Several years ago, my daughter Sunshine and I went for a hike. While walking, she noticed the pictured tree. If you can’t tell, it appears that a rock was wedged between the branch and the trunk. That really isn’t all that unusual. OK. It kind of is. But, what really caught her eye was that the tree had begun to grow around the rock. The tree had decided to absorb its obstacle rather than allow that obstacle to stop its growth – to impede its forward motion. As we talked about it I said, “it’s kind of a metaphor for life.” My daughter looked at me confused, and instead of explaining right away, I let her sit with it for a minute.
As we continued our journey, she suddenly stopped and said, “it means that no matter what gets in our way we keep moving forward and growing! Right?” I was very proud of her 10-year-old mind for figuring that out and for seeing that there are going to be obstacles in our lives and that no matter what, we must keep moving forward…keep growing.
As we move through life, obstacles are thrown in front of us every so often. Sometimes the obstacle is self-made and sometimes the obstacle is completely out of anyone’s control. But what is important about obstacles, whether in life or in sport, is all about how you respond to them.
For me, sometimes that response is immediate and positive. I readjust in the moment, correcting what needs to be corrected and move forward. Sometimes the response is immediate and negative, often resulting in self-deprecation, blaming myself for not being prepared for said obstacle, or telling myself I can’t ever conquer it. It is in these moments of self-doubt that I am thankful for my experience with the Girls on the Run curriculum.
Through the years as a Girls on the Run coach, I have learned how to reframe those negative moments into phrases that are more beneficial – phrases that strengthen my STAR POWER rather than cloud it up, making what I am facing appear insurmountable. It isn’t just the lessons…I am a role model for these girls, so even in moments of self-doubt, I move forward – slowly but surely, I move forward and overcome whatever obstacle has presented itself. I want to honestly talk with the girls about these experiences and can share with them how I was able to reframe my thinking and move forward.
How I deal with obstacles, in life and sport, continues to grow. I must say that I think I am getting better with obstacles – even my biggest obstacle…myself. As I continue to grow and try to make a difference in my life and my daughter’s life, and in the lives of the girls I coach, I will channel the strength of that tree that was stronger than its obstacle and absorbed it, making the tree that much stronger.