Shifting into Aligned Action

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These last two weeks have sent me spinning - especially as more and more details are revealed about the sexual abuse in sport. Especially my sport.

As someone that experienced sexual harassment as a young girl - in a bathing suit, it brings up a whole host of emotions. I didn't say anything. To anyone. Ever. {until a few years ago} And as teammates we never talked about it.

I have more processing to do before I write much more than that - but needless to say, the mother and speaker and high performance coach in me wants to DO something about it. Not just something - all the things.

And then there's the school shootings. As a former classroom teacher who left a piece of her heart in her classroom. I feel the pulls to want to give there too.

And then there's my four beautiful girls. And life. And... I know you feel me.

For the past ten days, I've been mind-mapping and journaling - and talking my husband's face off.

Emotion can be a really powerful catalyst for action.

And.

The pulls to DO and BE all things - all at once - can be O V E R W H E L M I N G. 

As humans, we don't like the complexities and messiness of this - we want a quick fix - a solution. And we want it RIGHT NOW.

Trying to keep up. Trying to hold it all together. Trying to fix what's broken.

All of this noise can leave us feeling helpless - sending us into a spinning paralysis. 

For many of us - the loudest voice lives in our mind. 

Our frantic energy transforms into fuel for our inner critic.

Just do more. Push harder. Sacrifice sleep. Block out the pain. Or don't bother.

Because, a little progress isn't ENOUGH. 

I know this space so well. 

The pull to JUST TRY HARDER.

To DO more. BE more.

These three words, on repeat for so.many.years.

Implying, I wasn’t giving it my all. Or, if I was, that my all wasn’t enough - an easy slide into I'm not enough.

Coming from a voice I thought was my own. A voice I thought I needed to achieve my goals.

JUST TRY HARDER.

Perpetuating the endless and addictive cycle of perfection. Fueling the illusion that we can control all.the.things.

And the belief that if we just hit that milestone / solve that problem / build our dream house / win that event / get that job / make that much money / insert condition ... THEN, we’ll be happy and feel joy.

Want a certain outcome? Just try harder. Fall short? Lock it in. Just try harder.

At all costs.

Because, when that voice drives - it will never be enough.

I’ve been down that road. 

DOING all the things in an attempt to avoid feeling what was underneath. In an attempt to control the outcome.

Pushing a broken shoulder, harder and harder. Ignoring the screams of my body. Extending my time out of the water by more than a year.

Staring at a mirror shredding myself from head to toe, using food as a weapon to control. Depleting my body of strength.

Pouring every ounce of me into my work, neglecting to care for my body. Living on the edge of burnout.

And now I know.

Sitting outside of my daughter's hospital room, watching the cardiac intensive care team work to save her life - there was absolutely nothing I could have done that would have prevented her heart from failing. There was no 'trying harder.'

As an Olympic Gold Medalist, I know the power of showing up and doing the work.

Effort matters. 

And. I now know that our power lies in being able to navigate the space between.

Learning how to lean in AND let go.

Allowing love + curiosity + trust to takeover. 

When we allow the spinning, swirling, frantic energy to drive - we hand our keys over to fear. 

And when fear drives, all the grinding + pushing + railing becomes a liability - stripping us of the very thing we're seeking.

Happiness. Joy. Fulfillment. Peace.

So what do we do? How do we find our feet again?

We notice. When our body tightens. When we feel on edge. When the toxic talk gets so loud we lose our ability to experience the present moment. When we start snapping. Or feel the resentment build. 

We pause. To breathe. 

We feel. To let the emotion roll through. 

We move toward our tools. To ride the wave. To release the stranglehold of the inner critic. And, fear.

We give ourselves permission to be where we are. 

We reset our boundaries. 

We align our actions with our intentions. 

We take the Next Best Step. Because, our small steps matter. And sometimes - the next best step is REST.

And, KNOW that we're capable. 

~

This is a huge piece of the work I'm doing with my clients. If you are feeling stuck in the spinning and swirling energy - are ready for more - and ready to feel free from the toxic talk, head over here and set up a strategy call to see if we're a good fit for each other. 

~

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Samantha Arsenault Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, transformational speaker, high performance coach, mama of four girls - and the founder of Brave Leaders Academy

Samantha empowers athletes, forever athletes and never-been-athletes to cultivate the courage, resilience and perseverance needed to live their dreams. She helps her clients expand their high performance skill set and let go of beliefs that are keeping them stuck - opening up the door for freedom, balance and joy that transcends.

Samantha candidly shares her battles with her inner critic, depression, perfection, PTSD and parenting as a working mother because she believes in the transformative power of story – and the strength that comes from knowing we are not alone. She is on a mission to pay forward all that she’s learned to help others find joy and live free.
  
A mama of heart warrior and mama of twins, Samantha and her husband, Rob, live in the Berkshires with their four girls. You can learn more about Samantha at www.samanthalivingstone.com.

You can find her here, linking arms with the powerful community that is the  I AM CHALLENGE.