30 women unite behind a shared vision. Connecting me to so many soul sisters.

I learned that we’re stronger together. 

And that I CAN DO HARD THINGS.

 
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Sport lifted me. Empowered me. And equipped me with a powerful skill set. 

I learned that dreams come true. 

And that when those dreams come true, it breathes life + love + hope into the village around the dream chaser — and reminds them that they, too, can achieve their dreams.

And. Sport was simultaneously the place of a different kind of pain. 

The pain of shame.

A place where that performance wasn’t enough dangerously slid into

I’m not enough.

A place where perfecting my craft dangerously slid into

perfecting myself.

A place where toxic, inappropriate and unchecked language dangerously slid into my internal dialogue,

changing the way I saw myself.

A place where rosters + results and scores and judgments based on performance dangerously transformed into a

false narrative about my worthiness.

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What I know now:

My story is far from unique.

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When we know better, we do better. We know better.

When we look at the growing body of research. When we listen to the stories. One thing is clear:

Shame has no part in success.

What was once (and unfortunately still is) used as a ‘motivational’ strategy has no place in sport.

It’s the undercurrent of so.much.suffering. 

An obstacle to overcome, at best.

And it sits at the root of growing anxiety + depression + self-harm + suicide.

{ Important + way-too-real side-note: In 2018, the CDC reported that teen suicide is the number one killer of teenage girls worldwide and second leading cause of death in teenagers in the U.S. }

Breathe.

This is real.

And. We don’t have to be passive participants.

What happens when we equip our children with the skills needed to see + name + release the grip of shame?

At home. At school. In sport.

We can teach this.

It’s going to take time, resources and the courage to do hard things.

We can do this kind of hard.

It’s time. To LEAD THEM FORWARD.  

 
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For the dream chaser inside all of us. 

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And, I’m so GRATEFUL I get to play a part. 

Lots of exciting shifts + pivots happening over here in 2019. Here are the latest two:

I’ve been working with a handful of organizations on the WHOLE Athlete Initiative, helping them to identify + develop + infuse resources and supports to provide a more holistic approach to developing high-performance cultures - cultures which support the growth of brave, resilient, mindful athletes.

I’ve opened up space for two private high-performance coaching clients. Though each transformation is unique, there are themes that have emerged for the women who’ve come through my private coaching program: expanded skill sets; mindset shifts; increased awareness, confidence, self-trust and resilience; and aligned, inspired action toward their dreams. It’s powerful work.

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Samantha Arsenault Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, high-performance coach and consultant, transformational speaker, educator and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Livingstone High Performance, LLC. and the Rise Free Academy - inspiring, empowering and equipping athletes, coaches and women who lead with the skills they need to cultivate high-performance - to achieve AND feel fulfilled along the way. 

In addition to private and group coaching, Samantha consults with teams and organizations on athlete wellness, Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE), leadership, courage building, rising skills and creating high-performance environments. 

A mama of heart warrior and mama of twins, Samantha and her husband, Rob, live in the Berkshires with their four girls. To learn more about her offerings, go over to www.samanthalivingstone.com