Fame, fun, Adele, and the agility dream

So I’m taking this online course, and I’m learning a lot not only about how an online course can be organized, how videos can be put together to engage people, etc., I’m also learning a lot about myself as a result of the content (it’s that Courage Works course I was telling you about). One of the first exercises in the course was to come up with two to three core values that drive how I live my life. At the time, several weeks ago (it was lesson one), I chose a couple of words after a few minutes of thought, and moved on. But in revisiting the exercise, I realized that those values were the things I felt others WANTED me to be. Now, it’s not a bad thing for others to want you to possess positive attributes, and the list of values contains a LOT of positive values – why would I not choose any of them? But, values that I live my life by? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wasn’t really sure WHAT my *core* values were any more. There are a lot of things that I’d say I strive for, with respect to positive attributes, ways I’d like to be, personal growth and all that. But what really guides me, lights my way? Informs my decisions? My behaviors? My way of “having fun”? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’d be so much happier if somebody would just TELL me what my values SHOULD be, so that I could be that way, for THEM…wow. That’s not a healthy way to be, now, is it?

Avoiding fully defining ourselves so that we can be who YOU need us to be? That’s not good for any of us. And when I hear or read a disparaging remark, when I hear that I’ve done something that somebody else disagrees with, or dislikes, and I know that the person they’re not describing is not ME, and it hurts my feelings, I feel ashamed. Why?

  • I don’t get to feel hurt by your remarks. After all, it was MY CHOICE to put myself in front of you, it was my choice to become successful, to get good at this thing, and if I put myself out there, disparaging remarks are going to be made, and I just have to live with it
  • I’m successful, more successful than some, less so than others. But admittedly I’m above average in the sport. As such, I’ve given up the right to be overly happy about my successes, and overly unhappy about my failures.
  • This is a leisure activity. It’s supposed to be FUN. As an above average competitor, I must have made a deal with the devil to give up my sense of FUN for my successes and motivations toward excellence (obviously, at the expense of my dogs and other people). As an above average competitor who wants your business, I need to be the kind of competitor you want me to be, the kind of person you want me to be (never mind the important bit – that I need to be the kind of TEACHER you need me to be). I need to have the kind of fun YOU envision, rather than the kind of fun that best suits me as an individual
  • It’s my fault, a flaw in MY character, that would lead others to behave in certain ways toward me, and so I have  no right to complain, and no recourse

There are a lot of other reasons. But, yeah. Shame. And that doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t like feeling ashamed of myself or my choices or my behaviors, and I don’t like it when others, as a society or as individuals, TELL me I should be ashamed. Am I PROUD of all of my behavior in and out of the ring? On and off the training field? Hell no. Jesus. Who IS? We’ve all done things that don’t go along with our personal values system, things we feel guilty about, things we regret. And I’m talking little to big here – I’ve gotten frustrated over the absolute DUMBEST things, a wide turn, a broken sit-stay, a dropped bar, my own failures to connect more easily with my dogs at times. I’ve let my frustration get in the way of “staying classy” in and out of the ring. But that doesn’t mean I’m a bad person, that I should be ashamed of who I am, or of who I am not. I’m imperfect, as are we all. The best I can do is mindfully strive toward “better”.

So, back to Ireland. The hosts of the seminar surprised me with tickets to an Adele concert. I’ve heard a few of her songs and she has an amazing voice. Just AMAZING. So I figured, sure, how bad could an Adele concert be? It wasn’t something I’d have chosen for myself, but whatever. I can say I did it.


I had no idea who Adele was as a person. And, there she was. On stage. That body. That glorious, real, she spends time unashamed eating real food body. And that face. She’s utterly gorgeous. Really a beautiful person. And that voice, much better than the songs I’d heard from her albums. And the best part was what happened BETWEEN the songs. She was REAL. She exposed herself in an authentic, unrehearsed, unapologetic way. It was incredible.

Now, I don’t purport to be famous like Adele. But I went looking after that concert, and sure enough, I found interview after interview where she was asked how she’d managed to remain herself despite the fame. Her responses were authentic, sometimes classy, sometimes lowbrow, but she was easy to connect with even watching videos of her, because she was just so….REAL. I think I love Adele just a little bit. And for somebody I don’t know from Adam, I’d DEFINITELY go to bat for that woman. Just because…REAL. And then, on the flight home, I was scrolling through movies and for whatever reason, this one jumped out:


A lot to think about.

I was supposed to write a whole blog post about fun, March 2nd, but when I tried to write it, I had to stop – I was having so much fun, traveling, teaching, and thinking about who I really AM, and the reasons I got into this sport, that it just seemed ridiculous that I’d need to write about it, much less convince others that they needed to think about their own reasons for being in the sport. I shouldn’t have to encourage or remind people to have fun in what is a leisure activity, right? But again, who am I to feel that way, when my own version of “fun” often doesn’t look like fun at all to others? When I myself have lost sight of why I do the things I do, when I myself fail to stick to my own values in lieu of what I think others would prefer I stick to? Yeah, yeah, I know I didn’t need to take that particular tact, I could have hit “fun” from any angle, but that was the one my brain couldn’t get away from.

Needless to say, no blog post was written.