A letter to you and me…

Hey you! How are you today me? What’s the plan, how are you going to move… yourself, your job, your family your friends…a stranger?

The day is full of possibility. What we think can take a few minutes to do can take a lifetime, and sometimes we can accomplish a lifetime dream in a few minutes. Time is not important. Your age is not important. You can be reborn and reinvented at any time in your life… find your wonder. What makes you happy and want to get better at it? Is it tennis, running, writing… your job, being a Mom… being kind to others?

Just go for it! Ask yourself “what’s the worst thing that could happen if I try?” Let go of fear… failure is learning, being vulnerable builds your character, let go of perfection it doesn’t exist… Your only goal is to do your best and adapt.

When I started playing tennis in my 30s, I immediately googled “Who is the oldest woman playing tennis on the pro tour?” It was Kimiko Date-Krumm who made a comeback at age 46. So I set my goal, “I am going to be the oldest woman on court at the US Open.”

I started playing at a local club and was excited and hopeful the first week. I was tall, powerful, athletic and my volleyball skills from college gave me advantage at the net. “I can do this!” I thought. The second week, I started tennis lessons. I was a little discouraged that my coach could beat me with her left hand and she was a righty. “Ok, no worries… I’m just starting.”

Well, a few months and several tennis lessons later, reality set in and I had to set a new goal. I conceded, “I am not going to be the oldest woman playing at the US Open.” That was pretty ridiculous. I never held racquet until my 30s, I could only play a few times a week, I wasn’t committed to improving my game at that level… I had two kids, a husband, a career and a dog.

Still I love a good challenge. And the more obstacles I saw, the more I wanted to fly over them, “Because, what’s the worst thing that could happen, right?” So despite all the realizations of impossibility and thinking of the worst, something amazing happened. I fell in love, absolute passionate love, with tennis. With all the life stuff I had going on, tennis was my answer to everything. Either tennis or therapy… I chose tennis. And, with a slight shift and a few adjustments as you will soon see, my dream did come true (sort of).

So what was going to be my new goal? My career up-to that point was design, branding and marketing. I knew how to do that well. I’ve been training for that at a high level my whole life. I was drawing and writing since I was 5, I loved anything about art and design, I studied it in high school and college, I worked at it professionally for 12 years, I ran my own firm working with Fortune 500 luxury brands… I was learning about it constantly… so, I had that already in my pocket. But how do I combine my natural honed skill set with my love for tennis?

BAM! It came to me. I launched a tennis lifestyle magazine. I didn’t know how I was going to do it; I just knew I had to. And it was awesome… hard, yes. Long nights, yes. Learning new skills, yes. Cried, yes. But all the while I would look to the small victories and praise myself and be excited. Like when I had 10 followers… YAY! Or when someone read my post and commented… YAY! Or when I interviewed Arianna Huffington… WOW! Or when I interviewed the women who play weekend tennis… Woohoo!

Or when… I got my credentials to the US Open and stepped on the court to interview pro players, walk in their footsteps and hang out with the greats. Me. Just a year after launching…WHOA! 

That’s when I realized, that my original desire came true. “I was standing on the US Open court.” Not as a player, but as a dreamer. My dream had come true, not in the aspirational lofty way I imagined… but in a slightly modified version. I still did it, and it happened when I let it go, without really thinking about it… it happened when I was doing something to make it happen.

Instead of giving the whole thing up as an impossible dream, I still loved all things tennis and that was enough to push me forward. I turned my focus on my simple passion for tennis and having a conversation with an amazing community of women; I didn’t really think that I needed to be at the US Open, I was just happy with the little successes. It was only later that I realized what had happened.

By letting go of all fear, all doubt, all hesitation there was a clear flow… a path that would light up for me to follow. I didn’t need anything big, I was happy with working hard and seeing small results… any results. And just like that, they became big on their own.

It sounds simple “follow your passion”… we have heard it a million times. Well, it’s not simple or easy; it’s not just wishing and waiting. You have to work at it!!! It’s tempting to be fooled by those who promise an easy way out before you even start anything. “Just imagine, just picture it and there it will appear.” Well, yes and no. That’s just half of the equation. You must imagine it and then when it appears you’d better roll up your sleeves and be open and ready for anything, including HARD WORK and failure! The good news is when you’re not afraid to suffer a little, and when you love what you’re doing you don’t feel the pain. Like if you love playing tennis. You will get out there, in the heat, the cold, achy, tired… you’ll push through it just to play and it will feel good. But, someone who doesn’t share your passion for tennis wouldn’t get out of bed for it. So that may be the secret… Do what moves you… moves you through hardship, through wins and losses, through pain and pleasure. There will be both light and dark, but because you will be in love the light will lift you up and the darkness will propel you towards the light even more.

What do you want to do? In your heart of hearts what lives in your passion? See it, say it out loud, tell everyone, make it real… now, how do you get there?

Having a dream is like living life. It’s not just about the ending it’s about the journey, the process… what happens along the way, the people you connect with, the experiences that make-up your memories… the satisfaction of the soul feeding happily on your imagination and joy. All blocks, all negativity, all haters melt away and positivity floods your mind, body and soul like a warm soft light. The outcome is not important, what matters is your transformation from someone who struggles through life to someone who plays through it.

Positivity is the light. It is contagious. And you need to be persistently positive to lift yourself and those around you who may be struggling. Just by being around you and your good spirit, their spirit will be uplifted. Together you can do more.

We want it to be easy… but there will be dark days. Days of doubt, loss, distress, you will feel like giving up…that’s ok. Let them come and let them go as quickly as they entered your field of vision. You can be angry and upset for a time, and that’s ok, too. But think of it like stubbing your toe… it’s hurts for a bit and then it goes away. Keep moving forward, reinventing, changing the plan… what do I need to do now? How about now?

Pause… take time to do nothing. Our days are too full… a few minutes, hours, days… take them to reboot. Move away from negative distractions… if not physically, then mentally. That’s why I love tennis. It’s an hour and a half of physical and mental distance from the reality of life. Playing tennis is like entering a fantasy land where the word ‘play’ is the most important, and you can see your and your teammates’ character unfold in minutes as opposed to spending years trying to ‘find yourself’ in the real world. Why not just play through life?

Surround yourself with those who make you feel at ease. If you do decide to play through life, you can invite anyone you want on your court.

So, I ask you… “What is your passion and what are you already good at?” Combine the two and see what happens. You can do this! What’s the worst that will happen if you try? Set a big goal and rejoice in the small victories.

If you make your passion a bigger part of your life, the outcome will not matter because the journey will be so sweet.

I’m here if you want to bounce off ideas! Email me anytime play@courtgirl.net…