As most of you know, I have been quite busy lately— coaching many athletes to their goal races that have been a year(s) in the making; taking on excited new athletes; sending two kids off to/back to college and getting the last one left at home ready for senior year; finishing my book; training for my own race coming up at the end of October; and now getting ready to move into a new home.
And doing all of this while still trying to be a present wife, friend, daughter, sister, granddaughter, and contributing member to our community.
I am sure my “busy-list “ is different than yours, yet also lengthy in nature. And yes, I absolutely do make the decisions to take most of this on myself. I love having a full life and am far from complaining.
I feel more blessed than stressed. And a lot of this has to do with many of your best wishes and warmest regards.
Being surrounded by love has made such a difference in how I process stress and overall perceive my circumstances. So, my advice to you today is short: reach out. Send that quick text. Give a quick call. Acknowledge big goals. Don’t shy away from mentioning the hard stuff. Check your own needs, agenda, and feelings and actually listen to people. Don’t be afraid to sit with someone who is struggling.
What can this look like?
Send that “good luck” text, email, social media comment, card, or gift. It does matter. Even if you think it is silly or simple.
Try to not brush off their fears and nerves with a quick “you’ve got this.” Instead, listen to them. I think this Triathlete article by one of my athletes, E Scott Osborne, sums this point up perfectly: https://www.triathlete.com/training/what-not-to-say-to-a-triathlete-in-training/
Go watch if you can. Most athletes love and appreciate spectators and volunteers more than you may ever understand if you don’t race. Those stupid signs and funny comments entertain athletes. A simple empathetic smile can encourage them. The two seconds of you jumping up and down and screaming their name as they fly by ignites them with gratitude.
Ask about their races—even if you know they tanked it. Talking through successes and failures helps process it all.
In other big life moments:
Send that “I’m thinking of you” text, email, social media comment, card, or gift. Again, it does matter.
Ask for what you need. Don’t let relationship suffer because you assume the other person is “too busy for you.” If you want to have dinner, coffee, etc— ask! And keep sharing your life. Your highs and lows still matter, even when someone is experiencing their own busyness or other struggles. Don’t try to protect others by pulling back. Offer the time and energy that you can while maintaining healthy boundaries. Show up to be present with people, not to check a box.
Listen and acknowledge the other person’s feelings before offering your own story. We all want to feel that we belong, and our shared experiences can increase connection. But, when a friend tells you they are struggling, actively listen to them first, before telling them all about you. Active listening includes processing, asking questions, or validating/challenging. It is not just waiting to talk. After listening, share your story that may provide connection.
You can offer help, but don’t jump to trying to “fix” people or circumstances. Don’t assume how someone feels. Ask. And then work to be okay being uncomfortable together.
And if you are the one who needs to be reached, try to ask for what you need and also to see when people are sincerely trying. Don’t be afraid of the need for confrontation or conflict when it arises, but also don’t let your own bitterness cloud your ability to see those attempting to love you.
I am surrounded by so many amazing communities and am so well loved. I have so many friends who still reach out with excitement and/or compassion over all of my racing and other changes in life. I am a lucky lady for sure.
Thank you for always offering your kind words, simple messages, hugs at the coffee shop, and offers to help. Most of all, thank you for reading this blog weekly and paying it forward to love yourself and those in your own lives well. That is truly what this is really about.
Best wishes and warmest regards,