THE ACCRESCENT™ PODCAST EPISODE 133
Overcoming Self-Doubt & Embarrassment As I Step Into New Challenges
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It’s here! The WPSL semi-professional soccer league has finally begun and today I am sharing three inner-personal challenges and uplevels I have faced over the last two weeks. Even if you aren’t a soccer or sports enthusiast, I think there are some great takeaways that can apply to many areas of life in this episode!
Scarlett 2i2 USB & Logitech BRIO-2: Wow, you guys. Well, what a amazing, but also growth filled last two weeks. That has been for me. I think, as you guys know, in some of these solo episodes, sometimes I’m sharing about. New information that I’m learning in the mental, emotional health realm, the physical health realm, but oftentimes I’m sharing a little bit of my own healing journey, my own growth experience, what I am learning, what I’m struggling with.
And today is gonna be one of those stories, but I think it’s gonna be really uplifting and hopefully, hopefully expansive, hopefully expiring in some way. To reference all of this. I’ll give you kind of the big picture, and then I wanna start to pick apart some of the specific things I want to share about this these last two weeks.
So for anyone who’s listened for a while, you’ll know that back in, I think December or November, I announced in a podcast episode that I wanted to try and pursue playing professional women’s soccer here in the United States, and there’s a whole backstory to that. I’m not gonna get into that here. I’ll link that episode in the show notes if you wanna be able to go back and get some of the backstory if you’re just joining this conversation.
With all of that said, I have been waiting for the semi-professional season to start pretty much since last. August or September. The Semiprofessional season is from May to about the end of July, and so I have just been until then training on my own training with some one-on-one soccer coaches, preparing myself physically and technically to be able to train with a semi-professional team and play with them in this summer semi-pro league.
So, With all of that said, the time finally came when this season is starting, cuz it felt like it was just so far away. It’s, it’s a interesting experience to be preparing for something so far in advance and I haven’t had to do that in a really long time. I think so I think this is where we’re gonna get into the meat and potatoes of it is.
I’ve now had four practices with this team that I am a part of, I’m so grateful to be a part of, and it has been so fun and so invigorating, and also incredibly, incredibly humbling. And I want to share just some of the mental processes and some of the things I’ve observed in myself and also had to overcome just in the last few weeks.
And what I wanna also preface here really quickly is, yes, I’ll be talking about some of these growth areas in relation to sports and to this soccer team, but I do think that there’s a lot of good nuggets here. Even if you’re not involved in sports, even if you’re not an athlete.
I think there’s a lot of broader takeaways for us in general. So hopefully with that said, Even if you’re not an athlete, even if you have no interest in sports, you’ll stick around cuz I think there’s some great, great takeaways from this. So let me just give you the experience first. This team trains twice a week, two hours each time.
On the one hand, I was really proud and excited with my growth in my physical fitness to be able to train. The whole practice and not have any real issues, like not needing to stop, not needing to take a break, having not trained with a team and in a team environment for almost seven years now. I really didn’t know what to expect.
With that said, I’ll celebrate the highlights, but I wanna start with where I. Just the, the things that have been difficult for me, which is I have really been struggling with. I am not the best player on the team. No surprise there, really. However, what’s been humbling about this is I, when I was the age of the girls I’m playing with, cuz the girls on this team are.
18, 19, 20, 21 Young, they’re in college. Most of them are playing division one soccer at the highest non-professional levels in the world. And so, but when I was their age, I was one of the best players on the teams I was on. I was incredibly confident and knew I brought so much to the table. And so it is so humbling to come back to it now.
And not be that, not be that shiny thing, be the player that I can is making mistakes, is making sometimes silly mistakes and fundamental mistakes. And my passes aren’t always great. I’m not getting to the ball fast enough. I’m not the fittest one on the team. All of these different things, and it’s kind of twofold.
What I wanna first start with, I guess, is on the one hand I think. Having been away from the sport for so long and also just my own emotional growth journey, it’s allowed me to come back to it with just such a pure love of the game rather than, whereas before, I think when I was younger, so much of my self-worth, so much of my identity was wrapped up in being the best player on the team or an elite athlete, and I’m super, super happy to say that.
That hasn’t so much been the case. I even from that first day, I was able to go, I’m not the best one here, but it’s not knocking my self worth, it’s not knocking my self-confidence. I feel so safe and secure in myself knowing that there’s so much more to me than just this. And whereas before, I probably would have been really disheartened and maybe even like ashamed that I wasn’t one of the best players on the team.
