- Taking a risk and trying new things knowing you might fail is the true definition of courage. Allow yourself to be fully seen. Putting yourself out there means also experiencing criticism and failure as well as connection, love, and creativity.
- To love yourself unconditionally as you are, win or lose, is a gift. You are not perfect and that’s awesome. Yes, you make (and have made) mistakes, but it does not make you a bad person. You might have a losing season, but instead of internalizing it as a reflection of WHO you ARE, you can reflect back on your actions and strategies, solicit constructive feedback, change tactics and keep moving forward.
- Constructive Feedback is an opportunity to grow. When encountering or asking for feedback, spend most of your time trying to understand the other person's point of view using reflection statements and asking open-ended questions and less time defending your point of view. Who knows, you actually might learn something – or you might not… The most important part is that in order to really connect and learn from others, we have to show we care and validate their experience.
- When you inevitably face the critics – they should also be getting their butt kicked in the arena. Email, text, comment threads do not create meaningful dialogue. A criticism that starts off as an email should end with a face-to-face conversation. If a critic (parent, player, other coach, etc.) isn’t willing to get out of their cushy seat and have a real live conversation about something, then it’s not worth your time.
- Finally, most likely your harshest critic is YOU. No matter how much you try to perfect and protect yourself from the bad stuff, there's no way around it - if you want to get out there, then just GO. There's something safe about doing your work and staying just under the radar, but if you really want to challenge yourself and experience the really good stuff, you've got to be comfortable with discomfort. Let go of comparing yourself with others. We all have our own journey and there are a lot of great things you have yet to accomplish.
My goal now is to help players and coaches see that as scary and uncomfortable the arena can be, it is the ONLY place where we can really grow, create and become our best selves. The wins and losses come and go, but true worthiness is something that is always within you - and the arena can bring it out. Otherwise, we’re just sitting on the sidelines watching and critiquing others in our cushy seats.
Salley (left) with Dr. Brene Brown (right)
Salley Ouellette is the Executive Director of Early Start Volleyball and an Independent Consultant in the areas of personal, career and team development. You can contact Salley directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.