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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Stewart

Finding The Positives

In life I have not been faced with much adversity to over come. I was born into an amazing family that loves and supports me in almost all of my decisions. I was privileged and granted most things I wanted as a child and even as a young adult. I haven’t had to really ever fight for much or hear the word no to often. As an individual I was granted the gift of athleticism (unfortunately I was not given the gift of spelling and grammar) and growing up didn’t have to do too much to outshine some of my teammates or opponents. It just came naturally and if I was not the best on the pitch, court, or track I would use guilt or negativity to drive myself to do better. As kids and teenagers we have a lot more energy, so we can spare some of that on negative thoughts to drive us and not be to mentally exhausted. We also excel so much quicker when we are younger, we get faster, we get more skilled, we get stronger and all this happens at a very fast pace if we put a little bit of effort in. We see progress much faster which means we don't have to be as hard on ourselves for as long. As we age we lose a lot of the excess energy and can't afford to spare what we do have on being mentally drained. Over the last season I have learned the exhaustion that negativity brings. Not only does it mentally drain you but also by the end of the day you are physically exhausted. The tricks of guilt and shame and negative self-drive do not work as an athlete at this level or age. I no longer bounce back like the energizer bunny I once was! So to continue on an upward path I am learning that positivity and light are key factors to living a healthier life in sport. I need to appreciate what I have done well and to continue to do those things and add in more everyday. Something that one of me team mates said to me that has really resonated and helped me start my day a little better then the previous was “talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling” I don’t know who said it first but I’m going to continue to say it. Without my character I don’t know who I am and I don’t want lose that trying to achieve my goal. I know the road to my goal will be tough, grinding and not always sunny but without keeping my character it’s not a goal worth achieving. To come out the other end and not see myself in the mirror or the human I want to be is not an option. It’s all or nothing, so all of me is going on this crazy ride.

This sport continues to find new ways to test me and push my limits. This season has given me new perspective on life and made me question more than just my goal. I find myself asking what it is that I truly want and why am I here, what is it that is driving me to be better everyday? Is it for my family, my community, myself, my future children/grandchildren? It can take years to figure out your purpose and find your place in the world. I know I want to inspire those around me to follow their goals, I want to be a light in this world that can sometimes be harsh and quick to judge, and I want to build others up along the way. I want to have made a difference and add value to people’s lives, I want to be the teammate that is always there and makes training, races, and travel better! I want to be a role model for young girls and women, helping them embrace their power and skills in order to be successful in everything they do. I want to bring joy and light to my parents face when they see me on T.V. or in the paper, and I want to be a knowledgeable, loving, kind, thoughtful older sister to my two younger sisters who I love unconditionally!

I started writing this before the pandemic and during the pandemic have realized this has brought adversity to all our lives in different ways. So I just want to touch on the positives that we can all be taking away from the situation at hand. Adversity can add a lot of value to ones life if you let it. Yes of course sometimes it comes with loss, sadness, fear but those feelings and events can be channeled into something incredible if you allow yourself to take a step back and look at the larger picture. At some point or another we all experience these feelings from events that take place in our lives. Loss of a loved one, heart break, moving away from friends and family, being let go from a job, just having a bad day, we have no control over the events that will happen in our lives… we can only control the way we respond, which in turn can alter the outcome. Adversity can be the perfect spark to ignite a fire which has been inside you this whole time, and you just were not aware. Take the time you need to grieve the misfortune, but then I urge you to try and find the underlying positives. If you feel like you have been stuck, or spiraling out during this time I want to give you a little push in hopefully a more positive direction. I challenge you to take a step back, look at what is actually happening around you (so the facts of the situation you are in), and what you may have built up in your head (the story you have created and maybe started to believe). Moving in a direction that aligns with your goals is much easier when being factual about the situation and trying to eliminate the extreme emotions that can sometimes be involved. I am not saying to be emotionless I am just saying to be careful with how deep you dive into the emotional spiral and to try and pull yourself back by looking at the full picture. I love you all and I hope that something in this will help you start to move in the direction of whatever goal you have set for yourself!

I want to leave you with our family motto Be Happy, Have Fun, Do Your Best,

and Encourage Others!


Stay safe, and healthy y’all

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