“We should have these conversations in front of people,” he said.
The first time I heard that statement, I 100% thought he was crazy.
“No pressure, just tell me when you are ready.”
And the talks would continue…about life, coaching, parenting, leadership, principles and reality, values and vision. From the first time we spoke at “The Way GRV” book booth in Dallas, Texas almost 3 years ago, Coach Chris’s and my perspectives, although very different, seemed to bounce back and forth with ease, which seems to be a rarity in this world today. Society, seems to find many ways to label and try to segment us off...age, race, gender, political party, sexuality and the list goes on. But I believe in the human ability to relate and learn, if we find the courage to listen and admit that we have the potential to be changed by another. We are so much more alike than different.
I have experienced a great deal of growth from both challenging my beliefs, and standing my ground. I can be equally inspired by what a chip on your shoulder can do for accomplishment, and yet believe so deeply in the ideas that I reserve headspace for, that I have the ability to speak up when I don’t agree; not too long ago that wasn’t the case. I know that being real is at the heart of my expression and that the better we understand ourselves and how our life experiences relate to universal truths like love, forgiveness, courage, and intuition, the easier it is for us to find sustained happiness and help others along the way. I operate from the premise that we are all works in progress doing the best we can. It’s optimistic for some, but it works for me. The more we focus on the way we play our hand, instead of whether the guy next to us is bluffing or has a royal flush, the better our days will be, and the greater ability we give ourselves to maximIze our potential.
These are some of my truths that come from a lot of soul searching since that Dallas meeting in 2016. My opinion and ability to challenge my comfort zone changed for the better since then as well. So last Tuesday night, The Optimists Journal, my generational learning, storytelling venture, held its first speaking event in my hometown, Fresno. Even though I’m a introvert, life for me is about the connection I feel with people and those moments when we are all feeling understood. One of the good things about getting older is feeling the gratitude i have for the relationships built with others who have helped strengthen and support me throughout my life. From the closest relationships like my parents, children’s godparents, and friends of 20 plus years who have taught me the meaning of loyalty and trust, to my high school coach who taught me about grinding and being tough, and even the pharmacists who would ease my mind with their knowledge (and home delivery, thanks Bullard Pharmacy!) when one of my kids was suffering from their 30th ear infection, Tuesday night filled my heart with so much joy for the connections we share.
There were so many high points to this conversational experience, my favorites among them were the questions asked by the audience and the engagement I felt with them, especially when they said they didn’t want an intermission! But, as with any first event, there are also things to learn from that I want to improve as we go.
Tuesday night was my first conversational experience with an audience, and, although Chris and I have a lot of words between us, there was little to no rehearsal because I want my talks to reflect the flow of life, and…
life is not a rehearsal.
My writing, and now my talks, are about greater universal truths...confidence, forgiveness, self love, and so many others. That being said, there is no single situation or experience that I am trying to shed light on through my conversation. One of the things I have learned is that we each create our own destiny and for me to have an opinion about what is anyone else to own, does very little to change anything. And the truth is that we rarely have enough information to make an accurate judgment anyway.
I have done hard work to understand why I stand where I do today. Themes of fear, unworthiness, and lack of self confidence are among the things I have worked on to improve my own story. With the growth i have made in these areas, they are among my favorite things to write and talk about in hopes that it can help someone else on their journey.
From the bottom of my heart, I can’t thank you enough for showing up, engaging, listening and helping me grow in my journey Fresno. You’ve always been there before, but it feels so good to know that nothing has changed. Best people, love of my roots.