By Heather Cabot, The Well Mom
I have to hand it to Nike. So many of the company’s campaigns have resonated with me through the years, even though I’m not a fan of the running shoes (I’m a Brooks girl). Dan Wieden and his advertising agency, Wieden + Kennedy created the genius “Just Do It,” slogan back in the late Eighties. Like many of you, I STILL hear that mantra in my head so many times during the day when I feel like I just can’t juggle everything I have going on. Those three words help me find the energy to push on in the gym and in my life. And now, as the London 2012 Games kicked off, I was mesmerized and uplifted by the latest brainstorm of the brand’s creative team: the “Find Your Greatness” commercials. Love those!
It is such an aspirational yet simple message. Although a billion people around the world are watching those finely tuned international athletes perform seemingly super human feats of speed and strength, “Find Your Greatness” reminds us that no matter who you are, each one of us is capable of being the best we can be. Most people on the planet are not born with the physical and mental gifts that make an Olympic champion, yet every person has the capacity to dream big and to follow through.
Many of you know I started a project a few years ago to explore the idea of applying an athlete’s mindset to motherhood. I set out to interview Olympians, recreational competitors, coaches and sports psychologists about the mental state of athletes and what parents could learn from them. Athletes and their coaches know one crucial secret to performance is cultivating the right state of mind to unleash potential. Yet I struggled with a positive attitude and to find my footing in my transition to being a mom.
It was hard. I left a job I loved and found myself at home with my infant twins. I was completely unprepared for the crushing identity shift from professional to stay at home mom and the sheer physical demands of care giving. It turned my world upside down. Yet, over the course of a year, as the babies grew, I grew too. I looked for small victories, visualized what I could do better and started to make time to get stronger. And I started to think of myself and what I was trying to do as an athletic endeavor. It’s not that there are winners or losers in the high stakes world of motherhood. But rather, I started to see that parenting demands an endless reserve of patience, determination and stamina not unfamiliar to marathon runners and cyclists. I realized that there was something I could do about that: train for it, practice, look for coaches, rest, recover and fuel myself for success.
I’m still working on the project, my book “Mother Like A Champion.” I plan to share more with you in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, here are some of the tips I’ve gathered from some really cool pro athletes and former Olympian moms, including Laila Ali, Kristi Yamaguchi and Jessica Mendoza. Check out my article, “Think Like An Athlete,” which appears in the August issue of Parents magazine.
What sports adage or mantra keeps you going when the going gets tough? How do you find your own greatness?