Here it is, hopefully my final multiple catching-up blog post for this month.
Last night, Carolina Kostner, an Italian figure skater performed the absolute best she could.
It wasn’t easy. She’s the kind of athlete people think has “an Olympic curse,” as she has never really been able to finish.
This time she did, skating her heart out and earning a bronze medal. As she stepped off the ice, someone on her team asked her a simple question, “Now do you believe in yourself?”
It was a powerful thing to say and probably one that all of us need to hear sometimes. Belief and confidence tend to be game changers. Watch any of the Olympic sports and you will hear the announcers discus them. They will say, “He doesn’t crack under pressure.” Or, “Her presence is what makes her so amazing.”
I don’t like hype or when we believe in things that are falsely rosy. But, I do know that you should believe in yourself long before you win a medal. Start believing today.
Believe in this goal for the 30 days of hustle, in your ability and in the people who already believe in you.
On the Facebook group, answer this question, “Now do you believe in yourself?”
I’m having a hard time thinking about this one without choking up, because when I heard Lori Nichol say “Now do you believe in yourself?” to Carolina Kostner following her long program, I nearly lost it.
I followed figure skating closely for many years, starting in 1992 right up until maybe 2009 or so. I still watch with great interest during the Olympics, but I don’t follow it quite as closely now.
I always enjoyed Carolina Kostner. She had a radiant smile and a coltish way about her – wide-eyed and full of enthusiasm. After two Olympics in which she tried and failed to win a medal, though, I was pretty well convinced that she was just destined to be one of those skaters who couldn’t hold it together in the Olympics.
I was shocked, therefore, when I watched some of the team competition earlier during this Olympics and saw Carolina skate. I thought, “She’s still skating?! She must be ancient by now!” And she is – she’s 27. (Yes, in Olympic eligible figure skating, 27 is ancient.)
But what shocked me even more was watching her skate. There was a newfound freedom and an even more newfound control in her skating. She was landing her jumps. She was making it look effortless. She was showing poise and delight all at once.
I couldn’t believe it – at age 27, an age when most skaters these days aren’t considered to have the slightest chance at achieving anything worthwhile, Carolina was better than she had ever been.
And why? I heard one commentator say on the air, “Carolina considered retirement, but her mother convinced her to stay for one more Olympics. She told her, ‘Just skate for the fun of it.’”
And I realized then that her decision to skate for the fun of it – not to win medals, not to live up to any expectations – was behind that new freedom I saw in her skating.
At last, she believed in herself.
I need to say more about a related topic, thanks to this excellent podcast I listened to last week, but I’m going to hold back for now. (I just wrote myself a Not Now Note.)
The question is, do I believe in myself? And my answer: not yet. I’m getting there. But I don’t think I’m there yet. I am working on it, though.
Recently, I read something interesting about Drake, the rapper.
It was only one offhand comment in a Rolling Stone article but it got me thinking.
Here is what Drake said:
“I am obsessed with residential pools.”
That’s a really funny thing to me. I think it’s the addition of the word “residential.” He made the distinction that he was not obsessed with commercial pools. The point he was trying to make is that when he was younger, he dreamed about having some crazy residential pool.
He actually watched the house he lives in now for years, before he even blew up and got famous. I told Jenny that story and she immediately said, “What’s your residential pool?”
That is, what’s something in the distance, something that might even seem silly to someone else, that’s exciting to me?
Maybe it’s not a pool. Maybe it’s building an orphanage. Maybe it’s paying off your house or taking your family to Disney.
But in the midst of some heads down work, I think you need a big, silly, awesome thing you’d like to do.
I’ve shared mine before, Jenny and I want to own a retreat kind of space for friends, family and leaders in Maine someday.
Now it’s your turn!
What’s your residential pool?
This is kind of fun, only I think I have several “residential pools.” What can I say… I’ve always been a dreamer.
One is traveling to Disneyworld (or Disneyland – not picky here) with my family, specifically before the girlios get too old to appreciate it.
Another is going to Wimbledon. I have had this dream for nearly as long as I can remember. It sounds really difficult and possibly even impossible, but I so want to someday.
My last one is going to Germany. Eric’s grandparents were born there, Eric and I each speak a tiny bit (aka “ein Bisschen”) of German, and my Kiersten has decided to take German in high school. It seems like it would be fitting to visit someday.
Today is about WHO, but not in the way we’ve talked about it before.
In the past, we’ve talked about WHO in regards to who might help us in our goal. That’s an external WHO. Now though, I want to focus for a second on an internal version of WHO.
I’m going to ask you the simple who question that my wife asks me regularly:
“Who do you want to be?”
That is, in 5 years or 3 years or 10 years, how do you want to be known?
The challenge is that most times we try to solve the wildly unsolvable question, “Who am I?”
That one leads to long walks in quiet deserts and moments with candles.
Today’s question leads to action.
