This month we’re focusing on “respect” as our July Life Skill. Three-time All American Pole Vaulter, Vera Schmitz, talks about respect and what that has meant in her own life.
Vera began talking respecting others from her experiences as a member of a team. She stressed the importance of respecting the group’s energy. At a particularly difficult practice, those who complain immediately brought down the rest of the group. It’s easy to meet the energy where it is rather than bringing it up. However, when teams buy into the energy and work hard to keep each other focused, then the team is unstoppable. When people are working towards a common goal, respecting each other and what they bring to the table is critical.
Vera also shared the importance of respecting yourself. After finishing her senior season at Indiana University, Vera began training for the Olympic Trials. She started hitting walls, complaining, and thinking negatively about herself. She was disrespecting herself and became bitter. Luckily, Vera had a teammate and close friend to keep her accountable. When either of them was getting down on themselves, the other would say “Hey, don’t say that to my friend. If you wouldn’t say that to me, then don’t say it to yourself,”.
Self-respect allows you to have control over how you see yourself and helps you keep a positive headspace. Vera challenged us to ask ourselves, what am I thinking or believing about myself that isn’t true, helpful, or respectful? Counter these thoughts with truth and love and keep repeating them until they become authentic.
The final thought she left us with, and that we share with you, is to be committed to yourself more than the person you most respect in the world. It is through respecting yourself, and being authentic in that, can you then respect others and lift up your team.
Would you like to serve as a life skill guest speaker? We have open spots available on the topics of Integrity, Leadership, Health and Compassion. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.