Summer School - Authenticity 101
calendar hasn't even turned to July, and I've
already been to three coaching
conferences/clinics and two share sessions. I
have spoken out and been spoken to. I've
listened to podcasts from every "expert" in the
Northern Hemisphere and I've read four,
(and-a-half, but who's counting), of my summer
books. That's what coaches do during the
offseason, right? That's how we grow, learn, and
feel good about the 12-16 hour days we're not
working from March-August. I've experienced a
lot of education in the midst of all those
speakers, presenters, and words on pages, but my
real "schooling" came from a 30-minute phone
call with a young assistant coach named Jhasmine.
The phone call wasn't even supposed to happen.
It was prompted by an errant text. Jhas sent me
a positive and encouraging, "Win the Day,"
message, and it made me smile. Naturally, I
fired an equally positive response right back at
Then I cringed. Because I didn't feel very
positive on this day.
So I took a screenshot of my reply to Jhas and
sent it, along with the following message, "I
get at least one similarly-related text, DM, or
tweet like this every day. And I'm not sure how
I REALLY feel about it." And I hit "send" and
exhaled. I breathed out loud because I had
finally opened up to someone whom I trust and
love about my true feelings from the last six
months. Of course they would respond with,
"???", and then I could finally share with
someone the pressure I was feeling to be
something to others I'm not sure I can always
be. Then we would discuss it, and they would
provide me with insight and perspective and
hopefully tell me to shut down my Twitter or at
least stop saying, "Win the Day" all the damn
time, and then no one would expect anything of
me and life would be great. So I hoped.
Except I never gave that person a chance.
Because I accidentally sent the message back to
the original sender. I replied to Jhasmine and
basically told her, "Thanks for the great and
inspiring text! I get these all the time. And
they're stressing me out!"
Once I realized what I had done, I immediately
reached out to Jhasmine and experienced a moment
of clarity. I decided to have that same
transparent and vulnerable conversation I had
intended, but instead of having it with someone
I trust and truly knows my heart, I was going to
have it with Jhasmine. Someone I've only known
through handwritten notes, social media, and a
remote mentor group. Someone I've never met, or
at least never remembered meeting, and someone
that could easily take everything I was going to
confide in her and do with it what she chose.
THAT, by every definition of the word, is
What came from the errant text was a beautiful
and meaningful conversation, in which I shared
with a young and rising star in our profession,
my trepidation of using my platform to give
others the freedom to use theirs. I talked about
my struggles with expectations and my fear of
disappointing. I expressed my frustration with
judgment, and my daily fight to live an
uncontrolled life in a profession that is
naturally prone to controlling lives.
I am the "Win the Day Girl" to many of you but
the reality is, I don't win every day. And on
those days I don't win, who’s watching? Who's
judging? Who's disappointed? Or... who even
cares? All I've ever tried to do is be authentic
and in some unexpected way, I've inspired others
to be themselves. But what if I start doing
things differently? With different intentions or
motives. Solely for the reason I don't want to
let people down. And THAT scares me.
So I shared all this with Jhas and she listened.
And she gave me her perspective along with her
own story. And this is what I learned and how I
grew that day...whatever you think of me on any
given night, whether you think I'm an asshole or
an angel -- you're right. The experience you have
with me brings judgment and with judgment comes
opinion. So whatever your opinion is of me,
you're entitled to it. If I've encouraged you in
some way by writing you a note or sending you a
random book -- that is your experience with me.
If I've offended you in some way by something
I've written or tweeted or how I shake or don't
shake hands -- that is your experience with me.
And it's all OK with me. ALL of it.
It has to be. Because that is how I'm TRYING to
live my life -- uncontrolled. By the thoughts,
opinions, moods, words….etc. of others. It's
hard work. If it came easy than I wouldn't have
to constantly practice it. I also try very hard
to control the controllables. That wasn't a
tagline for an interim season. That is Authentic
Shimmy. Authentic Shimmy is also Imperfect
Shimmy. And Funny Shimmy. And Contemplative
Shimmy. And Gay Shimmy. And Fiery Shimmy. And
Socially Conscious Shimmy. And Not-For-Everyone-Shimmy. And that’s OK. It has to be.
What Jhasmine implored is for me to continue
being me. All of me. Because by being me, I'm
allowing someone else to be them. I have a
story, but here's the greatest knowledge I
learned, my story is not mine to hoard. The
universe doesn't want me to keep my story to
myself. I own it, but I have an obligation to
tell it. And so I tell my story by living my
authentic life. I have no pressure to be
anything other than who I am. And when I came to
that realization, my world got lighter. As
Marianne Williamson so famously wrote, and
others have been so famously misquoted, "It is
our light, not our darkness that most frightens
us……your playing small does not serve the world.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our
presence automatically liberates others."
Winning every day is the equivalent of "playing
small" and I've never been a fan of small ball.
I believe our time on earth is limited and
measured most by the impact you've made on
others. I'm not here to "win every day." I just
want to win more than I lose and grow on those
days I struggle. The days I struggle the most,
are the days I am most alive.
For those of you who are part of the "Win the
Day / Look Up" movement, keep the messages,
tweets, posts, and texts coming. You inspire me
as much as I hope I encourage you. And when you
see me "not winning the day," smile and take
great comfort in knowing that I will be better
tomorrow because of the "L" I'm taking today.
*if you don’t know who Jhasmine Player is,
go no further than this viral tweet. Just a
snapshot of the wisdom, self awareness, and
authenticity that is this rising star. Grateful
for her and all the other woke young coaches in
this profession that will carry the torch and
leave this profession better than how they found