Kevin: I've seen a commercial that stated, "There are over 400,000 NCAA student-athletes, and most of us will go pro in something other than sports." You’ve become an author, a motivational speaker, and you continue to provide a positive example for others to follow. As you’ve transcended the sports arena, what has been your primary focus?
Mo: My primary focus since I finished school and my athletic career, has been to live a life I'm truly passionate about. I feel like we're almost programmed, throughout the years, to crave stability and security and fill our lives with "knowns". I was really driven by that for a while--the American dream. Get my degree, get a job, get the big salary, find my husband, start a family, make sure all my boxes are checked and I'm as stable as possible throughout the process. But I quickly realized that in my efforts to put the pieces of that puzzle together, I was losing enthusiasm and passion and joy. I didn't want to live a life of "perfect", I wanted to live a life of PURPOSE. So I chose the harder road. The road that's not as stable or secure or lucrative. The road that requires every ounce of you--your creativity, your trust, your faith. The road that leaves you exhausted and excited and truly fulfilled. I've been taking life day by day and leaning into the PURPOSE I know God has for me--to communicate, to encourage, to inspire. Sharing my baggage day after day after day so that maybe, just maybe, one of those days when I step off stage, sit down with a sobbing teenager who related to every word of brokenness, and share a message of hope with them, they can lift their head up as a stronger person. Watching lives impacted is far more valuable to me than six figures. And living for others will always be far more valuable to me than living for stability.
Kevin: You share that you struggled with a few issues as a youth in high school that you ultimately triumphed over. What was that time like for you and what/whom do you attribute your success to overcoming these issues?
Mo: I wrestled with a pretty vicious eating disorder throughout high school. Well, actually the eating disorder was just the effect, in a cause-and-effect relationship. It was just a crippling symptom. I SHOULD say that I wrestled with pretty vicious control issues throughout high school. My desire for control--to be good enough, to be beautiful enough, to be successful enough--led me down a road of self-obsession, fixation, and depression. In a high-pressure, high-demand community, I NEEDED something I could fully control and find my release in. That took shape as an eating disorder that was pretty all-consuming, mentally and emotionally. I honestly contribute my healing from those struggles to God, alone. He met me in my brokenness and illness when I wasn't even seeking Him. He blessed me with courage, strength, and resolve. He reminded me of my worth and beauty in His eyes. I finally mustered the strength to open up to my parents and family and owe a huge part of my recovery to their unconditional love and non-judgemental support, as well. I'm forever grateful to the King who whispered into my life and shattered the mirrors of self-absorption that surrounded me.
Kevin: You are affiliated with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Did this relationship begin early in your career? Why did you decide to align yourself with this organization?
Mo: I aligned myself with FCA because it was and is an organization that I believe is making a massive impact on campuses and in teams around the country. My walk with the Lord--though it was bumpy and confused and a struggle for a long time--is all that I owe my life to. Through all that I have battled with and faced, God has never left me nor forsaken me. Even when I have turned my back and run from Him, He has always met me in my brokenness and reminded me of the grace He gives. He sent His own Son to die so that I could live. Jesus Christ--who lived a perfect, innocent life, took a cross and chose to hang so that I, someone who has lived a VERY imperfect, sin-filled life, could be forgiven. Man, that's worth everything to me. That's the grace and forgiveness I rise with each day, and that's the strength that carries me through it all. I don't deserve that kind of love...yet God freely gives it. It's my heart to share that truth and freedom with every single person I ever come to know. And I really love that FCA offers an environment for athlete--who are playing for FAR more than the glory and wins--to come together and share their burdens, lift one another up, and continue to learn how to live like Christ together.
Kevin: You have been in the spotlight for sometime and you handle it graciously. What is your perspective on maintaining balance, humility, and focus?
Mo: Well thank you. That is a compliment that means a great deal to me, because it has not always been an easy road. I take my platform extremely seriously. I think we have to, really. When we are given a position of leadership, whether that be great or small, that means we're entrusted with some degree of influence over those who are watching and following. There is nothing more valuable than the life of another person and if the small stage I have has the power to influence someone's life, you best believe I'm going to take advantage and make sure that influence is positive, uplifting, inspiring, and realistic. People desire REAL. For some reason, our culture has developed an obsession with the lavish and excessive and unobtainable. While that's fun to watch and admire for a while, eventually it leaves people feeling isolated and not good enough and depressed. I think we have a responsibility, as leaders, to be REAL and HONEST and VULNERABLE with those who watch and follow us. Because at the end of the day someone is going to lie in bed at night and breath a sigh of relief that they aren't the only person going through a struggle. But that the person they look up to is dealing with the same stuff and talking positively about overcoming and clinging to hope. I'm an average person living in the same world with everyone else. I feel the same emotions, fight the same battles, laugh at the same jokes. That's always who I have been and always who I will be. So no matter what stage of life I've been at, or level of success...or defeat, I've always tried to keep that perspective. God's good. And we're all brothers and sisters under Him. Nobody better than or less valuable than another.
Kevin: What has been one of your most fulfilling experiences on your journey to “restoring faith in a generation?”
Mo: That's easy! Seeing and hearing from people who connect with what I'm saying or writing about is the MOST fulfilling thing I've ever experienced. A big part of my platform is tossing all my junk out there for the world to see and sharing a message of hope that the mess in our lives can become a MESSage. And the tests in our lives can become our TESTimonies if we don't allow them to define our potential. Writing about a topic or speaking on a topic is so worth the vulnerability when you can look into the eyes of someone who that message has really impacted and wrap a hug around their necks and see them find their second-wind. It's awesome. And it's the reason I wake up every morning and continue trailblazing this challenging path I've chosen. Because it's work that MATTERS. And seeing it matter to someone, and someone's life be saved or changed in response to it...man, it's beyond fulfilling.
Kevin: How can our audience connect with you and join the MOvement?
Mo: My website: http://www.moisom.com/#sthash.myItUfjq.dpbs
My YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLdULYHnMbDswmWF1oosTzA
Checkout Part I 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.