So that’s definitely a highlight there.
Where I’ve had to get really intentional about my inner dialogue and my mental state is, And this is something that I’ve found kind of along this whole journey over the last year is that the first day of training when I was out there and I could tell, oh, I’m, I’m not as quick as these girls. I’m not passing it as fast as they are.
I’m, uh, just not as physically fit as they are. My vision isn’t as quick as theirs. My mind wanted to take me down this road of if I’m not at their level now, I never will be. And that’s when I really had to step in and after training and over the next few days, have a lot of inner conversations with myself, just reiterating to myself.
This is all just training you can get back there. These skills aren’t, either you have them or you don’t. Although of course, I do think some, some individuals have more just innate athletic ability, but what I had to remind myself is, hey, if your passes aren’t as sharp as they used to be, you can train that back.
If your fitness isn’t as good as these girls, you can train that back. Those aren’t inherent qualities that you can never get back again. And I had to pull back and remind myself where I was at, even just a year ago when I first started training again, because, and I laugh at this every time I even share it because I, the very first time I got out on the field to train again after six years away, I could barely run five minutes.
I’m not even kidding. And as a soccer player, that’s atrocious. I mean, as a soccer player, I remember when I was playing in college, I could go through a three hour practice and then me and my best friend would go on a 45 minute run. After that, just the level of fitness was so, so intense. And so, but I bring that back in because I had to remind myself, Hey, do you remember a year ago it felt like I can’t even run five minutes?
Oh my God, I’m never, I’m never gonna be able to get that fit again and look where I am a year from now. Training full practices, able to run, two hours straight, whatever it is. And so I had to bring in even that recent personal experience of, it’s the same thing. I can train all of these things back.
What I thought was so fascinating that I, I wanna pick apart a little bit more over the ne, next few days and weeks, is why does my brain want to go to that place of. Oh my gosh. I am not the best one here. I could never be, I’ll never get there. If I’m not there now, I never will be. I think that’s really interesting, and I imagine a lot of us experience this in many different instances, whether it’s, I am not the most high performing worker, or, oh, look at that mom.
Look at what a great mom she is. I’ll never be there or any number of things. I am just, maybe just my general fitness. Isn’t as good as I want it to be, but feeling like, ah, I’ll never get there.
It’s like the mind wants to make it so black and white. Either I’m there or I’m not there, and that’s it. And having to very intentionally and consciously open that door in my mind and go, it’s not black and white if I’m not. Somewhere where I’d like to be. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever get there. And being able to just expand that in my mind.
So that was a big thing that I noticed was coming up, especially, well, to be honest, every training, cuz every, so far we’ve had four practices and every single practice I have been like, oh my gosh, I am, I am so not at the level of these girls. How am I even here? How have they, why do they keep letting me come back?
And truly every single time walking away from the field, I have to remind myself, you are upleveling. Just because you’re not there today doesn’t mean you can’t be there next week, the week after that, a month from now. And that’s been hard to hold that in my brain cuz it was, it’s super disheartening to feel like I’m.
Not at that level to know that I used to be at that level. And so it’s just been really fascinating to see in this particular journey I’m on right now, what an incredible impact. My mental health, my mental awareness, my emotional perspective and regulation and attunement is having in relation to this ultimate goal that I’m trying to get to, which is trying to see if I can play professional soccer.
So the second thing though, there’s kind of, there’s three big takeaways that I’ve had over the last two weeks. So the first one was that takeaway that I just shared, which is my mind wanting to just be like, if I’m not there today, I’ll never get there. So why even try? And that was definitely a thought that came through my head is like, Leanne, what’s the point of this?
You’re just embarrassing yourself. And how embarrass, like, what are you even doing? How embarrassing to be out here training with these 20 year olds trying to pursue this goal that you’re never gonna get to just, just quit Now. Literally, those were the thoughts that have been going through my head over the last two weeks that I have had to be so intentional about counteracting with much more expansive beliefs and thoughts.
There’s two other kind of big takeaways I’ve had over the last two weeks though that I wanna share as well. The first one is I have noticed this pattern in myself that whenever I am i’ll, I’ll just use the word upleveling. That might not resonate with everyone, but that’s just the word that’s coming to mind right now.
Whenever I am upleveling in my life, stepping into things that are a little hard for me, that are pushing me to grow more in new ways. I find that my baseline starts to get shaky and for anyone. The last solo episode that I did two weeks ago, funny coincidence, was talking about my. Wellness baseline and how I have this kind of baseline in my mind of these are at a minimum the things I need to do and give myself on a daily basis to maintain a strong foundation with which I can go through life with energy and motivation and drive and enthusiasm and joy and all these different things.
