I'm currently riding on the train to San Diego from Oxnard, California with the team. It's the eve of our first preseason game, which is such an exhilarating feeling. We get to talk about football again. But aside from just the day-in, day-out actuality of the job, I've been forced to slow down and reflect on this commute.
Last night, our team enjoyed a private screening of a new documentary series (yes, we do documentaries, too!) launched by the Cowboys Media department. I was fortunate enough to conduct some of the interviews in these documentaries. Last summer, I traveled to Elizabethton, Tennessee to interview siblings, grandparents, parents and friends of the future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten. Almost a year later, it was emotional seeing the final product.
We watched another documentary that night. One that told the story of head coach Jason Garrett's father, Jim Garrett. And raised by a ball coach myself, much of the documentary was relatable for me. I watched on the screen as Coach Garrett reflected on summers in the backyard with his father. I watched Jason on the screen, reflecting. He admitted that he didn't realize HOW MUCH his father poured into him every day, until looking back.
Then I started to think about coach Garrett. He didn't just fall into this head coaching position. He's been seasoned, for seasons. He's qualified. It's all inside of him already. Those days with his father have added up, and have led him here. Is he criticized? Daily. Is he qualified? More each day.
Old footage flashed across the screen of Coach Garrett running routes in the backyard with his father, who was in stronger stature than he is now. I silently tried to catch my tears falling, as my mind began dusting off old memories with my own dad.
I was born and raised in a trailer home in small town Oklahoma. I was raised a coach's daughter. And we lived in a doublewide trailer for years, in tight quarters. Everywhere my parents went, I went. Little besties. One of my earliest memories I have with my dad is projecting game film onto the wall during football season. You've seen it in movies; it was my reality.
Somewhere during the journey of the past, to the eve of tomorrow's preseason game, things have happened. Expectations aren't exactly met, mistakes tally up, comment sections are derailed, and every now and then, unjustified criticism sneaks through filters of my mind. The world is constantly judging our every moment, and most of the time we don't even realize it and feel it.
I don't know what people think of me when they see me. But after last night, I wondered if I'm viewed how I want to be, particularly in my profession: the daughter of a coach, a fierce competitor, a smart, strong, humble and respectable woman.
As I stand on the sidelines tomorrow night, I will reflect on who raised me, and the truth of how I've been raised. The world, and those watching you, will tell you a million ways to doubt yourself. You're not smart enough, not qualified, you don't quite stack up to him or her, and you're not ready yet. But what others think of me doesn't compare to what is within me.
Only I can do what God has called me to do. And only YOU can do what God is calling you to do. Sometimes I think we know our calling but we refuse to accept we can be amazing at it. We're definitely going to have some stumbles but that does NOT give us the right to be paralyzed by worry about how we may be perceived. Oh, how fear will steal the future of so many.
You've been seasoned for this season. The way you were raised, the trials you've been through, those crazy things you've overcome? DO NOT flush those from your memory...
Reflect on that time you overcame an awkward or challenging situation at work. That rock bottom moment in college, or with a significant other. Recall the moments that shaped you as a little girl or little guy. Hang on to what the coaches in your past instilled in you. We constantly catapult ourselves into the future, burying gems from the past. Uncover and dust off those gems of your life experiences! Don't be afraid to reflect, and allow confidence to creep in... It's okay to say, "Hey... I got this..." Confidence can carry such a negative connotation, when with just the right amount, can actually breed your best work.
Don't doubt your abilities, take hold of the role you're in --
The world will constantly try to tell you who you are, but I've learned that silence + joy + how you live will always be the loudest response.