Stop pretending to be so strong. Your story is not that special.

Wait, what? I’m not weak and my story matters.

At age 50, I don’t have it all figured out, but one thing I know for sure is because of changing a few simple things in my daily routine, I feel more like me than I have in a very long time.

I AM a clear communicator
I AM strong
I AM a runner
I AM a storyteller
I AM a connector
I AM curious
I AM open to listening and learning
I AM Thriving!


I have this taped to my bathroom mirror. I say it out loud every morning when I wake up and every evening before I go to bed. Through the years, I’ve revisited this idea of throwing myself to the universe, laws of attraction, manifestation, and more. I cannot say I did it wholeheartedly. I mean, how can saying something bring it into existence?

I am tough or at least believe I am. I do not give up easily. I can hook a worm and I don’t need anyone to do things for me that I can do for myself. What I wish I’d appreciated earlier in my life is strong can also mean surrounding yourself with confident, bold, and vulnerable people. Strong does not mean solo. Weak does not mean asking for help.

I recently experienced a change in my daily routine that feels selfish to share as a setback with all that so many people are facing related to life-threatening situations. I depend on exercise for my sanity. After years of running on pavement, working out several times a week, and more recently, five days a week at Orangetheory Fitness, I had to stop because of an injury.  I loved the energy, the opportunity to compete against myself, the small, steady progress, and the celebrations of all kinds from our 4pm class crew. Ignoring discomfort this summer, I ended up pushing too far. A sports hernia (look it up!) slapped me in my face forcing me to go from 100 mph to ZERO in one fell swoop. The mental twist was shocking. Devastating.

I had a choice. Since giving up and feeling sorry for myself was not an option, I reached out to my circle of women, friends, and family. I dove in the deep end, well not really in a lap pool, but I started swimming which I haven’t done since the 6th grade. It was easy on the body but challenging enough for my mind as I tracked my stats and refined my strokes. Learning to breathe again was humbling. The solo endeavor, without music or smiling faces around me, was not nearly the same as my one-hour HIIT workout but I was moving. Then I tried hot yoga and hot Pilates with modifications. Each new environment was an opportunity to meet new people, learn their story, and become stronger with the energy of a collective community of people bringing positivity into their day. I’m in my sixth month of a drastic change in my life physically, going to physical therapy twice a week, but one thing has remained constant my morning routine.


I wake up early with our dogs
I say my I AM statements
I fuel my body with nutrition and food that fuels my day
I listen to or read something inspiring, intellectually intriguing, or motivational
I read or listen to an audiobook
I journal
I walk out the door having fed my mind, body, and soul with an open mind and a pocketful of smiles and compliments to share with others
I remain vulnerable and strong
I seek wisdom from others while relying on my own as a foundation

My middle school students are sharing their I AM statements and where they placed them to say out loud every morning and evening. What if I began this practice when I was eleven?