Kevin: During your college career at Louisiana State University, you were a stellar student-athlete. Where did you find the inspiration to challenge yourself to excel in soccer and your studies?
MO: Well, thank you! I appreciate your kind words. Growing up, I was about as stubborn and hard-headed as they come. I was also EXTREMELY driven and competitive. This can be a pretty chaotic combo in a young child, but my parents recognized those strong characteristics in me quickly and worked hard to guide me towards positive outlets for that intensity. Through sports and academics, that competitive perfectionism evolved into passion. A constructive, disciplined passion. Through the years, that passion is what pulled me onto countless empty fields to train extra on my own. That passion is what drove me to bring home the best grades possible I could to see the smile on my parents face. And that passion stayed with me, and continues to burn in me. Growing up, if someone was great at something, I was passionate about being better. (Did I mention I was competitive? Ha!) Now a days, if I commit to something, I commit every ounce of myself to it. Less so that I can beat someone, and more so that I can be the best I can possibly be for someone. Because people deserve the best of us--to be treated and loved and served passionately.
Kevin: Speaking of your passion for sports, you tried out for the Tiger football team. What was the most enlightening element of that experience?
MO: Honestly, the most incredible element of that experience had little to do with yardage and distance and athletic success. I was terrified when I began that endeavor. Terrified that I would be overwhelmed, disrespected, objectified. Terrified that the team wouldn't fully embrace the situation. Terrified that I would be more of a distraction that an equal. But I committed to stepping into that journey and carrying myself as a strong individual--not just a strong woman--but a strong athlete and teammate. I committed to carrying myself with dignity, strength, discernment and character. I focused on learning about the guys and learning about their dynamic. I studied my time with them...studied the team. And focused on the sacrifices necessary to do things RIGHT. I watched how I dressed, talked, ate, and spent my time. I worked more hours on my own than I ever had as an athlete...and the progress and results showed. Because of how hard i focused on all the things that TRULY mattered in the situation, and because of my consistency, discipline, and authenticity, I earned something far greater than a roster spot or a trophy or a starting job...I earned the team's RESPECT. And THAT was my most valuable possession.
Kevin: You've dedicated countless hours of physical training, a steady regimen of improving your physical performance by taking your body to the limit. Mentally, we can max out as well. In this aspect, How important is recovery?
MO: This is an AWESOME question, because it is SO incredibly important. And it is something I had to learn in time...and still continue to learn. We live in a fast-paced world. The bar of "best" is raised every day and there is an unspoken pressure to "keep up." Physically, mentally, emotionally. We are constantly pushing our limits in hopes of being better. But the fact of the matter is that a car can only run so long on a single tank of gas. Our bodies--physically, mentally, emotionally--NEED rest and recovery. not just for the sake of "refueling", but for the sake of reenergizing our creativity, passion and focus. We're almost made to feel "guilty" for taking time off or resting now a days, but it is an essential part of the process. Even spirituality, we are called to rest. That is the point of the sabbath. A day of rest. I like to incorporate rest all throughout my day. Small breathers--whether that is taking my dogs for a walk, building in a mid-day workout, running a few mindless errands, even taking occasional naps. I make sure to take these times to mentally "breath" throughout the day. Then I ALWAYS take time when my family or fiance is around to be fully present with them. Mentally, emotionally, and physically resting is all a balance. But it's CRUCIAL we find that balance in our lives so we can actually ENJOY life, stay inspired, and discover longevity in our days.
Kevin: Your age belies your wisdom. You have a wealth of diverse experiences. As a speaker, what are some of the topics you address?
MO: I primarily speak on overcoming adversity and living boldly despite broken circumstances. My past was riddled with struggle--I battled an eating disorder, unexpectedly lost my father to suicide, survived a horrific car accident--and that was all by age 20. I struggled with grief, physical healing, depression, anxiety...you name it. I came to a point in my life--hanging upside down in my vehicle after my wreck, actually--where I had a decision to make: was I going to continue to allow the circumstances of my life control my potential, or was I going to boldly thrive? I chose to intentionally move forward, boldly seeking purpose and empowering others in their struggle. So that has built a platform to speak on my faith, my relationship with Christ, overcoming adversity, leadership, intentional living in courage and passion. My personal story seems to reach a diverse variety of demographics. But I've found that despite our age, our social class, our gender, there is a power in standing before another, sharing the messiness of your own lives, and encouraging them that they are not alone in theirs. And that their past does not define their potential.
Be sure to check back next month for Part II of our conversation with Mo!
Achievement is often the benchmark to which we measure success. The finished product is celebrated and highly praised. However, there is more to the story of an achiever than the perception of attained success . Achievers make sacrifices in pursuit of their goals. They have lived and learned--and continue to do so. They have the ability to use experiences to share wisdom with those willing to listen.
To become successful, there is a refinement process that life requires. The adversity we overcome or surrender to is determined by our willingness to give in or give more. The subject of this profile shares insight into her personal journey of living with passion, boldly seeking purpose, and empowering others.