Life Lessons from a #TrackMom
My son is a sophomore varsity track athlete. His achievements are strong enough to place him on D2 teams. His desires — academically and athletically — are to be recruited by D1 teams. He keeps trying to close the gaps in grades and seconds to get there. My husband and I love cheering him on in track and in life.
At a recent meet, he bested his long jump record not once, but twice. He also won his heat in the 200 and got a personal record (PR). It was a wonderful day of success. It soured when he competed in the 100.
He said he: got a bad start; didn’t go all the way through (finish strong); and came in third. His coach reminded to wait for the official results, and not to worry about always coming in first.
I identified with this. So much of life is figuring out when to do the bare minimum to make it through a miserable moment and when to push all the way through for a fantastic finish.
My own life is in a relay. I’m in the baton passing phase. I’m transitioning from being a super busy wife, mom of four young kids, and worker bee to ..? Right now, I’m a wife and freelancer with one teen at home. I have the privilege of not working full time. But I want to do more with my life before my time is up. So, like athletes, I hired a life coach to help me figure out my act two.
In the meantime, I’ve been interviewing to find out what kind of jobs excite me. I can take directions and work for corporations. I also owned my business for five years. So, I’m familiar with making my own destiny. But I know what it’s like to be paid mightily for every keystroke as a writer. So, I’m on a quest to find the right balance between W2 wages, entrepreneurial endeavors, and freedom.
I’ve blown a couple of interviews. I blamed it on Zoom or being under caffeinated. But the truth was I was like an athlete who was out of practice. I was used to being the person asking the questions and grading the answers. So, I copied my kid’s best practices.
I typed bullet points responses to 40 likely questions. I recorded my elevator pitch again and again. Because I practiced, my last two interviews yielded second requests.
One of my favorite questions is: “Tell me a time when you really failed.” My son thought he failed by placing third in the 100, but he actually got a PR that day.
The “f” question catches used to catch me off guard because in our society, we only write songs and movies about winners. Because I practiced my answers, I can answer calmly and honestly.
“I built a company from 0–3,000 members. 9,000 square feet — 24 employees. I felt like a failure when it closed. I let down my employees, members, and investors. But I learned that it’s okay to fight for something and then surrender it. And, I realized that my words make people do things… Join a club and spend money while there. I can also use them to make people vote thoughtfully, laugh or cry via storytelling. And that’s what I want to do. That’s why I’m here today.”