“Your results are just an outcome, they are not your worth.”
– Pippa Grange
Last week, I listened to the most powerful and impactful podcast of my recent memory. It was Brené Brown interviewing the highly sought-after sports psychologist and culture coach Pippa Grange. The conversation was around replacing stress with courage and recognizing where our self-worth and true identity come from. From a sports perspective, she talked about success not being about trophies or beating others, but about winning at the very deepest level: winning from within.
IT WAS SO SO GOOD. If you are a coach or a parent whose kid plays sports, it’s a must-listen. If you are someone who struggles with giving away your power and reclaiming your self-worth, this is also for you. (Side note, I really, really want to have a zoom event just so we can discuss these topics. Email me if you’re interested and have input.)
The reason I was drawn to this podcast is, well, I listen to every episode of Brené’s Dare To Lead, but also, I’m a parent of sports-obsessed girls, and I’m also a youth club basketball coach. If you know anything about club sports, then you are well aware of the pressures these kids are under to not just perform, but to excel and achieve at the highest of levels.
Pippa broke down and explained a basic fear that nearly all humans feel, and one that starts developing at a young age: the fear of abandonment, or more simply, the fear of not being good enough and that ultimately, love is conditional and acceptance is not guaranteed.
As I listened, I thought about the many young girls I’ve coached over these past years. I thought about the large club tournaments I’ve been to and all the girls playing on the courts and the parents, coaches and teams watching from the stands. As I listened to Pippa get to the core of where our fears come from, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of sadness.
First of all, did you know that according to research, girls’ self-confidence peaks between the ages of 9 to 13? PEAKS! At this young of an age, they are already experiencing the basic fear that Pippa talked about. These are also the exact ages of the girls I currently coach. (I think this brought on some of my sadness.) As much as my job is to teach basketball, my bigger job is giving them tools to establish their self-worth and build their confidence for everything OTHER THAN basketball.
Also, club basketball has also changed significantly since I was in high school. (From what I hear, most club sports have.)
You see young girls carrying the weight of parent hopes and expectations on their small shoulders. You see young girls worried they won’t have good enough material for a highlight reel after games. You see young girls noticing when some players receive social media accolades and others don’t. You see young girls trying to live up to a hype or standard that is impossible to maintain in a healthy manner. You see coaches fueling the fire with unhealthy and fear-based ways of driving performance. You see young girls looking to the sidelines to hear and see the reactions and facial expressions of their parents. You see young girls feeling pressured to keep up with looking the part rather than just being their joyful, quirky and care-free selves.
But mostly, as Pippa Grange spoke about in her interview, you see young girls attaching their worth — their inherent goodness and value — to something external, and you see them giving away their power to outside voices that mirror back to them impossible standards.
It’s absolutely the reason I almost didn’t coach — because it’s soul-crushing to realize you can’t control the machine of it all, and it’s even harder when you realize the machine doesn’t want to be controlled.
It’s also the reason I decided to coach. Aside from my girls absolutely loving the sport and wanting me in the gym with them, I want to actively be a disruptor in the system and show my girls, parents and anyone who is watching a different way. (Because I’m realizing a LOT of kids and families want a different way.)
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, I want you to know what I do in all my spare time, and I think it’s fun to share how much my life has shifted these past years since starting this business. Five years ago, my spring and summer schedule would’ve been lined up with expos and races, and now, it’s basketball tournaments and time with my family.
The other reason I’m sharing is this: After listening to Pippa’s interview, I realized that it’s not specific to our kids and that these patterns never stop trying to find us and control our worth and happiness.
When is the last time you attached your worth to:
Your last run
Your current fitness level
The fitness level you used to have
Your last goal that didn’t happen
What your family thinks
That person who just minimized your effort
Losing your job
What you see in the mirror
What you ate for dinner
The motivation you don’t have
The clothes that don’t fit
The meds you have to take
What your kids ate for dinner
How messy your house is
The laundry piled up
What you’re not doing
What you’re not wearing
What you’re not a part of
What you’re not invited to
What others think of how you parent
What others think of your lifestyle
What others think of who you love
What others think of what you love
That social media post
That social media post
That social media post
Take a deep breath with me.
Notice what — or who — comes up as you read that list. Notice what — or who — you’re giving away your power to right now, in this very moment. Notice what — or who — is in your head when you make decisions for yourself and your family.
When it comes to your worth, who is the one deciding it? Whose voice is the one you listen to?
And what if we decided that all the outcomes, all the voices, all the feedback have nothing to do with our actual worth? That our worth was whole and good and abundant because we are here, showing up to this life every single day.
This is my — and your — active rebellion and pushing up against a culture that is no longer serving women and this collective community. And it’s modeling what enoughness looks like for all our kids, and being there to show them how it’s done.
This entire summer, I will be coaching with Pippa’s words front and center. We won’t win all our games, but we will always have deep wins to celebrate.
This message originally appeared in Mel’s Tuesday Thoughts email.