The Pulls of Productivity


Every night before I raced, I took a long, hot shower. Water has always been my sanctuary. My safe place. The place where I connect to a power greater than me.

I'd stand in the shower and visualize my races from start to finish - eyes closed, hips and arms moving. Imagining every single detail. By the end of my career, I could see - and feel - every stroke, breath, turn and breakout so vividly - often landing on my goal times with my eyes shut.

It didn't start that way though.

I remember the first time I tried to close my eyes and imagine a race... I was so distracted by my thoughts passing through that I couldn't even get past the first lap. Other times I would be distracted before my breakout.

And. I kept at it. I trusted. I knew if I continued to plug away, I would get better at it. And that's what happened.

Fast forward to my life post-retirement. And then four kids. Running a business from home. Always striving for that sweet spot of balance.

Slowing down?? Who has time for that? Being still?? No way - too much to do. So, the thought of yoga didn't stand a chance - unless I was counting it as my rest day. 

Practicing mindfulness. Being still. Resting.

All of it was part of my training regimen when I was competing. When I transitioned to the 'real world,' I threw all of that out because it wasn't 'productive' enough...

And then there's the trauma behind my PTSD. Being still can be triggering.

And. I kept at it. I trusted. I knew if I continued to plug away - to move toward it, I would get better at it. The triggers would have less of a grip on me. The perfectionist narrative that 'rest is bad' would be challenged.

And that's exactly what's happened.

 I'm not training 7+ hours a day anymore, true. AND. That doesn't take away the need for rest, mindfulness and being still - if anything it means those elements are MORE important.

Gone are the days of structured + protected workout times - with a coach and team to hold me accountable.

There will ALWAYS be more on the to-do lists. There will ALWAYS be things that are hard.

Here's what else I know:

Our worthiness is not dependent on how many to-dos get done. The pull to do all the things - and be all the things - that's the pull of perfection.

Letting go of the incessant need to be productive and embracing our best as enough - that's hard. I feel you. I know. 

And, we can do hard. 

What are we chasing? What are we really seeking underneath all that doing?

I'll be the first to tell you - I'm a dream chaser. AND. I'm not willing to sacrifice LIVING and LOVING and JOY for achievement. We don't have to.

We can achieve. AND. Feel fulfilled. Both are possible. 

If we're willing to step into the stillness.

When we are able to tune in, we find our way. And when we find our way - there is no stopping us.

How do you check in with yourself? What does that look like for you?


In January of 2018, I will be weaving together my passion and skill set to offer my first online course via The Compassion Project - bringing together a community of women and men who value growth and authenticity. Together we will cultivate the courage, compassion and connection we need to live our dreams. To bring meaning to our life in a way that sets our soul on fire. To live unapologetically free.

 To be in the know - and to receive a free gift from me {because I'm too excited to wait!}, head over here to stay connected!

Creating this platform has been on my heart for years. It's time. I hope you join me. 

For now, join me in the THE I AM CHALLENGE community space. {It's free.}



Samantha Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, transformational speaker, high performance coach and mama of four.  She inspires and empowers others to cultivate the courage, resilience and perseverance needed to let go of perfection and other limiting beliefs so they can live their dream. 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