I’ll link that episode down below too for anyone who wanna listen to that, but, What I’ve noticed is when I am starting to step into more responsibilities, new opportunities, more, just more obligations on my calendar, that baseline starts to get a little wavery. I start to maybe not feed myself as well.
Maybe I’m not drinking as much water as I should be. Maybe I start to neglect my emotional wellness routine, my, like my journaling and my meditation and my walking. And this has been a huge, huge, I’d say like goal or resolution, although I don’t really like that word for this year specifically, is.
Expanding and growing into new things, but not at the expense of what I’ve already built up. And this is so huge for me because I think the pattern in the past was that I’d, I’d get a new idea, I’d get this new thing that I wanted to birth i’d, I’d get this new idea for a new service I wanna offer, and I would put all of my attention, all of my energy on this thing.
And then some of the other things that I’ve built up would start to fall apart, would start to not do so well because I’ve just diverted all of my attention to this one thing. And so that for me was a big thing this year of I, of course want to continue to grow, but it can’t be growth at the expense of what I’ve already built.
It can’t be building something new. While letting everything else I’ve built just fall apart, not, not maintaining what has already been built, and a part of that maintenance is this baseline that I have created for myself. What I’ve noticed is, like for example, these last two weeks training with the team, I have been physically so tired and the parts of my wellness baseline that start to waiver tend to be around food and how well I’m feeding myself.
And I just because I’m so tired, it’s like, Ugh, I don’t want to cook a nice meal. I just, I’ll have like a piece of toast and a couple pieces of Turkey and some bits of cheese and like that’s what I’m feeding myself. And just I think two nights ago I was telling my husband Omid, I am not eating enough vegetables just to nourish my body with the basic nutrients.
And so what I love about this, and I think the takeaway for me is number one, being able to recognize, Ooh, okay, I’m doing that. I’m starting to do that thing where I am growing in one area, but some of the other things are starting to get shaky and waving, and I don’t want to go down that road. I don’t wanna let these other things fall apart.
And what I love is, number one, my awareness around that, that I have been able to catch that so quickly. Two weeks in, not a big deal. Great. Now I have awareness around it. I can pivot. I can really double down on that baseline of mine and make sure I’m nourishing myself well. Mind, body, and spirit.
And I think a part of that was, Reminding myself, this is a part of growth. This is like really the whole premise of growth is that I am being challenged to do something that I don’t have a lot of practice with, that I maybe am not super good at, and ultimately I’m stepping into just something new, something I haven’t experienced before.
And so being able to step back and bring in that grace of. Yeah, it growth is hard. If it was easy, you wouldn’t, if it was easy, you would’ve already done this growth because it would’ve just been really easy to implement. That’s the whole point is I want to grow. I’m stepping into something new, and because it’s new, because it’s a challenge, it is going to be in some ways, I think inherently hard, and being able to pause and remind myself of that I think was super helpful of.
No, nothing’s wrong with me. I’m not broken. I’m not lazy. I’m not, whatever, any number of things my brain maybe wants to bring up. No, actually, whoa, Leanne, I’m so proud of you. You are stepping into something new. You are challenging yourself with more obligations, with, uh, being vulnerable and putting yourself in an opportunity and an environment where you’re not the best, where you will need to step up.
And you’ve never, as an adult in the working world, I never have been training on a team while also running my own business and working with clients and trying to still maintain my own physical health. So it’s like, okay, yeah. Now Leanne, you’re trying to juggle even more things. And so there might be that initial recalibration phase, and that’s okay.
And you don’t need to recalibrate instantly, and you don’t need to recalibrate perfectly. Giving myself that grace and bringing in a little bit of patience of I’m not gonna be the best on the team tomorrow. I may be not going to be able to manage all these new things perfectly right away, but reminding myself, that’s why I’m here because I want to be able to step into more.
I want to be able to let more facets of myself come through and be nurtured and. I haven’t done that in a long time. So there’s just a lot of growth that’s happening. But with that, there’s going to be some turbulence and it’s okay. So that was kind of the second takeaway for me over these last two weeks.
And then the third one that I wanna get into here is I listened to, and I’ll kind of give you a little story that I heard on social media the other day that I think explains this really well. It was this woman talking about how as a. Maybe a girl in college. She, for whatever reason, decided to get a snake as a pet.
