People, Passion, Playing: 3 Things I Learned from Girls on the Run International

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Seems like everybody’s on summer break so we decided to keep it light for the month of July. Today is the first of four light-hearted ‘lists of the things’ that keep us smiling over here. Enjoy!

To kick off this light summer series, I want to share with you three things I learned from the 2022 Girls on the Run International (GOTR) Summit, held last week in beautiful Minneapolis.

1. Finding your Passion is not cliché… it might actually solve a lot of the world’s problems right now.

The 400 women (and a few good men) I met at the Girls on the Run Summit are full of passion!  WOW!  They weren’t talking about how tired they were, or complaining that they have no time. No… these beautiful humans were vibrantly exploring ways to pour even more into their passion of inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident!

Most of the women I met aren’t paid for the 15-20 hours a week they devote to inspiring girls. And many of them have “boss” jobs on top of their commitment. I met IT programmers, school administrators, lawyers, and stay-at-home moms who have full lives… and still, on top of it all, lead their GOTR councils.

Get serious about acknowledging the things in your life that light you up and start filling your tank with it!

2. Find your People.

You’ve probably heard me preach about this one, too—how we all need to surround ourselves with the people who ‘get us’ and keep us inspired. But geesh, at the GOTR Summit, these women took it to another level. These women are clear about one thing… they are one of many. They are champions of each other even if they have never met before. The mission binds them. The investment of time, energy and resources is very real, but they know they are making that investment together, as one community.

If you haven’t experienced the swell of support that comes with true community, you’ve gotta get out there and find your people.

3. Never stop Playing. (And stop taking yourself so seriously!)

Now this lesson just cracks up every time I think back to it. Let me set the scene. I checked into my hotel room about two hours before I headed down to the evening dinner and dance party. The DJ is bumpin’ and the energy is super high. I head to the dance floor rockin’ a fancy two-step to some late 90’s song when a woman looks over at me and shouts (over the music), “Hey! Hey! Are you a goater?”

Now… in my defense, the music was loud. And, also in my defense, I was a bit tired from my travels. But when she asked me this I thought, “Am I goat herder?” No… no… that can’t be what she’s asking me.

After a few more “Are you a GOATER?” and odd looks exchanged the woman shrugged and said, “I guess not.”

Of course, a few moments later during the Cupid Shuffle, it occurred to me that she was asking if I was a “GOTR.” As in… am I with Girls OThe Run.  Hello, McFly!  Lol.

On Wednesday night, I boarded my flight home with more passion around my own work, new friends from across the country and the hope that “honorary GOTR” might be on the table the next time I’m in town.

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