Until this year, my first year teaching abroad, I don’t think I totally understood the value of having a good support system – a network of people who care about you and see the best in you, even when you can’t see it yourself.
I left my home country of Canada alone for a number of reasons. One: because it can be nearly impossible to find a full-time teaching position where I was living. Two: I acquired, like many graduates, quite a hefty amount of student loans to be paid off. And three: to venture out, explore, and experience a new place and culture. While I found myself beginning to fulfill all of these facets, I also discovered the hardships that can arise in unforeseen circumstances. Some of these include having no access to Internet in my place of residence for three months, restricting my ability to stay connected to family and friends. And, a working environment so different from anything known at home it creates a kind of internal conflict that might only be described as unsettling. The bottom line is, life brings us to unexpected places and, for better or worse, sometimes these places can be challenging to say the least.
Not having planned to return home over the Christmas holiday (because I needed to save money), a plane ticket home for this two-week break turned into a must. After feeling so detached from the people in my life that I had, over the years, formed sacred bonds with and the people I have known since birth, I just knew in my soul that I would not be able to continue until the end of the academic year without reconnecting with them.
The ten days that I spent with my family and friends was a complete re-grounding and rejuvenation of my being. I felt whole again after feeling unhinged. And almost immediately regained my momentum and my drive.
Here’s where I link all of this back to skating, or any sport for that matter. While training and setting out to accomplish new goals, there are going to be bumps, bruises, and unexpected falls - sometimes, BIG falls. And those drops will at times lead to questioning your ability, your talent, your choices, etc. And when those moments hit (because they will, because life does this) one of the best tools you can have around is the support from people who are rooting for you.
I invite you to take a moment to identify your cheerleaders – your family, your friends, your coaches… Who is on your team? These are the people who will remind you of your greatness whether you win or lose. They have your back.
If you don’t feel like you have this kind of system in your life, first, take a good long look around, because there’s a good chance that you have more advocates than you thought. And if the number still seems slim, it’s never too late to start building a network. Make a list of all the people in your life that can be there to encourage you in any way. Knowing exactly which people are in your support circle gives you more resources when you need them, serves as extra motivation, and reminds you that you’re not alone - whether the moment’s positive or negative. Having a support system is equally important for your highs. Because there’s really nothing better than celebrating your successes with those you love.