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How I Learned to Love My Linebacker

Football on field - Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

I’m not a big fan of football. And yet….

I’m obsessed with the series Friday Night Lights.  Football on field - Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

I’d watched it float by my Netflix windows and kept dismissing it as “so not me…” Ick. Ptew. Blech.

I mean, come on Netflix…how you could possibly think I’d like that, you fool! FIX YOUR ALGORITHM, DUDES! I can’t stand football. All that purposeful crashing and clashing. I’m a #$#& feminist for $##& sake! What are you thinking!?

And then it happened. I got sucked in. And before I knew it, I was quoting Coach Taylor (“STAY INSIDE YOURSELF!”, “Clear eyes. Full hearts. CAN’T LOSE!”)

What was happening to me!? Where did I go?
I’ll tell you what happened and where I went.

I dove headlong into my masculine energy, that’s what—my native soil, mother tongue, home away from home. There’s a reason I work with women and surround myself with men at home—I have always felt comfortable with my masculine energy.

What do I mean by masculine energy? Well, that’s a larger conversation than we have time for here, but let me point you in the direction of my first book, which lays it all out for you in detail—and loads of story to illustrate. I’d also point you to my origin stories of SheChanges, and how I was “one of the guys” for more than half my life before I realized I actually wasn’t…

So what was going on with Friday Night Lights? It was giving me full reign to celebrate, embrace and unleash the power of my masculine energy—at the time of year (indeed a time in my life) when I seem to be running out of give-a-f*cks.

Do I still care? You betcha—I have a massive heart.
But my ability to be with bullsh*t? Mmmm….not so much.

This is not new to me. This is something I tightly managed in myself for most of my life. I was afraid of it. It didn’t feel “nice” or “polite” or “ladylike”.

I thought it was my little secret, this ability I have to slice through bullsh*t, but apparently, I was a mystery to no one except myself.

Twenty years ago when I was getting certified as a coach, we had to do this group exercise (sigh) where the people in your group had to give you a nickname to represent the greatest strength they saw you fearing—and therefore not using.

Let me just pause there and ask you:

What’s your greatest strength that scares the cra*p out of you? What power do you possess that feels so damn threatening you use it carefully and guard it closely?

Mine, apparently, was easy to see.

The “jury came back” in minutes with a unanimous decision on their nickname for me, an enthusiastic group member offering me a fresh new nametag to replace Lael.


As in, “Hi, my name is Lael the Linebacker.”

So yeah. Seems like I don’t like football because it hits a little too close to home (pun intended).

Surely you know this about me. When things get tough, the blocks, resistance—or bullshit—kick up, I have the ability to drop my shoulder and charge straight at it so that it…generally gives way.

I have joked that if you’re ever in a street fight, I’m your woman.

Loyalty is kinda my jam to those who have entrusted me to be their wing woman.

I love helping to clear the runway for someone to take flight.

I used to be afraid of this. I used to say I was “a bull in a china shop” (fun fact: I hate china…) I’m a really tall woman who trained herself to slouch to not take up too much space.

I’m not afraid of this side of myself anymore. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s practice. Maybe it’s that damn nametag. Maybe it’s because the secret is out. Or maybe it’s seventeen years of evidence, having been hired for exactly that skill.

Truth be told, I still don’t like football.
But I friggin love being a linebacker in life.

Oprah Winfrey once said in an interview that her biggest fear used to be that someone would say she was “full of herself”. Now she sees that as her job. To inhabit herself fully—all of herself.

That’s the invitation of my life—and my business: to inhabit every nook and cranny of ourselves, and bring it to life.

So as we charge head-long toward the endzone of this January, I share this story with you because holy WOW does it feel like so many of us are letting our inner linebacker take the lead these days—naturally, powerfully, and purposefully.


If you want more details and want to play a bit more with me, scroll down to read about the themes that are touching down in the SheChanges community.

Theme #1: Purge
Not a hugely surprising theme for January, but it’s different this year, maybe you’ve noticed. It’s super-charged, this urge to purge. Many are talking about this in relation to living with the pandemic, and how their annual purges hadn’t happened for two years…so now there’s a backlog. We’re more mindful of what gets to live in our homes, having let seemingly all of society inside 24/7 via Zoom as so many of us worked remotely. And this isn’t just “stuff” in the classic sense—it’s also emotional and psychic sh*t that we’re no longer gonna carry. Old stories, behaviors, patterns, or values. “Sober” is a term people use to describe what post-purge feels like. Brene Brown would probably call it “enoughness.”

Q for You: What are the cluttered corners in your world that distract you—and how might you lighten the load?

Theme #2: Bullsh*t!
If “flexibility” was 2020, and “social distancing” was 2021, I’m starting to wonder if the trend for 2022 is “bullsh*t”. Or rather, BULLSH*T! (In shouty caps, because that’s what it feels like when I hear my clients say it.) It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that’s what’s behind the Great Resignation. A threshold has been reached (or breached?) It’s like one of those scales where the needle is all the way to the max—so many are beyond their limits and are stepping off. I’m seeing people make more bold, irreverent, full-stop actions that demonstrate they are no longer willing to betray themselves—or what’s true for them.

Q for You: What might you do to disentangle yourself from the bullshit and align more with your truth?

Theme #3: Simple
I’m a little partial to this theme because it happens to be my word of the year. But it’s everywhere I look with my clients—a desire to be present to what matters, spend time with simple pleasures (a fire, stories at the dinner table, or a hot mug of tea and a good book). We’re questioning everything. How could we do this differently? What if we were to keep this simple? What really matters most? And then we’re acting on it. We are turning down the “noise” in our life, migrating off of social media, saying no thank you to invitations to don’t really feed us, and reducing the static in our lives. Simple is the way I go deeper, I’ve found, and clearly, I’m not alone.

Q for You: What permission could you give yourself to have things feel a bit more simple?


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