I read a blog piece last night that made me feel sick + sad + angry -- and a whole bunch of other raw emotions.
The piece described - in detail - experiences of young athletes who were subject to language + actions that were at best toxic -- and for some, traumatic.
Experiences that were silenced. Dismissed. Ignored. By trusted adults.
It resonated on a level I wish it didn't.
And. I also felt HOPE.
Because, awareness is a critical first step if we want to change the cultural current.
Because, the number of Brave Voices is growing.
Change is happening. The cultural current is turning.
And, as hard as it is, to get to the other side, we have to be willing to move through the messy and painful.✨
There's an entire generation of former athletes who can SEE what they couldn't before. Thanks in part to the courage of others telling their stories.
There's an entire generation of former athletes who are now raising their own children in the athletic arena — even though it was the birthplace of wounds. Some, still unhealed.
Because, the experience wasn't all bad. It was BOTH. It certainly was for me. Swimming was the vehicle that allowed me to tap into the magic that’s inside all of us; it was the vehicle that allowed me to LIVE my dream.
The thing is, despite a still-too-common + dangerous misconception - experiencing shame is NOT a requisite for success and achievement.
There's an entire generation of former athletes who will no longer tolerate the toxic culture of shame.
When we know better, we do better.
WE KNOW BETTER.
We know that shame is NOT a driver of success.
It IS at the root of anxiety, depression and suicide.
We know now, that we don't need to 'train the mind' by abusing our bodies.
We know now, that self-compassion is the very foundation of RESILIENCE.
We can do better.
As more and more stories come out, it's easy to focus on all the things that are wrong / bad / broken. On all the ways the systems in place have failed us. It's easy to slip into that space of believing that the corruption at all levels will never really end.
I get that. And. I know there’s POWER in our small choices.
One voice grows into two. Two into four. Every single story matters.
And so, I choose COURAGE.
To show up, even when it’s hard.
To speak the language of compassion in an arena that has historically rejected the word.
To share my story, even when it feels heavy + I question whether or not it matters.
To listen. To really listen.
To reflect + grow.
To pay forward what I’ve learned along the way - from my own story and others who bravely share theirs with me.
There are many coaches who have successfully cultivated cultures of GREATNESS and HEALTH. They are out there doing it.
Easy? Hell, no. Worth it? YES.
So, I’m asking you to choose courage, too.
For these four littles.
And, all our children.
Don’t know where to start?
I’ve got you. I’m going to start highlighting some of my favorites - tools, resources, people, etc.
If you are an athlete, former athlete, coach and/or work professionally with athletes and/or you’re a parent of an athlete this one is for you:
It’s a free resource for you. To ask questions and pay forward what you’ve learned. I’m not sure where else you could ask a question and have world champions and Olympians answer you!! Mark and Adam have created an AMAZING platform - and I love being part of it!!
Hard to believe we are 27 days from the beginning of a new year! More on that later!! Exciting updates RE the Rise Free Academy + a powerful collab with hubs that we’re working on — cannot wait to share!! To be the first to know, head over here and while you’re at it, grab a FREE GIFT on how I’ve found harmony in the chaos — from yours truly: www.samanthalivingstone.com/balance
Samantha Arsenault Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, high-performance professional, transformational speaker and mother of four girls. She is the founder of Livingstone High Performance, LLC. and the Rise Free Academy.
Samantha helps female athletes, coaches and women who lead, to cultivate the habits, mindset and skill set needed to quiet the noise and unapologetically step into their light so they can achieve AND feel fulfilled along the way.
Samantha also helps organizations, teams, and groups identify ways to support, empower, educate and equip their coaches, parents and athletes with the tools, skills and shifts needed to cultivate high-performance (achievement AND fulfillment).
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.