Balance is Bullshit. Or is it?

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A few months ago, USA Swimming asked me to present at a Women's Leadership Summit for national team coaches. An amazing opportunity to share my story - and pay forward what I've learned with coaches who are working with our nation's fastest swimmers. Truly a full circle moment - and one I dreamt about last year when I launched Livingstone High Performance.  

And. The timing.

If I said yes, I'd have to fly out on my daughter's birthday.

My head started spinning. I felt the voice of shame perk up from the backseat. I can’t miss her BIRTHDAY. And, I can’t say no to this opportunity. 


 Proof right here. I could feel the old stories start to creep back in. 

That's the story I told myself for so many years. 

There's no such thing.

You can’t do both. Be a good mom. And run a thriving, heart-centered business. No way.

You’re either all in or not in.

 The pathways of perfection well traveled. 

And then, four years ago, I found myself under the rubble of my life. Perfectionist armor shattered. In a darkness so dark, I didn’t know if I would ever find my feet again. 

And, I'm here now. My feet firmly planted. Standing tall. With a deeper understanding of these bullshit stories.

It's not balance that's bullshit. What is - the idea that balance is this place we arrive to - free from struggle and hard choices. 

Here’s what I've learned on this journey back to my feet: 

So often, we {myself included!} subconsciously subscribe the toxic undercurrents of shame. We follow the 'rules' of the world  - without asking ourselves :: says WHO?

We stay stuck, buried by shoulds. 

What we should look like. How we should act. How we should parent.

Believing that there’s one ‘right’ way to be in this world.

What if we gave ourselves permission to rewrite the rules of the world?

What if balance is just clearly defined boundaries?

What if balance is reflecting. And, asking ourselves :: 

Is this working? Am I living a life aligned with my values?

What if balance is shifting and reevaluating?

What if balance is communicating?  And, asking ourselves what we need - and, at what cost?

What if balance wasn’t some place we get to – just by trying harder – trying to DO AND BE all the things…

What if it was a process of constant recalibration?


I got on that plane to Colorado Springs. Because, there’s no such thing as a bad mom. And this balance thing. I get to define what that looks like.

{so do you}

And I'll be honest - it looks different every day. And, sometimes that means celebrating our Big Kid a day early.

Leaving them doesn’t get easier. Moving into the space of known triggers doesn’t get easier. Releasing the grip of the inner critic – the critical voice inside all of our minds – does.

My girls are my world. And, honoring my inner magic + the pulls to serve – to pay forward what I’ve learned so that no athlete feels alone and broken – It’s one of the greatest gifts I can give to them.


It requires compassion and grace.

I’m going to fall. I’m going to lean in a little too far.

Because, there’s no such thing as getting it perfect.


So, I ask you. Where in your life are you holding on to false dichotomies and bullshit stories? Which ones need to be rewritten?

What does balance look like for you? 

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We are the architects of our own life. ✨💫

I made the decision that I was no longer going to send a representative to live my life.

I made the decision that I was no longer going to live my life according the way I thought I should.

And, it led me home. 
To me.


And, I know. When you’re under the weight of it all, the ‘how’s’ can feel so overwhelming. Paralyzing even.

Life is hard. And, it’s beautiful.

We can’t control all that comes our way. We can control how we respond.

How we RISE.


Doors to the Rise Free Academy open this month ~ my heart is bursting with joy. ✨

To learn more and/or be the first to enroll, please head over here.

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Samantha Arsenault Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, transformational speaker, high performance coach, mama of four girls. She is also the founder of Rise Free Academy. 

Samantha empowers women to cultivate the courage, resilience and perseverance needed to live their dreams. She helps her clients 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