Recently, I had the privilege of attending the NACWAA National Rally. For those of you who aren’t aware, NACWAA is the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators. The organization is the premier leadership organization dedicated to empowering, developing and advancing the success of women.
Each year NACWAA has an annual convention (or Rally, as it was called this year) and I had the privilege of attending the event for the first time this year. As a woman in the world of athletics, I can tell you that this organization is very much needed and does a great job of providing support and opportunities for personal and professional growth.
There were two extremely powerful themes that resonated with me at this event. The first was the power of networking.
At the event, I met TONS of new people, many of which were other driven and ambitious women. It was the perfect time for me to attend something like this. Not only was I in need of some inspiration, but also it was just nice to be surrounded by others that were in a similar place. Just before I attended the event, I thought that maybe it was too ambitious for me to want to have a career and also be the mom of a toddler. What I learned from many discussions with other women at this event was that you can do both work and life (and do both well), but you’ve got to be smart about it.
Your network is increasingly important- and not just for landing your dream job. They are your support system. At Game Plan, we write about this for student-athletes all the time. Build your network from the get go, have a support system — they will keep you in check and help you during the times when you need it most. Relationships are key – in every aspect of life.
Another big part of what came through at the event was the importance of presence. Amy Cuddy was the keynote speaker. Her latest book, Presence, explains that by having the ability to tap into your power and your best self, you can ultimately achieve an overall greater presence in work and life. She states:
“By accessing our personal power, we can achieve “presence,” the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and instead adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves.”
This is a phenomenal message that I think athletes can understand very well. It’s hard to be your best self when you are performing if you are too worried about the outcome and are not confident in your actions. You simply aren’t in the flow when you do that. You aren’t present. Having the ability to notice this and turn it around can change how you show up in your life every day. When you aren’t questioning yourself and thinking about your actions every moment, you’re simply living your life and being your true, authentic self. I’m not going to lie, this is something I work on daily — and fail at on most days — but it’s something I’m continuing to strive for.
Your network and your support system are key — in all aspects of life. Likewise, how you show up and present yourself can be a huge game-changer — not just for your career or your sport, but for anything you do. Through the NACWAA and its event, this was strongly reiterated for me.
The 2016 NACWAA National Rally was such a valuable experience for me and it’s one that I hope many, many other women in college athletics can take advantage of at some point in their careers.