Inspiration Not Perspiration at Sports Practice #seizingfamilytime

Disclosure: The links in this post are to my amazon affiliate account.

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right. — Henry Ford

Think You Can Poster








I’ve spent a lot of time in school gyms. A LOT OF TIME. Have I mentioned that I spend a lot of time in school gyms?! Three children who are in a variety of sports means that I have spent plenty o’ time in gyms, soccer fields, gymnastic centers, churches, and volleyball courts. That’s a lot of sitting, standing, lounging in soccer chairs, sitting on the floor cross legged, and leaning against a wall.

While killing time, I am never without a book, my phone, or a bag of paperwork to sort through. Most of the time I have no problem finding something to occupy my time. I’ve more than once sorted through my purse. But the noise of the gym, the pounding of volleyballs, the bouncing of basketballs, and even the tinny sound of music coming from the dance school speakers, can become the only sound I hear. I’m incapable of reading a book once I can only hear basketballs bouncing over and over again.

I hate to be idle. I have to occupy my mind with something. I’m not always focused on my kids practicing. I probably should be, but I’m easily distracted. In times of distraction, I often find myself looking around me. I’ll stare of in to space. Stare off in to the distance. Often I look at the walls.

School gymnasium walls are some of the best “reading” material. PE teachers LOVE inspirational quotes…especially elementary school PE teachers. Usually all the quotes are posted on a bulletin board close to the gym doors. Can you imagine being a PE teacher facing the prospect of decorating the entire gym? PE teachers don’t have classrooms. The gym is their classroom. Mostly, you see posters of exercises on the wall. Photos of Olympic athletes. Admonitions to not bully. Warnings to stay safe. Physical challenges for students involving balance beams and the like. Lists of what to do at each stage of the PE lesson from taking a breather to warming up.

And then there are the inspirational quotes. Quotes can run the gamut from “Don’t Give Up” to “Help Your Friend.” My sonĀ  had a basketball scrimmage at a gym we have never practiced at before. While I was there I checked my phone, caught up with a friend from my kid’s preschool days, got acquainted with a new friend from Facebook, read my book (from my last Book Club meetingThe Orchardist), and of course, stared at the walls.

One quote caught my eye:

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right. — Henry Ford

Confidence has always been an issue for me. I was shy as a child. Always had a small group of friends rather than a large one. I was friends or acquaintances with many, but close friends with only a few. I kept my issues to myself…still do. Even my closest friends, don’t know my innermost challenges. If I share something with a friend, it is only after much contemplation and reflection. I’m not a “dumper” of problems. I’m an oversharer, but not of unresolved problems. But back to confidence…

I’ve struggled long and hard with not feeling as if I was up to the task. I attended a high-powered school in England, but I was a mediocre student. In retrospect, my undiagnosed ADD made learning very difficult. I always felt “less” than my more high-achieving peers. Looking back I gravitated to these academic all stars. Always have. I knew that despite my grades I could keep up with the “smart ones,” but confidence held me back. Because I lacked confidence, I didn’t go out of my comfort zone. I downplayed my skills. Didn’t want to stand out. I hesitated to put myself in situations where I would be singled out. Looking back I missed many opportunities being so scared.

But all that has changed…for the most part on oneĀ  of those milestone birthdays. My watershed or a-ha moment was turning 40. I didn’t exactly shout from the rooftops “I’m tired of lacking in confidence and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” But I took charge of my life once and for all. Slowly I made changes. I became more vocal…in a good way. I took risks. Starting graduate school in my 40s was a huge leap of faith, for instance. Starting a blog was a relatively passive move, but embracing my blog and representing myself to brands was far from passive. I was tired of sitting on the sidelines watching others. My blog and my newly found confidence allowed me to become the blogger that I am today.

So the quote I saw on that school gym wall that night my youngest was playing a basketball scrimmage was more than just words. Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” Words I needed to read because doubt has held me back many times before. Doubt that I was good enough. Doubt that I could measure up. Doubt that I would be able to do my job.

Turning 40 was when I moved from thinking about doing to actually doing. From passive to active. I dove back in to the work world after a 5-year hiatus as a stay-at-home mom. Switched careers from editing/managing medical books to blogging. I didn’t just start a blog…I made a commitment to make something of my blog. At the time I had no idea what “turning your blog in to a business” actually meant…but I was game for change. I was ready to stop being a wallflower and get in the game. I made that blog represent me and my family. I didn’t start out thinking of the blog as my business, but soon my blog was my job.

And my newly found confidence wasn’t limited to work. I advocated for my children with their schools and teachers instead of complaining about whatever bothered me. Took on leadership roles in school PTAs and church. Spoke up about key issues because others weren’t able to. In short, I didn’t worry about whether I could do it, I just did it. It was refreshing to not hold back. To get in the game.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *