Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Focused by Noelle Pikus-Pace

Where are your choices leading you? Regardless of our circumstances, each moment presents us with decision to make. It doesn't matter what question, trial, or success we experience—each traces back to a choice. At any given moment, we can choose to doubt, fear, worry; to be prideful, angry, depressed, or miserable—or we can choose to move forward. We can choose to be a light. We can choose to be happy. The choice is always ours, and each choice can be a step forward on the path of life we want for ourselves.
The life lessons learned by Olympic athlete Noelle Pikus Pace can equip each of us to turn daily choices and challenges into opportunities for growth. In her warm and relatable style, Noelle shares touchingpersonal stories and teaches how these experiences can help us keep a healthy perspective on the things that matter most. She helps us to see that though all of our goals and trials are different, we each can choose to become the best versions of ourselves one day at a time.
Covering topics from letting go of expectations and pressures to finding a healthy life balance, from standing up for ourselves to standing for righteousness, world champion Noelle Pikus Pace infuses readers with the enthusiasm and confidence to get a little closer to their goals each and every day.

My thoughts: All right. I'll admit it. She is identifiable because she lives a few towns over. Or she grew up a few towns over. I have no idea if she's still there. I'd totally stalk her if I had the time. She is extraordinary in that she is a woman athlete who is world class Skeleton. How many people do you know that claims skeleton as their sport? I'm sure I've met a few since Park City is a 40 minute drive, but it's never come up in a conversation, oddly enough. But world class? Olympic gold winner? Exceptionally extraordinary. And yet...

She's also very ordinary. If she lived next door, the difference between her and the rest of us is that she disappears for weeks at a time during the winter. But so does my neighbor. She goes to Singapore to see her family then comes home at the tail end of winter, missing the cold snap, complaining about the heat she had to endure. Cry me a river. But I digress.

Noelle discusses real life challenges, aimed at a teenage audience, I believe, yet uses those extraordinary experiences from her own life to teach a strong and memorable lesson. Regardless of her skill and talent, all her accomplishments, Noelle is just like any other young woman who struggled with insecurities and doubts that run the gamut of what we all suffered through. She wanted to be included in the group yet was rejected over and over again. She nearly quit even though she was one of the best in the country. She shares how she handled it and what she learned.

My personal favorite was on keeping your goals clear, focusing on where we want to go rather than the obstacles. This one reminded me of Peter who saw Jesus walking towards him on water. In his excitement and with great faith, he left the boat and began walking towards Christ. Then Peter got distracted by all of the obstacles keeping him from reaching the Savior and he sunk.

Noelle was clear of her goal when she started a very difficult track. She began strong but, at a very difficult turn, forgot to make the appropriate corrections because she was concentrating on the screaming voice in her head, "Don't hit the roof!" She got distracted and lost sight of her goal. You'll never guess what happened next.

She hit the roof. Of course she did! That's where her sights were suddenly set.

Every chapter has a life lesson with a story from her life. Unfortunately, I did the stupid Mom thing and ranted about the book to 16 year old daughter because I thought it would be excellent for her. Never do that, by the way. Teenagers are wired to do anything BUT what their mother thinks is a good idea. I'll give it a few months then reintroduce it by leaving it out but obscured by a magazine. Then she'll suddenly be interested in it.

I'm learning.

About the Author

NOELLE PIKUS PACE became the first American woman to win the Overall World Cup Title in skeleton in 2005. After playing a variety of sports through high school and college, her exceptional strength in skeleton made her favored to win the gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics. An unfortunate accident prevented her from competing, but the following year she came back to win the World Championships by the largest margin in the history of the sport. Noelle competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics and was the top U.S. finisher, placing fourth.
She retired after the Olympics to spend more time with her family. Following a miscarriage in April of 2012, Noelle and her husband, Janson, decided that she would try one last time to earn an Olympic medal, on the condition that the family would all travel together. Competing in 32 national and international competitions over two years, Noelle finished on the podium 29 times and concluded her career by triumphantly winning the silver medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and jumping into the stand to share the moment with her family and the world.
Noelle earned a bachelor’s degree in 2005 and a master of business administration degree in 2007. Noelle and Janson have two children, Lacee and Traycen.

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