Woman of the Week: Lily

Lily Bean looks like Alice in Wonderland.jpg

Welcome to this weeks Woman of the Week... 

This is a new thing I am working on with a group I formed on Facebook for my Unapologetically You tribe.  Filled with amazing and cool women whom I have met over the years.  My goal is to help them all live an authentic, intentional and unapologetic lives, following their dreams, passions, struggles and victories with support and connection from a group.  There are many different ages in this group, many more in mid-life and older than younger.  Lily is the youngest one of the group and my oldest niece.  The photo above was taken several years ago by her mom and it always made me think of Alice in Wonderland for some reason.

Lily is 20, away at college for her sophomore year and one of the coolest women you could ever meet.  She may be young but she has incredible wisdom and drive.  She has the sass of all of the women in our family and in many ways is the female version of my youngest brother, her father.  She has an innate sense of cool and and I cannot wait to see her grow and change over the years.  Below is a short interview I did with her over text message before a basketball game.  Lily is tall, 6'1" and plays basketball and has for years.  She plays at a junior college and they are moving into the year end tourney undefeated.  The classic Lily that I will always remember is watching her play one of her final games in high school and seeing her play a tough game with a big smile on her face, she loves it that much.  

I sent her a text to let her know she was the featured guest for WOW (Woman of the Week) on Wednesday and her response was:  "Awh!!!  I'm honored"  I then told her I had a new idea about doing a blog post at the same time as a feature on the group page and asked if I could send her some interview questions.  "Yeah!" was her response.  So here goes:

What's the biggest thing you have learned so far in your college career, being away from home for the first time, school, life etc, whatever resonates?  "How to persevere.  My freshman year I had a lot of curveballs thrown at me and learning how to not just give up and let them define me was really hard at first.  When I realized I need to make sure I continue bettering myself and learning from my mistakes the curveballs became minuscule parts of my life.  My sophomore year has been nothing but positives and I believe I have become the hardest working version of myself to date."

What if any failures that you have had taught you about yourself?  "I had a point in time where I was super down on myself and was very isolated.  I wasn't sure where I wanted to go with my life and it was really taking a toll on my happiness.  It definitely taught me that I am in charge of my life and I can either make things happen for myself, or sleep on my dreams.  Nothing is handed to us and hard work will always pay off with rewards.  I'm not someone who could ever work a mediocre job and be happy knowing what I could be doing out in the world.  I will forever be the person who is working to make their dreams come true and taking every downfall as a lesson as well as a growth opportunity.  Life without failures is too safe of a life for me!  I know I'm not pushing myself hard enough if I'm not failing."

Who's your biggest inspiration?  "Definitely my parents.  They always work hard to make sure whatever vision or dream I have is made possible.  They made it possible for me to come down to Oregon to play basketball, and right now we are working on making it possible for me to continue school in Portland with my best friends.  They are amazing people and I can't wait to be this generous and caring to my kids someday."

What is it about basketball that keeps you playing?  "The feeling of success.  Last year we had the best record in the league and chose the wrong day to have a bad day.  We lost our end of season tournament in the semi-finals.  Nothing has ever felt as terrible as that when we knew we deserved the 1st place trophy.  I didn't play as much as I wanted and my coach didn't seem to like me so much last year, but I was determined to be a key part on the team.  Even if it was just going hard in practice to make the starters better.  Everyone wants to be a star on game day but the days that really matter are the days we need to work our hardest, like Monday practices when no one is sitting in the stands.  This year I've worked harder and have tried to get better every day.  I have a better relationship with my coach and teammates and although I still don't play 40 minutes a game, I feel a part of something big and all of our mindsets are set on that 1st place trophy.  We're undefeated in our season 23-0."

Any ideas on what you want to do with your education?  "In high school and my freshman year of college, I had counselors that weren't sure on how to give direction and organize my schedule to make sure I had the greatest success.  I struggled because of it and felt super lost with what I wanted to do or where I wanted to end up.  I had to do most of that stuff on my own, which can be stressful and sooo confusing, especially at my age.  How am I supposed to know what I want to do for the rest of my life?!  After a long talk with my new counselor I would like to continue my education to become a school counselor and basketball coach.  Now that I've gotten the hang of organizing my life I am inspired to help other kids who feel lost find their path.  I always knew I wanted to have a career where I can help people and this seems to be something very fitting of who I am.  Being a basketball coach would also be so rewarding as I love working with athletes that have a determined mindset and want to get better everyday and I want to help them do that."

I thanked her and she thanked me and told me it was a cool idea to do the blog post interviews.  A couple of things Lily Bean, what you decide to do now will absolutely not be the only thing you do for the rest of your life.  That is the biggest misnomer that kids in high school get directed with...  I would tell any kid trying to find their way to take some classes, live some life, maybe do a gap year and learn about things outside their daily life and gain some experiences and know that whatever you do decide to start with can always change whenever you want it to.  Reinvention is the name of the game baby.  Though Lily will probably not keep playing college basketball at the same level, she will keep playing and I have absolutely no doubt that she will make a tremendous coach and counselor.  She is a natural leader on the court and will pass on all of her passion and drive to anyone who has the great fortune to play for her.  She is compassionate and positive and I trust she will be of service to anyone who has her as a counselor.  I love you Lily and am so proud of you, thank you for sharing.

That is this weeks Woman of the Week, I plan to make this a recurring event each week, the questions will change some but the intent is the same, to share the wisdom of so many amazing women, to celebrate, uplift and support them.