My journey to mindfulness -
As a young girl I knew I wanted to be an Olympian. I dreamed big because that is what children do. I was fearless, doubt wasn’t on my radar, my “inner critical coach” wasn’t telling me I wasn’t good enough, or “you can’t succeed”. I dedicated sixteen years to my dream of becoming an Olympian. Those sixteen years were rich with hard work, focus, discipline, successes, world travel, incredible people, professional-level podium finishes, injuries, laughs, growth and…failures. Failures both small and life shattering.
I was blessed to grow up in the beautiful mountain town of Aspen, Colorado where I began snowboarding at the age of eight through the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. This is where I was first introduced to goal-setting and mindful practices such as visualization and intention setting. Each season we were asked by our coaches to write down goals whether it be learning a new trick, improving our training and fitness regimen, honing competition toughness, or simply getting to the podium.
Through a clear path set by my goals, by the time I reached high school I was competing nationally and internationally at the professional level. Throughout the snowboarding career that followed, I competed in X-Games, Jr. Worlds, Gravity Games, World Cups, Burton Opens, Triple Crowns, Dew Tours and Grand Prix’s.
When I was 18, I realized I needed to put my focus into one discipline and the one I loved so much was slopestyle. So I did a pivot, I re-wrote my goals to be more slopestyle oriented and I trained and lived in Breckenridge, CO for three winters while juggling school at CU Boulder. I went on to podium at international professional level events - Burton Opens, Grand Prix’s, World Cups.
I was named to the US Slopestyle Team in 2011 and for three seasons I trained with the outcome goal of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The 2014 season was something I had never experienced before...so much pressure, so much tension, so much performance anxiety and stress. We had five events, and only four ladies and men would make the US Olympic Team. Each event had two runs, best score counts. You receive points based on your placement at each event. At the end of the five events, the four ladies with the most points would go to Sochi.
In the months of December 2013 and January 2014 I competed my butt off. I had my morning routines to keep my mind at ease, but I didn’t really have the other mental tools to help me in the moments between training ending and dropping in for my 2 competition runs. I did poorly at the first event, and the second event was cancelled I believe due to too much snow. So I had 3 events left (all in Mammoth, CA). I had three events to do well - to gain points and prove that I was meant for that Olympic Team. So I’m in Mammoth now. The competition schedule was hectic, since we had one event previously cancelled we had to make up for it in Mammoth. So we basically had three HUGE competitions in 3 days. I had to perform at the best in all three events to have a chance.
I ended up getting 2nd place in one of them and was sitting tied for the fourth place spot on the olympic team, with one event to go. All I knew was that I had two runs to beat my teammate to get on the Olympic Team. I landed my first run, something I was really proud of. I scored 85 points out of 100. My teammate scored 87 on her first run. In the moment I knew I HAD TO land my second run to beat her. I was planning on doing a harder run, so I knew I could beat her.
I’m standing at the top of the slopestyle, ready to go for my second run...my last chance. I had my music on (for distraction), but inside I felt like I was disintegrating...like I was being eaten away by fear, doubt, anxiety, and stress. To say I was nervous for my performance was an understatement. I drop in and I’m going into my first jump to do a trick, (all I could think was DO NOT FALL)...so naturally I FALL.
I slightly over-rotated my trick and the second my butt hit the snow, I knew my olympic dreams were over, In a split-second.
My inner critical coach immediately began talking:
“you’re a complete failure”, “you let everyone down”, “why did you even try”.
Bouncing back from this experience took me a very long time. To me, it was complete failure. I ended my snowboarding career on a poor note. I tried to snowboard “for fun” afterwards, but I couldn’t. I was not motivated, I was not focused, and I was not in flow. I had so much self-doubt and anxiety I didn’t know how to handle the situation.
This is where my personal-discovery journey, and my mindfulness journey started. I learned of a self-leadership certification through an organization called Lightyear Leadership.I was looking to discover who I was outside of snowboarding and what I was meant to do. I began my Lightyear Leadership journey in November 2015 and in January 2017 became certified to lead Level One: Personal Legacy.
It was around this time (2017) that I found the “silver lining”.
in fact now, I wouldn’t even call that “failure” a silver-lining, instead I would call it a success because I have learned more about myself and what I wanted to do with my life than I ever could have imagined.
In 2017 I began my mindfulness journey. There was still self-compassion around the “failure” I needed to discover and I’ve done that through meditation. I began to realize how important the mind-body connection is when it comes to self-leadership, as well as mindful performance, so I began to take ICF (Internal Coaching Federation) accredited class through the Mindfulness Coaching School and I also have started a Mindful Performance coaches training program called mPEAK through the UCSD Center For Mindfulness
I know FIRST HAND how beneficial mindful practices, and meditation, can be when you are trying to perform at your best, recover, avoid burn-out, and just live with awareness of your thoughts and emotions.
I continue to snowboard almost every winter day and have discovered a new passion within snowboarding: exploring the Colorado mountains on my splitboard with friends. In summer months you’ll find me backpacking, trail running, fly fishing and sleeping under the stars.
Certified Lightyear Leadership Leader
Student Coach at the Mindfulness Coaching School, an International Coach Federation accredited school
Ambassador Links & Special offers
I want to give thanks and recognition to the companies that support me as an athlete as well as a coach. It is important to me to only be an ambassador for companies whose values align with my values. The following companies stand for what I value (protecting our Earth, the outdoors, exercise, community, giving back, women's empowerment) and I am proud to be an ambassador for each one.
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