2020 Lessons for Growth and Confidence

2020 Lessons for Growth and Confidence

I’m going to start this piece off with some Beyonce lyrics:

“We say to girls: you can have ambition, but not too much.
You should aim to be successful, but not too successful.”

2019 was…quite…the…year.

As much as women have stepped into their power, they’re still told to play small.

We saw women berated for scoring too many goals in the World Cup.

We saw women criticized for speaking up for equal pay.

We saw women barked at for celebrating their goals.

We saw women called “bulky” and “too much” when they just had bodies strong for their sport.

It’s been a year of outrage, hasn’t it?

Alas, while there was turbulence in the women’s sports and political world, there was also growth and hope.

2019 was a year of women, athletes, professionals, and humans, stepping into their power, setting boundaries, and demanding respect.

Personally, I was inspired to follow suit – to own who I am, set high standards for friendships, love relationships and professional relationships, and to speak my truth.

Additionally, I made living life with passion a priority, and because of this, magical things happened this year:

1. I learned how to go off jumps snowboarding.

2. I hired an intern and wasn’t afraid to ask for help.

3. I wrote 600 blogs on controversial topics.

4. I wrote for Stack, Simplifaster, Football Fitness Federation, and International Youth Conditioning Association.

5. I wrote 9 collaboration articles with Coach Dave Gleason at Athletes Acceleration South Shore.

6. I re-learned the chromatic scale on my clarinet.

7. I tore up the Rocky Mountains on my 30th birthday.

8. I got trolled HARD for this video:

9. I ignored all comments, and made this video on healthy communication and critical thinking within context on social media:

10. I told everyone on Twitter: don’t mess with me. And also, be curious and think critically. Oh, and if you fiercely disagree, message me to an open and transformative conversation so we both become better.

11. I stayed true to myself, my authenticity, and shared my story on how Soccer Saved My Life.

12. I coached my heart out.

13. I took too many not enough ginger shots.

14. I ate greens every day. And a lot of chorizo tacos.

15. I clocked in at 80 hours a week of work, between coaching, consulting, creating and writing, while maintaining my vibrant glow and defined triceps.

16. I learned it’s okay to brag.

17. I learned to play big and not be ashamed of talking about my achievements.

18. I developed super powers on recognizing empathetic individuals, and ones who are open to evolving on Earth.

19. I accepted others for their shortcomings, yet challenged them to improve.

20. I grew from my own mistakes and leaned into growth.

Truthfully, I’m still figuring this all out myself. I’ve accepted life is in oscillation, and while I can take 10 steps backward, I can take 100 steps forward. It’s a continuous ride of ups, downs, losses, wins, setbacks, and comebacks.

And you know what? I couldn’t be more excited.

If there’s anything I learned from 2019, it’s to lean into continuous growth. And not just talk about it on social media in the form of motivational quotes and spiritual retweets.

Like actually, take action and grow.

So without further ado, let’s dive into several lessons on how to grow and become more confident.

1. Walk the walk. 

You see, talk is cheap. Tweets are useless. Motivational memes on Instagram are empty words. “I love you” text messages mean nothing without the action behind them.

Unless you’re putting in the work and walking the walk, please spare me with the inspiring and loving and all-embellishing words.

If you seek growth, you’ll do the messy actionable steps it takes to become better. This could mean having a tough conversation with a sports parent, or confronting a loved one about your needs, standing up to your boss when you need a week off, or telling your coach you’re hurting and need to be subbed out.

Don’t just talk.

Go walk.

2. Get in the gym.

Whether you’re in your 80s or 20s, get in the gym. This isn’t to say everyone should be doing CrossFit, or performing a max rep deadlift, or doing weighted pull-ups, but the gym can provide anyone with the movement they need to feel empowered and healthy.

Exercise reduces depression.

Exercise improves mood.

Strength training decreases body fat.

Strength training improves confidence.

Get in the gym and take charge of your life. Once you nail down the physical, the nice byproduct becomes alleviating the mental.

3. Invest in friendships and relationships.

This much I know: we need each other.

Humans are becoming more isolated than ever before and it terrifies me.

People are more likely to stay in and stream on Twitch, than go out for a candlelit dinner with a loved one.

People are more likely to wallow in their depression, than reach out to a friend for support.

People are more likely to sit in bed, scroll on a dating app, than meet someone at the supermarket.

People are more likely to tune into IGTV, than a beautiful person’s eyes.

Yes, it’s okay once in a while to seek alone time and sit with your thoughts and recharge your headspace, but after a while, humans need connection in order to thrive.

When you’re 50, 60, 70, or 80, your friendships can save your health and your life. Keep that in mind.

4. Do other hobbies.

I’m waiting for the early specialization crowd to flood my inbox with hate mail, but it’s important to do other hobbies.

And this goes for any career and any passion pursuit.

Rappers, as an example, love rapping and lyrics and performing, yet many want to put a gun to their heads because they overwork and spend too much time within their craft.

Watch this interview here with a Grammy-nominated rapper about his depression and speaking to other rappers about theirs:

After a while, everyone needs to find some sort of balance for themselves to refresh and regain their passion for what they do.

I can’t teach anyone self awareness with any of this, but knowing how you feel, how your mood changes, how your emotions are swirling, and how your health is keeping, are critical for knowing when to take a moment to pause.

5. Be proud of your achievements.

Yes, be humble, but at the same time, be proud.

Women, especially, are told by society to play small and not broadcast their dazzling achievements.

I work with a roster of high school female athletes, and they’re the last ones to tell me they scored a hat trick, or started for their team, or did a jaw-dropping nutmeg against a defender.

Own. Your. Achievements.

It’s totally okay to recognize how far you’ve come, how much you’re kicking butt, and how capable you are of doing more amazing things in this world.

Share you gems because by sharing them, you leave glitter on the ground for everyone else to pick up, follow suit and sparkle themselves.

It’s not women against women. It’s women inspiring women.

Nor is it women against men. It’s everyone elevating everyone.

6. Social media matters, but it doesn’t.

Look. I love social media because it has allowed me to meet amazing colleagues and friends.

At the same time, if you’re not careful, it can suck your soul.

Criticism. Hate. Judgement. Trolls. Unfollows. More trolls. Name calling. Cyber abuse. More trolls.

It’s a vicious cycle that can eat away at anyone, even the most resilient.

As much as it can cause immense damage, find solace in this: social media, in the end, doesn’t matter all that much. It’s fake, not real life.

Everyone is trying to outdo everyone, coaches and parents are trying to prove they’re right and you’re wrong, people are pushing their belief system on others, and everyone is posting content that isn’t authentic.

As Kendrick Lamar says, “I’m so sick and tired of the photoshop…show me something natural.”

And it’s true.

Be a real freaking human. Share how you were abused. Share how you were depressed. Share how you suffered anxiety. Share how you were saved.

More critically, share something relatable and help others by telling your empowering, impactful story.

By sharing your truth on social media, you can help yourself heal, as well as the world.

Maybe this is a lot to swallow.

Maybe this is a gut punch.

Maybe this is a stab to your heart.

Maybe this is a jolt to your nervous system.


2020 is all about truth, rawness and authenticity.

How are you going to contribute? Moreover, how are you going elevate the planet?


  • Shane K McLean
    Posted at 01:25h, 08 January Reply

    Great post coach

    • erica
      Posted at 01:32h, 08 January Reply

      Thank you!

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