Most would assume a professional volleyball on the USA women’s national team has always possessed an unwavering belief in herself and her capabilities, well that wasn’t the case for me.
In 2004 was when I truly found and fell in love with volleyball, and it was a complete accident. I was 14 and sleeping over at my best friends house and she asked me if I wanted to come to the first day of summer volleyball camp for the incoming freshman or sleep until she came back. Well, thank God I pulled my lazy teenage self out of bed and tagged along, a decision I never regretted. I only had intentions to read a book and watch from the sidelines, but a few minutes later, after getting permission from the coaches to sit and watch, they asked me if I wanted to join. Well, I did join and I was a hot and tragic mess. I’m ohhhh so very thankful my coaches looked passed all the missed serves that never came close to making it over the net and saw the potential in me.
From that moment, I was continuously apart of high level teams and surrounded by teammates that had been playing serious volleyball since they were about 6 or 7, unlike myself. So in my head, I was spending most of my career playing catch-up on all the basic skills and knowledge of the game, leaving me always feeling one step below other players skills and abilities. So on a daily basis I put a lot of pressure on myself to get and be better, compared myself to others and their skills, walked hand and hand with self doubt when it came to certain aspects of my game, and unconsciously told myself things like, “They have more experience than me”, “I’m not good enough yet” “I’m not good at that”, “ I CAN’T....”. “I make so many mistakes”, “Why do I always mess up”, “My teammates think I’m terrible”, “I can never get my serve over the net”. Well, what you believe, you become and I believed I was a bad server and I became and stayed a bad server.
It wasn’t until I became aware of the things I was consistently telling myself that I realized that 90% of my problems were caused by my own thoughts and my limiting beliefs about myself and my capabilities that I was able to access my limitless potential and actively take part in my success. One defining moment, that led to the awareness of my thoughts and ideas that I had about myself, was when a USA National staff member told me, “It doesn't look like you believe that you deserve to be out there (on the court playing)” when giving feedback on my new role as a starter following one of our matches. I told him he was wrong, but later I would realize he was right, and little did I know that that moment was the beginning of a new journey that helped lead me to the place I proudly stand today.
I learned that I have to be my biggest believer and cheerleader when it comes to my success, celebrate my mini victories of the day instead of comparing my progress and journey to others, allow myself and where I am on my journey to be enough and to tell myself positive stories like “I’m a good server”, ”I CAN…" “I am enough as I am in this very moment”, and to be gentle with myself when I make mistakes because I am trying my best. I use serving as my main example because it was my most mental and most challenging skill and after many years, I was awarded the Best Server award at the Montreux Volley Masters Tournament in Switzerland in 2014. Words and self-beliefs are powerful.
Today I am an Olympic hopeful looking to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics with an amazing and talented squad and keeping encouraging words and phrases in view played, and still play, a HUGE role in me being able to make the daily choice to believe in myself, my capabilities and my dreams. Quotes and words have encouraged me to keep going during times that I’ve felt like giving up and when I believe my journey towards my dream is too tough, to take steps outside of my comfort zone and past doubts and fears, to let go of thoughts that don't make me strong, and to keep doing my thing and being myself.
I’ve always felt a pull/calling/passion to use my platform for more and to provide girls with goals with encouraging words and content that they can bring with them on their journey and that reminds them to believe in themselves during times that they forget so that they can live out their limitless potential and chose thoughts and self-beliefs that propel them in the direction of achieving their dreams.