How I Learned Oprah Is a Magical Genius

I was cleaning my room the other day when I found something extremely meaningful to me. I hadn’t told anyone until now because what I found is pretty personal, a little silly, and most definitely magical… I found my old dream board that I made!

If you’re wondering what possesses a girl to set out and make something quirky like a dream board, I made this right after I tore my Achilles tendon my sophomore year of college.  And believe me:  after staring at my fat, disgusting, oozing surgery scar, I was in a dark, dark (and very bored) place.  I’d been throwing myself a pity party, and so I asked my best friend, Google, how to get some good juju in my life after I had hit a rough patch, both athletically and personally (that’s another story). 

Of all things on the internet, I came across Oprah’s vision board (LOL) and decided that even though I really didn’t believe in her “magic of the board,” no one ever claimed it made their life worse, soooo I decided to give it a try.  And by “give it a try,” I actually mean I became obsessed and there was no way I was half-assing this board.  I brainstormed, went to the arts and crafts store, found all my favorite quotes and goals for the future, and I went all-out for this board because even if there was a 1 percent chance it would help, it was worth it (and did I mention I was bored?)…

A few things I had on my board were:

  • Adrian Peterson (RB for the Vikings) going back to practice after recovering from tearing his ACL and MCL
  • A sport’s broadcaster
  • A flexible ballerina
  • Kobe Bryant’s quote on A-Rod: “He forgets he’s the best, I never do.”
  • Gold NCAA championship Trophy
  • A couple falling in Love

While this might seem like a random assortment to throw on a dream board, the big themes here are that I wanted to find success (i) in the gym, (ii) in my career, and (iii) in my personal life. 

What I didn’t realize was that simply making this board was the first step to putting my dreams into action.  I had never stopped and thought about what I really wanted out of myself, and actually taking a moment away from my crazy life to recognize my goals finally brought my aspirations to life.  From this point on, I felt so motivated, driven, and directed towards what I want to achieve, as these goals were always on my mind, even subconsciously.

Looking at Adrian Peterson on my board every day, I could see the determination in his eyes to come back even stronger from his injury.  He didn’t have the look of ‘greatness’ in him on my board – he had the look of wanting to be great.   I was inspired.  I knew I had to become a 24-hour athlete again, which meant saying goodbye to drinking wine every night and returning to a healthy lifestyle.  The Ballerina reminded me that I had become more flexible if I was going to win in the gym, so I went to hot yoga religiously and became more flexible than I’d ever been.  Staring at Kobe’s quote felt like he was talking to me, inspiring confidence in myself:  Never forget that YOU’RE great, and what you’ve been through in your career to get here.”  I started training with confidence, with responsibility, and with the will to protect my legacy

Many of you probably don’t know this, but Adrian Peterson’s first season after returning from his ACL and MCL tear was actually the best season of his career.  He won MVP of the league and rushed for 2,097 yards and 12 TDs. 

My post-injury career included two trips to the Super Six and a NCAA Trophy for winning the National Title in the All-Around and beam, my favorite event.  While my true dream was to win UCLA a TEAM National Title, I blame myself for not being specific enough on the dream board with which NCAA Trophy I was talking about!  Ughhhh…  But still, I’m happy that this dream came true. 

When I got back to school after tearing my Achilles, I started Bruin Banter, my own show where I interviewed UCLA gymnasts throughout season.  This was my first step towards realizing my dream of having a career in broadcast. Bruin Banter ended up being such a hit that after my last year competing at UCLA, I was hired by PAC-12 to be a broadcaster for collegiate gymnastics and contracted by NBC to broadcast and report on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro!  It’s safe to say my dream here came true.   

Lastly, I put a picture of a couple in love because I was tired of silly college flings and ready to find something real. Well, ask and you shall receive haha…  I found it! …And the break-up was justtt as real as the love I experienced, buuuuut I still learned a lot and I know what true, amazing, happy love is now! 

So, as I’m reflecting back on all of these wonderful experiences, I know it’s time to make a new board.  I encourage you to make a Dream Board with me, or if you already have one, I’d love to know what’s on it so we can encourage one another!  If there’s anything I learned from my first dream board, it’s that making one clearly organizes your goals and motivates you to be who you really want to be!  Once you recognize your dreams, you’ll figure out a way to set out and accomplish all your goals.  …That, orrrr maybe Oprah was right and the power of the dream board really is just magical ;).

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