The weekend in Orlando was so much fun!
I believe the biggest pivotal moment to the girls and our relationship was that I shared my story. I shared just a portion of my childhood, high school, and college. I can’t tell you everything because that’s between us 🙂
BUT what I will tell you is that I shared with the sole purpose of them learning something. I could share my story with a million people and everyone would walk away with a different inspiration. But I wanted them to know the real Kaitlyn, where I came from, and know that with a little hard work, persistence, belief in yourself, confidence and surrounding yourself with people who bring you up…you can accomplish ANYTHING.
Speaking of the real Kaitlyn…
Throughout this blog, I will slowly let you in on aspects of my life no one would EVER assume or expect. Today I will start small. I have always kept my personal life separate from my professional life and never realized the relevance to share some not so awesome memories and struggles I have gone through in the past. But, thanks to amazing mentors like Janet Alexander and Milo Bryant, I now understand how to holster life events and experiences and USE them to help others, especially those who look up to me, those I coach, and people near and far who feel they are alone.
I want my athletes to know that what you see isn’t what you necessarily get. My social media up until this point has portrayed the happy, strong, and confident Kaitlyn who has a wonderful fiancé, two boxers, and grandparents (pap and gram) who she adores…that’s what most people know about me.
In Orlando I wanted to let my athletes know the “why” behind who I am today. I wanted them to take my story and think more about decisions they make, failures they don’t think they can overcome, and avoid ever feeling like they are alone.
So…I let them know that I was born to two VERY young 16-year-old high school parents. (Lesson 1, be smart, accidents happen). As a result their youth, my grandparents raised me and for that I owe them my life. They gave me a chance that most in my situation may never get. They saved me. Lesson #2, be grateful for loving grandparents.
I shared with them I am not close with either parent, I see them maybe a few times a year, we hardly talk. At the age of 12, (due to certain circumstances that I will write about in a later blog), I chose to move in with whom I felt were my true parents (my grandparents). Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, but we are just on different wavelengths and home life wasn’t great.
My grandparents gave me the gift of opportunity. My grandfather showed me how to work hard (via my first job of landscaping) and then they gave me my chance to really make something for myself: they gave me the game of golfJ They got me my first set of clubs at age 13. They were hammy down “Titleit” clubs…yes I said Titleit lol. I started to practice, and hit balls on the range with my grandfather who I looked up to dearly. Anywhere he went I followed. SO, as a result golf became my first love!
My grandfather took me to a driving range near our house and the PGA Pro took an interest in my swing. He said I had “real natural talent.” Ugh…the term natural talent…that’s a fix minded topic for another day:)
Back to the story…
I started with group lessons. Then the driving range changed hands. Oh no! My group lessons were gone. BUT, the owner and his wife (Also PGA Pros) took an interest in me as well. They allowed both myself, and best friend, to work for lessons have unlimited access to the driving range. AWESOME! It was there I lived; working long days picking golf balls, overflowing the ball cleaner with soap (hehe), and then practiced until late. While friends partied, I had dreams of playing college golf and being the first in my family to even attend college.
If my grandparents didn’t take me in, set clear boundaries, showed true love, taught me hard work and perseverance, and gave me the game of golf, I would NEVER be who I am today.
Yes, I can come across via social media photos as some pretty hair-flipping model, who goes to the gym, plays golf, and calls herself a strength coach. But, that is NOT the true me. It has been a hard road. It has taken a lot to get where I am today and even more to where I am heading. I have worked my butt off to prove not just to myself, but also to my family that I can and could do it.My reason for sharing part of my story was because I wanted my athletes to know the real Kaitlyn and what drives me.
Through my life experiences, I wanted them to remember that whatever they want in life, all they have to do is work hard, work smart and surround themselves with rock star people to get it. I wanted them to know that when faced with a slap from life, you just get back up and fight your hardest. You find a way to get things done. You hit it OB? Who cares? You tee it up, get your game face on, and you save par. Or when you get in a fight with your parents because you secretly want to do something you probably shouldn’t/aren’t ready for…remember the story I told you. Remember what can happen with one blink of an eye. Be thankful you have parents that care, and give you opportunity.
Through sharing, with both my athletes and you the reader, I hope that my truth sparked a new outlook. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. Maybe it didn’t now, but maybe they (and you) will remember our conversations (and this blog) 10 years from now when I’m old 🙂
Point being, if it inspired them to overcome obstacles, ignite future plans and goals, then it was (well) worth it.
A Word to the many young women out there who are just discovering their own strengths, and who still think that they are alone…you are not. This post is one of MANY that will give examples of just how similar we are.
Until then…just remember to never judge a book by it’s cover. Remember to share your story with others because you never know whom it will inspire. 🙂