American Ninja Warrior is a sports entertainment obstacle course show where athletes complete against each other for a half million dollars. Recently a video of Kacy Catanzaro, the first woman to complete the course, went viral. Her strength and agility are phenomenal.
As I watch the video, the crowd is deafening as they yell and chant her name. The announcers are frenzied after each stage of the course she completes. Several people in the crowd yell, “I love you Kacy”.
I can’t help but wish those same rowdy fans would stand outside my office. I’d love to see swarms of people cheer for a client after she has told the truth about devastatingly difficult things with every ounce of courage she possesses. I’d love to hear her name being chanted as she drives away after a session when she has finally allowed herself to grieve. I want my clients to feel that kind of support from their families and communities.
I want an announcer to say, “Can you believe what we’re seeing here? If this isn’t courage, I don’t know what is. Look at the strength and humility she is displaying. Her story is pretty amazing, folks! We are seeing history in the making”.
I want to watch little tributes on SportsCenter with video clips and music about where she started and how far she’s come. About how, after so much hurt and pain, she’s beginning to allow herself to be vulnerable while giving up damaging addictive behaviors.
The kind of workout counseling clients engage in is no less admirable than that of Ms. Catanzaro. It’s just different. It’s no less important. It’s just stealth. Just because a client’s victory over huge hurdles isn’t broadcast on a major network, and thousands of people don’t stand to applaud, doesn’t mean their journey is any less astonishing than an American Ninja Warrior.
The strength of those who show up in my office is formidable, and no less valiant than any athlete.
Now, before you marathon runners and CrossFitters tar and feather me for blasphamy, please hear me: I greatly respect this female athlete and her physical prowess. I revere anyone with that kind of determination and skill. I found myself cheering for her, as well.
I’m simply asking that we consider encouraging, celebrating, and affirming on a broader scale. Are there people in our lives fighting obstacle courses of trauma, betrayal and grief? Does their emotional weight lifting go unnoticed? Do we acknowledge their struggle, journey, and courage?
So, to all of you vulnerability embracing, truth telling, heart exposing, behavior changing, forgiveness giving, façade removing, soul nurturing, counseling clients….Here’s to you!!!
I hope you can hear the stadium full of applauding fans the next time you walk through your counselor’s door.