Will you be known for your humor? Your honesty? Your willingness to try again? Your expertise on the industry you’re part of?
If you thought for a few minutes about WHO you want to be, what does that person look like?
One quick way to do this is to complete this goal setting sentence:
“I want to be the (PERSON’S NAME) of (SPECIFIC TOPIC.)”
This might seem silly, but what you’re saying is something like, “I want to be the Michael Jordan of Accounting” or “The Donald Miller of Fiction.”
So there you have it, one simple question:
Who do you want to be?
This is SO HARD for me. SO HARD.
You know why I call myself Nicole Eclectic? Because I have so many different passions that it’s almost impossible to contain them. And not only do I have tons of passions currently, but more seem to emerge with regularity.
Let me give you a brief rundown of my current passions:
My husband and my children.
Music (especially the handful of independent musicians I enjoy listening to and supporting).
Crazy colored hair.
Children. (As opposed to simply “my children,” I just adore children in general.)
Recently I’ve also recognized that I’m developing an interest in some of the following:
Crafting (i.e., non-knitting crafting)
Native Americans – in Oklahoma as well as in my genealogy (I’m aware of a couple Native Americans in my ancestry, but I know very little about them)
Human trafficking (this is a subject I’m just starting to learn about, and it’s one that has lit an intense fire deep within me)
I’m sure there are more that I just can’t think of right now.
But do you see my problem? Everything you see in these two lists are things that I am passionate about (or am developing passions for). When so many things pull at you and cry for your attention, narrowing yourself down to one goal of “Who I Want To Be” feels nearly impossible.
Would it be a cop-out to say, “I want to be the best possible Christian crazy-haired knitting, writing wife and mother who supports wonderful musicians and loves to watch and play tennis and lives for worship and engaging children through worship while taking the time to craft and learn about her Native American ancestry and investigate what can be done to support anti-trafficking efforts”?
That reads kind of long to me. Perhaps I’m wrong.
That’s one reason I’ve been loving these monthly hustle challenges – it feels to me like it’s helping to refine me, one possibility at a time.
And now, Day 24:
Recently, I saw a makeup commercial in which a host of famous women talked about all the things they were told “girls can’t.”
They said people told them, “Girls can’t start businesses or play hockey or rap.” It was a fairly long ad centered on the idea that “girls can.” Since I was sitting next to two girls on the couch, my daughters, I asked them, “Have you ever felt like you can’t do awesome stuff?”
They seemed confused by the question and said, “No, why would we?”
They personally hadn’t learned that limit that some girls unfortunately deal with. (I think this is in part because my wife Jenny got her Master’s from Georgia Tech in Construction Management, a typically male dominated industry. She laughs at the idea of “girls can’t.”)
The whole conversation made me realize something, often the things that hold us back in accomplishing our goals is the limits we learned. Somewhere along the way, somebody or some situation put a limit on our potential and we believed it.
Today, is about being honest about that limit.
All I want you to do is answer this simple question, “What limits am I living my life with?”
The answer might not come at first, but I promise, somewhere in there is a limit we all need to deal with.
I may not have had a mother who mastered in Construction Management, but I did have two parents who taught my sister and me to never think that we couldn’t do anything because we were girls. I don’t know if we are teaching our daughters as actively as my sister and I were taught, but I do hope that we’re showing them by our examples that there is nothing they can’t do just because they’re girls.
I do remember one particular limit that was placed on me, and how I managed to bust through it. When I was in high school, I was part of two musicals – one as a sophomore, and one as a junior. As a sophomore, I had a very small part, but as a junior I had a much larger part.
Our choreographer got it into her head that I wasn’t good at learning dances. To be honest, I can’t remember if I truly had trouble learning dances in my first musical or not, but she believed I did, and of course it was her belief that mattered. So while she was choreographing one of the songs I would be performing with two others, she was trying to figure out a way to write me out of the dance.
I was 15 years old at the time. The idea that I would be written out of the dance was utterly humiliating to me.
So I spent every waking moment for the next couple of weeks practicing the dance. When I wasn’t at school or doing my homework, I was singing the song and practicing the steps.
And then, one day, during one of our rehearsals, we practiced the song – and the dance. When she saw me moving in perfect time with the two other performers, she said those magical words: “All right. You can stay in the dance.” I’m pretty sure I literally cheered.
Jon writes a lot about how fear can limit you and cause you to make bad decisions. But fear can also be a powerful motivator. In my instance, it was fear of humiliation that drove me to learn that dance so I wouldn’t be written out.
Since then, I don’t know that anyone has attempted to place limits on me. If anything, I feel sometimes like people believe I am limitless, which leads to my being pressured to say “yes” a lot more than I should. But Jon and Crystal’s blogs have been reminding me that I need to remember that “no” is not a bad word, and I should say it as often as necessary.
And with that, I am all caught up. Hurray! God willing, I will be back tomorrow for Day 25.