As you know, I am a coach. I am also a mom. And occasionally I get to be both. Most of the time that is fun… and other times it is challenging. Overall, I am very grateful to share my passion for racing with my family and love having my kids around the team. Even if I have given them the “you just wait until we get home” look during a workout.
I have a mom. She had me young and I in turn made her a young grandma. The older and more self aware I get the more thankful I am for all that my mom gave me. Just a few of these things include genetic athletic talent and good skin (her’s is great skin). She also modeled confidence with a strong sense of humor. My mom has and still loves me, even through my rebellious years. She gave me security, forgiveness, and showed me strength. She taught me the importance of being myself. When I told her (completely out of the blue) that I was going to someday race Ironman, she encouraged me and did not doubt me for one minute. And later, when my arrogant long time runner in our family asked her if I “even knew what Ironman is” she told him that “of course (I) did and you just wait until she crushes it!”
I am grateful for my mom.
I only allude to her occasionally, but I have a coach. Liz is fabulous. She gives me what I need to reach my goals, holds me accountable, and also offers some great advice on life. She is a seasoned high performing athlete. I respect her and appreciate that I can take planning my own training off my to-do list. She cares and has compassion, but she does’t coddle me or take things personally. I pay her, she does her job, and I make the choice on whether or not to follow what she tells me to do.
I am grateful for my coach.
Although some coaches ARE moms to their own children, as a coach it is not our responsibility to be “motherly” to our athletes. There are many evident (and obvious!) differences when comparing the mom/child relationship with the coach/athlete one. But, there are also some lessons you can learn from and apply to both.
I have written about a few before that are very important. In ALL relationships it is important to be aware enough to not fall into codependency, establish boundaries, and don’t make yourself a victim of others or circumstances. These are some of the most important key points to consider when creating new or shifting existing healthy relationships (even with your mom).
And something new to add to that list: Don’t take things personally.
Easier said than done- right? As humans (and most readers, Americans) we have a strong pull toward making most things about us. The exciting and relieving fact is that most of the actions of others actually have nothing to do with us. When we become intent on taking the actions or words of others personally we create and live in a victim mentality. And then we stop focusing on what we can change. And if you are a weekly reader you know that this leads to energy being spent distracting from your real goals. You end up tired and too stressed to focus on your personal evolution and serving others from your full self.
I am not at all saying that anyone should allow personal attacks. I am suggesting that when you feel hurt or offended that before you take action, you step back and assess the situation. Consider what is bothering you. Is it about you? Was it intended to be hurtful? And then if needed approach the other person using “I” not “you” statements. “I feel hurt,” not “YOU hurt me.” You can lovingly speak in truth while not attacking through blaming. If the other person is open to resolving the conflict they will not start out defensive. Boom. Energy well spent.
I can look back on countless moments where I took something unnecessarily personally and see the obvious negative affect it had on my goals (and my general well-being!). One that jumps out at in my mind is the memory of a 13.1 race in Miami dwindled to the irritation I felt and dwelled on when a well meaning spectator cheered “you are almost there” at the 10-mile mark. It wasn’t personal. It was well intended. But I took it personally and tainted my memory.
I have been a scapegoat, blamed when athletes don’t want to do a workout or when they don’t race well (even when they hadn’t followed through on the training plan). I remind them that my coaching is not personal while not allowing myself to take their anger or frustration personally.
I have taken things that my mom as said and done unnecessarily personally. I have made my mom a scapegoat. As a mom I sometimes take what my kids say and do personally, although it very rarely is actually about me.
Honestly, I have to check my desire to make and take things personally quite often. A friend doesn’t’ text back, I see something on social media, my teens throw me a side eye look…
But, I know better now. It’s not personal.
We make things about us in order to get the upper hand. It’s a form of control. We often unknowingly want to be the victim. But, once you let go of that mentality you will feel more free. Let acceptance and love take over. Love is about investing and gratitude, not control. It is about faith and trust, not paranoia, manipulation, and playing a victim.
Thank you to all moms.
Thank you to my mom.
Thank you to my coach, Liz.
Thank you to my athletes for choosing me as your coach.
And thank you to my kids for giving me the opportunity to be a mom.
Your coach is for you. Your mom is for you. You are for your kids. They are for you. And when they make mistakes or challenge you— it’s not personal.
Cheers and Happy Mother’s Day,