Coaching, communication, Change, Life Lessons, mental skills

Step Into the Ring: Hurt vs. Harm

In conversations over the years a good friend of mine has routinely said that she desires a relationship with someone who isn’t afraid to “get in the ring” with her. Someone who will call her on her shit when she deserves it, and who will put on the gloves to protect themselves from being knocked around. Someone who (when necessary) will stand up and fight because they know who they are and what they deserve.

For much of my life, I was not that person. 


Before we are able to get into the ring with someone we have to have confidence in ourselves as a fighter.

I was once someone who freely admitted I did not like confrontation. Over the years I have learned that confrontation – when practiced and done skillfully – is one of the healthiest things anyone can do for building trust within a relationship. I’ve learned that conflict and disagreement can co-exist with love and compassion. Most importantly, I’ve learned that building the body of a fighter who can step into the ring with anyone involves understanding what it means to set and hold boundaries. Without them, the hits will keep coming and getting knocked out is inevitable.
We often fail to set boundaries for fear for hurting someone’s feelings, never realizing that our failure to set boundaries eventually results in lasting harm – either to ourselves, the relationship, or both.

Hurts will heal, but harm endures.

Assuming that others should know our boundaries sets them up for failure. People don’t know where our boundaries lie until we tell them or show them, and most folks won’t respect our boundaries until we do.
We tend to think of boundaries as restrictive, but in reality boundaries are limits that promote integrity in our lives. Setting them allows us to live with greater energy and intention and we get to draw the lines in any area we choose; with our family, friends, partners, co-workers, strangers… in conversations, in relation to our bodies or to experiences or emotions… the list is endless.

If you’ve yet to set boundaries in an area of your life for fear of hurting someone, please consider the harm it may cause by failing to do so.

Remember: The only people who get upset when you set boundaries are those who benefited from you having none. 

Setting boundaries can be challenging, but it is absolutely worth it!

May you cultivate the ability to step into any ring with confidence and fight skillfully and passionately for our own integrity.

P.S. If you could use some help with your training, please reach out.

Who's Your Caddie?

Full disclosure: I love golf.

I learned to play golf in college after my basketball coach found out I’d played field hockey in high school. “It’s kinda the same, you’ll be fine” she assured me, though the only 18 holes I’d ever played were in mini golf and I never could get it past the Windmill.

Golf is the only sport I’ve ever played where the higher I scored, the worse I was doing. As if that wasn’t strange enough, one day I started doing something completely bizarre…

I started watching golf on T.V. 

What I once thought was the most boring thing one could possibly watch has now become my favorite “reality show”. Gorgeous courses, incredible shots, and everywhere you look there’s pressure pressure pressure. Self-imposed or situational, the mental side of golf is fascinating and nobody navigates it better than the caddies.

Yes, the caddies.

While watching the Presidents Cup recently a few of the players were mic’d which allowed viewers to overhear some conversations between caddie and pro. If you filter out the golf-specific bits (club choice, yardage, wind direction, lie, etc) what you’ll hear is the expert way in which a caddie gives their pro just what they need to succeed. A great caddie offers well-informed choices for course of action, affirms the pro’s decision, and supports their pro through each shot regardless of outcome.     

It’s been said that behind every great player is a great coach – golf is no exception, though in this sport the coach often takes the form of the guy carrying the bag. Mentor, confidant, champion, challenger, support network, friend… Jordan Spieth is the current world #1 and when he talks about success he uses the word “we” giving continual credit to his caddie Michael Greller.

“The Spieth-Greller team is different. It's out of the Japanese corporate management playbook, where there's no boss, no subordinate, just workers with different roles and the same goal.” – Michael Bamberger

Teamwork. Togetherness. Support through the ups and downs. To be successful in any endeavor we all need a great caddie. Some bags are heavier than others, weighed down by what we each choose to carry around but made lighter by those who are along with us for the journey.

Professionally, I caddie for coaches.

Who’s your caddie?