Dream BIG baby girl
Go after your wildest dreams.
Discover your magic.
You are free to fly.
Entering the sporting arena as a parent has been quite a ride already - and Bigs is only seven.
One of the most common questions I get asked when I speak is whether or not my girls will swim. Honestly, I have no idea - that's entirely up to them.
I am an Olympian and hubs played collegiate baseball - and both of us are currently in the coaching arena. We've undoubtedly been shaped by the opportunities and experiences in our athletic careers - we learned how to be teammates, drive toward goals, sacrifice, handle feedback and failure, and honed many skills that continue to serve us as partners, parents, coaches and entrepreneurs. The sporting arena has given us so much, it seems only natural for us to want that for our girls.
But here's the thing - it's not about us anymore.
Parenthood is the ultimate balance of holding on and letting go.
When we follow our dreams, we discover the magic inside of ourselves.
My parents never put a cap on my imagination – even when my dreams sounded impossibly far away. How could a young girl who hadn’t made the swim team yet dream of becoming an Olympic champion?
Honestly? They never got hung up on the hows. They never put a cap on my dreams, even when I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast.
When I hear parents say, "They'll never be an Olympian..."
It crushes me.
I think back to my eight-year-old self and wonder what if my parents had said that about me?
I'm not really sure what drives parents to say these words- but, I'm willing to bet it's fear under there.
What's the worst that will happen if we allow our children to go after their wildest dreams?
My parents never protected me from failure.
They believed right alongside of me.
Regardless of the outcome - they knew the journey would be worth it.
Tonight, as I watched Bigs climb out of the pool - I noticed a sparkle in her eye - a fusion of passion + pride. She was so excited to show me her strokes that she jumped back in the water so she could race to the wall one more time.
In that moment I saw myself. The water was home to me.
A place where I could dream wild dreams - a place where I was free to soar.
A place where I felt free to be me.
And. I reminded myself, this isn't about me anymore.
It's her turn now.
It's her turn to dream wild dreams.
To transform that sparkle into a full blown flame.
Swimming, no swimming ~ you are free to FLY, little one ~ in whatever arena lights you up.
As I journey through this crazy world of parenthood, I am in awe of my parents - and how they held space for me and my siblings to go after our dreams.
If you ask them, I'm sure there are some things they'd go back and do differently. That's just it - there is no such thing as perfect - in parenting or in life.
We do the best we can with the resources we have.
If we want our kids to follow their dreams,
we must follow our own.
Even when life gets hard and messy.
My parents' journey started as pregnant teens - my dad left behind a football scholarship and college education to run the family business and raise his family; my mother was forced to homeschool her senior year of high school until my older brother was born.
Talk about messy. Talk about hard.
They set goals anyway - for themselves - for our family. And, together, they chipped away at their dreams.
When we are setting goals - and driving toward our dreams - we will fall short. We will fail. If we try to protect our kids from seeing our disappointment + struggle, we miss an opportunity to teach them how to get back up.
We are worthy without conditions.
As we charge toward our dreams, we have the opportunity to show our kids that our productivity - good + bad - is not tied to our self-worth.
My parents never micromanaged. Their only expectation :: I would do my best.
They worked hard to make sure I was in an environment that nurtured my growth + development - even when that meant driving me 60+ miles to practice to work with the best coaches.
When things got tough - as they always do when we go after big dreams - they noticed, listened and together we problem solved.
I am so grateful they never obsessed over the details of my journey. They trusted in the process, which in turn allowed me to do the same.
Their unconditional love + belief in me was a true gift - providing me the space + support I needed to realize my childhood dream.
We have the opportunity to give this gift to our children ~ and to ourselves.
You are worthy without conditions.
You are capable of your wildest dreams.
Surround yourself with people who will lift you higher - and help you to soar.
Samantha Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, transformational speaker, empowerment coach and mama of four. She empowers others to cultivate the courage, compassion and resilience needed to let go of perfection - so they can achieve their own gold medal moments AND live a life that is filled with freedom, balance and lasting joy. 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.