Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A long look back at the blink of an eye

I've often heard that when it comes to parenting the days are long, but the years are short. I think there is truth to that statement in really any effort we take on that has its ups and downs, its moments of pure joy and great despair. Marriage. Careers. Projects of any sort.

Here's an example from my own life. In the span of 10 days (Nov. 3 to Nov. 12) the following took place in good ol' Casa de Stoll:

1. Saturday, November 3: My team and I put on the 2018 US Bank Rim Rock Marathon.
2. Tuesday, November 6: Our little collaborative effort passed a lodging tax increase for our community - something that had not been done in 30 years.
3. Monday, November 12: I successfully defended my dissertation, marking the end of my doctoral studies.

I don't tell you all of this out of pride, or so you can say, "Oh my gosh! How'd you do that?!" But rather, as just one example of what we face every day - every week - in our respective lives/industries whether it's sport tourism or not. This is a snippet of my calendar, it's no better or worse than yours, they are all valid. We are ALL consumed by different pressures.

As the dust settles and I come out from frankly, what's been a state of numbness for the last couple of weeks, I'm beginning to process all of this, and here are some lessons I learned along the way:

5. It's absolutely, 100% okay to say that it IS a lot. Whatever "it" is in your life. I'm usually guilty of looking at how much others have to do and saying, "oh, I have no room to complain." WRONG. I don't have to complain, that's true, but I can accept the fact that what I'm doing - what YOU'RE doing - IS A LOT. And that's okay, it's actually good to acknowledge it.
#mylife We can all get like this, everyone's busy, and yes, rest is good
4. Only you can be your own advocate. I struggle with this lesson, but in the end, I realized to reach my goal, which was in the best interest of my family, I had to do the driving. This is hard for a person like me. I tried to remember to give others grace, after all, they are dealing with a lot, too, but there is nothing wrong with directing your own path.

3. Learning isn't about a degree or some alphabet soup behind your name. That may be an outcome, which is great, but there are so many avenues through which to learn. For me, the passion in this line of inquiry is actively contributing to an industry I love. Helping others who share the struggles, questions, and accomplishments I share. My path is just one path to meet that end, but there are infinite others. And the real thrill in it is what you do with your knowledge. Knowledge on a shelf is useless.
Seriously, do they still make this stuff? It looks disgusting!
2. Sounds cliche, but you can do more than you imagine. One of my board members astutely reminded me a couple weeks ago amid the sheer chaos, "the more you chill out, the more it works out." Was he ever right. Things don't always go our way, the tax could have failed, I could have major revisions to my dissertation...whatever the case may be. But, in the end, things work out. I'm always reminding my son that all that matters is that he tries his best and leave the rest...honestly most of the times I'm reminding him, I need to hear it myself.

1. Life is humbling...thankfully! I try not to make a huge deal out of things. Monday, I earned my PhD and Tuesday I got my ass handed to me in a game of checkers by my 6 year old. I mean, honestly, it was a complete shellacking and YES, I was actually trying. I smiled in my defeat, seeing his little mind light up and the grace with which he totally annihilated me...

The morals of these lessons are that it is indeed hard in the midst. Call it that. Take time to stop and look at how far you've come, even if it's just a step, because in retrospect, time does go fast. Keep grinding away, give it your best, that's all anyone can ask. We all win some and lose some, stay humble and whatever path you are on, enjoy it!

Remember, as the iconic Dolly Parton said, "You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try." This is Stoll on Sports.

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