My TED Talk – Vulnerability, the power in sports

So I’m writing my TED talk. Well, it’s in my head. And it’s all because my friend, Julia Zanutta, told me that in addition to this blog, and writing a sports book, JULIA SAYS: “You’re going to get speaking engagements, you’ll need somewhere to provide booking information and links to Amazon for your book and a link to your TED talk.”

(Wha…? TED? lol…  Then, I stopped. Hmm, I thought, maybe…I guess it’s possible). “You have a point,” I said, “TED is in my future.” And I briefly rambled – Couldn’t I do all that booking and linking on my Blog site…?

Vulnerability. Julia also told me about incredible TED talks by researcher, Brene Brown. Vulnerability and Shame are amazing. And after watching Brene and hearing her message, it got me thinking how us athletes and coaches have such a hard heel dug into “don’t be vulnerable” and “never be weak,” because, hey, it’s sports and you have to be tough and tougher to fight hard and win, never be weak, never give up, just go, go, go. Got it?

But at times, athletes are vulnerable. Don’t fight it. That’s when you are most brave and connect with others. If you suppress emotion too much, you create obstacles and inner stress. It is suppression that stops us, keeps us disconnected, untrustworthy, and even powerless. In human nature, it’s our core desire to express – shout when you’re happy, cry when you’re sad. Right? So we need to connect. Through personal exposure and shared empathy, you can become a vessel of truth and power. If you struggle while avoiding vulnerability, you are only defeating yourself. You are not perfect. No one is. And it’s all a *big show* if you always fake it (faker faker). So think: You can’t know or learn about your teammates OR yourself if you keep faking, always hiding your pain. It’s not real. And the best athletes in the world, like Venus Williams, who are tough, face challenges, yet openly share vulnerabilities – THEY ARE REAL AND BRAVE – and that’s why we want to be like them.

So Talk. You don’t have to do a TED talk. Just talk to your mom, dad, sister, brother, friend. What are you feeling, thinking? Maybe, just maybe, your coach or teammates will understand. Maybe they will help you. Maybe, a teammate will say, “Yeah, me, too.” But I guarantee, you will feel brave to speak honestly and relieved to open up. And, you will find others who feel the same way. In becoming vulnerable with your teammates, you will automatically start to lean on one other, then support each other, and push each other to overcome the toughest moments. Through all of this you will become closer. Together you will feel powerful, and possibly, invincible, and when you do, you will rise and soar higher and higher, reaching the most amazing heights–together.

And that, my friend, is the power in sports.

Now, back to writing.  TED may be calling.

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Hannah, Annalisa, and my daughter, McKenna winning Regional Basketball Championship. The girls talked, became a close team, and went on to win the National title.

Reach, sweat, and believe.

~mitz

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Plan your success – be the smart athlete

Aside

“Hello and Welcome!” This site is dedicated to you, every female athlete in every sport. And I’m going to give you my guts: straight-up advice, personal grief, snappy, funny stories, and invaluable insight from my experience [as an athlete and college coach], and wisdom from leaders in the sports world. Hope you like it!

First, Plan Your Success: When you’re reaching for the top, you can not give up easily. Look at Diana Nyad swimming to Cuba, or the USA Oracle team winning America’s Cup (down by 7 races and won the next 8 in a row). These athletes are smart, determined, and surround themselves with supportive people.

So engage your mind. Be the smart athlete. Surround yourself with great influences and positive people (a coach, parent, teacher, doctor, teammate, etc). People who keep you on track; awesome people who encourage and push you. Recruit your own ‘champions‘ as supporters and guides. And become a champion for yourself.

Sheila: My older sister, Sheila, is one of my champions. From the time we were small, she was fiercely determined. Such a role model for me (except when she wanted to play Barbies, blech). Last March, Sheila ran the L.A. marathon in 3:32 hrs, an 8 min-mile average! Wahoo! Now, she’s fighting back after a TBI. But she’s tough. If anyone can do it, she can. You always make me want to be better, Sheila. I love you!

LM sis Sheil

Sheila trying to be taller than me. haha

Sheila running FAST

S kicking major butt

Here is your Action Item #1:

Identify your best supporters – your ‘champions‘ – write down their names, great things they say, get pictures to enjoy, talk and listen to them regularly. Remember–Smart Athletes surround themselves with powerful and positive influences. You can do it!

Reach, sweat, and believe.

~mitz