And this was a little baby snake. And she had it in a really small glass environment in her home. And a few years down the line, she had to take this, the snake to the vet. And the doctor was saying, your snake is way too small for how old it is. It should be a lot bigger. And the vet asked her, what is the size of the.
Cage or the environment that you’ve been keeping it in. And she tells him the size and he’s like, that’s way too small. You need to put the snake in an environment, in a box the size of what you want the snake to become, not a box that fits the size of the snake as it is currently. I hope that made sense, but how I took that into my own life is so often when we do want to grow.
Into something bigger, into something better. We have to put ourselves in environments that maybe we aren’t totally ready for. And I’ll give, use this soccer example as the perfect example of this. For me right now, I was not totally ready to play on this team. I, I’m not as fit as they are. I’m not as technically sound as they are.
So if you, if I had waited until the day when I was like, 100%, I am at their exact level, now I can join a team. I think first of all, it would’ve taken me so much longer, but being able to expand yourself into new environments and new challenges, new metaphorical boxes that are bigger than maybe what you can necessarily fit in right now.
I really do believe, and at least I found this true for myself so often. That’s what makes my growth exponential is that I am intentionally surrounding myself and putting myself in environments with people who are better than me, who are more adept at something than me. And being surrounded by them is what helps me step up to that level so much quicker.
In this particular case, I’m talking about soccer and soccer skills and soccer fitness, and absolutely, I know I have such a confidence that even just a few weeks in this environment, I am going to improve exponentially and I’m gonna improve exponentially faster than I would have if I was just continuing to train alone and wait until I was.
Technically, quote unquote, good enough to be a part of this group and this environment. And I think that’s so huge and I think that has so many implications in so many other areas of life. Whether it’s I, I wanna apply for a job that I don’t feel like I meet every single qualification for, or I. Maybe I wanna start creating a new friendship group, but I don’t feel, a friendship group of vulnerability and connection, but I don’t feel like I’m, I’m doing vulnerability perfect yet.
And so I can’t go find that group until I’m that perfect example of vulnerability and connection and, and friendship. I just think there are probably so many instances where all of us are waiting until we fit the box perfectly before we step into it. And so how can we start to, in that metaphorical way, step into boxes that are maybe a little bit too big for us in order to allow for that faster exponential growth that can come?
What I wanna say overall is it’s been an amazing two weeks. I, I’ve had such a fun time. Soccer, and I think sport in general, but soccer specifically, I have just such a deep, pure love for this sport. And when I stopped actually playing, I think I had a lot of shame about that. I think I almost had imposter syndrome of like if I’m not an actual player anymore, if I’m not an athlete anymore, I can’t really be involved in the sports world.
I can’t even really talk and share about how. How much I love this thing and how much I love sport and competition in general. And so it has been, I, I even said this in the podcast, I recorded a few months back, even just training on my own, back in July, August, September, it was like this, this part of me that had been locked away in a dark closet for so many years, finally felt like she was let free again, finally felt like she was coming back to life again.
And that’s, that’s like tenfold now that I’m even playing with a team. And I just, it’s so invigorating. It’s, it’s so fulfilling and just joy-filled. And another reminder of how much I love this sport, how much I love the team environment, and. Regardless of where this path leads, whether it leads and ends with me actually playing on a professional team, or maybe it ends with me going, yeah, you know what?
I don’t think, I don’t think I’m, I’m good enough for that. I think a big takeaway for me, despite all of that, is sport needs to be a big part of my life, whether I’m involved as a player, whether I’m involved as a mentor. Maybe now with what I do here with EVOC and life Coaching and Emotional wellness, maybe I’m involved as a emotional wellness coach in some way, but it, it was really clear to me over the last two weeks, okay, whoa, you love this so much and I need to remember that.
And going forward in the future, continue to brainstorm and be open to ways that sport and soccer and that team environment can be a part of my life, even outside of the player experience. So I hope, I hope there was some resonance in there for you guys. It’s kind of fun, these solo episodes. Just getting to share, I think some of my epiphany, some of the things I’m learning, some of the things I’m struggling through and puzzling out on my own and the conclusions I come to, how I’m overcoming certain things.
So I hope it’s helpful. As always, I’m so, so grateful for each and every one of you who tunes. In coming next week, we’ll have another guest interview. That I’m so excited for you all to hear. But until then, have an amazing weekend. If you’re in the US, happy Memorial Day and I will see you all next week.