*This is a guest post by Erica Douglas. She is an encourager of girls and their dreams and for that reason alone she is one of my favorite people. Here is a taste of her work. Do you have a preteen, teen or do you know a coach that could be encouraged by Erica’s work? Please share this post and Erica’s website with them!

As a little girl, my heart’s desire was to be a cheerleader for my beloved Iowa State Cyclones. Rah Rah Rah! 

As a tween, I shifted from the sidelines to center stage. I formed a music group with the neighbor girls. My new dream was to be a rockstar. A famous rockstar.

Today, at 35, both these dreams seem hysterically uncharacteristic. I have zero rhythm, I can’t carry a tune, and well, I’m a jock. 

I also had a dream to be an Olympian. For me, that’s the dream that fueled me. Late night grueling practices. Magazine pictures of my idols plastering my bedroom walls. Breaking bones. Pulling muscles. Getting up after heartbreaking losses. No matter what, I was all in.

Alas, I never made the Olympics, but I did wear the uniform of my beloved Cyclones. The track uniform. And while it wasn’t exactly how I pictured, it became my broken dream come true.

So why do some dreams stick while others sink?

I think it happens in the transition.

The transition of growing up.

For the past twelve years, I’ve coached high school girls. Runners, like me. Girls in the peak of transition from girl to grown. And it seems to be here where little girl dreams grow up. 

Where others appear better.

Are better.

Where no one cares, no one sees, no one notices anyway.

Where status solidifies.

Where future plans are constant conversations.

Where we forget what we wanted to be and fixate on who we ought to be instead.

And that is where so many of us sink. In the transition.

In the growing up.

Because now we don’t have time. 

We work.

We schedule.

We make goals and lists and color coded calendars. 

We get busy.

We get distracted.

We arrive at our current destination and suddenly realize we have no idea how we got here.

It’s time to start swimming back to the surface. It’s time to start dreaming again. It’s time to go ALL IN.

Dream. Enough with those little goals. Those tiny ones you know you’ll check off at the end of the week. No more “to dos.” Dream the big stuff. The fun stuff. The if-there-were-no-conditions stuff. Then spend some time there. What does that dream feel like? Taste like? Smell like? Take a picture of it and put it on your mirror. Drive there intentionally. 

Turn off the noise. You don’t have to scroll through filtered friends. You don’t have to watch the news or the House Wives. So many people talk. Not enough people do. Be the doer.

Find Fear. Fear likes to hide. It’s when he’s hidden that he grows, that he keeps you distracted. Keeps you from getting up. Find Fear. Tell him you see him. And then tell him sorry. “I’m doing it anyway!”

I pray you find that little girl spot again. The spot where dreaming is like breathing.

I pray you find the dream that fuels you.

You are worthy of that dream.

Even if it is a broken dream come true.

Thanks for reading this guest post from Erica!

Take action: Where is your fear hiding? Seek him out and pull him out of the shadows – make him see the light of day. Tell him what’s what. Seriously, give him your best let-me-tell-you-who-is-in-charge speech. We have to speak truth louder to drown out fear. It’s okay – yell if you have to!

Erica Douglas founded She Plays in January 2017 because she wanted female athletes to see themselves as more than just a statistic, score or size. She enjoys spreading the message of confidence and self-worth through schools, churches and via her blog, www.sheplaysnow.com. You can find her on social media as @sheplaysnow. Aside from her professional duty as Coach, Erica spends the majority of her days as a taxi driver and human napkin for her four young children.