• Sarah Skedsvold

"The Story Behind the Story of Nine-Four Coaching *REPOST 1/14/20*

This is the story that leads up to the brink of creating Nine-Four Coaching and is really designed to provide insight into where I’ve been and where I’m at and where I’m going.


For some of you, the events are going to be very familiar; in fact, you may know about or were a part of them, and that’s okay…it’ll still be an interesting read…I promise


“Big words for a little kid..”

My mom likes to remind me often that when I was in preschool, the teachers pulled her aside and told her that I was using big words…accurately…and they weren’t sure what to think about that. So not only was I using words that a 4-year-old doesn’t normally know, I was using them in the appropriate context. I attribute that to the following: I grew up watching Sesame Street and I didn’t know I was acting differently…


I imagine, though, it was an example of my truest nature…Without an awareness of external influence, I am comfortable being myself even if that meant being unique within a group.


…I just didn’t know I was using different words, at least, I don’t remember knowing I was using different words. I don’t imagine I had the capacity to understand that using different words would set me apart from my class. They were just the words that I was familiar with and I used them.


“I just didn’t know any better…”

Some of my most interesting experiences and stories are often a result of the fact that I just didn’t know any different…I found myself in a situation and I took action on what felt right.


In an extension to just not knowing any different…I have not always been the best option, but...I have always been willing to fill the role of leader. I have found that being willing is far more important than actually being ‘the best option’…The world is full of ‘better options’ who aren’t willing to throw their name in the hat.


My very first memorable example, I volunteered to be the Ringmaster for our kindergarten class Circus program. No one else wanted the responsibility of hosting the Circus, so I did it. I put my little top hat on and had a little tuxedo coat and introduced my friends and their acts (lions, clowns, tigers…) all throughout during the program…” Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, get ready for ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’”…now who can hear 5 year old me belting that out across the classroom


“Unyielding quest”

I take action…I have always taken action...it’s a big part of what makes up my personality. Whether it’s getting myself into something or getting myself out of something I don’t wait around, I figure out a path and then I take it.


My drive has led to accomplishing big things, there’s no doubt… after being a pretty overweight child I made the decision to lose weight when I was in 8th grade and I was an athlete all throughout high school; I joined the ND Army Guard 3 weeks after I turned 18; I volunteered to deployed overseas in support of conflict or peacekeeping 3 times; I earned 2 associate degrees, 1 bachelor's degree, and 1 masters degree while working as a full-time Soldier; I resigned from my career as a full-time Soldier and became a CrossFit coach; I resigned from being a CrossFit Coach and started Nine-Four Coaching


“It doesn’t always work out”

Doing big things requires laser focus, and laser focus doesn’t support a healthy “work/life balance”… and I’ve done a lot of big things…


When I was a kid, I sacrificed spending time with my family. I chose basketball camps over family vacations and shooting hoops in my driveway over time on the lake.


When I was a newly minted Soldier in the Guard I was well-known for being very rigid and very outspoken. There was right and there was wrong and there wasn’t any room for moderation, grey area, or flexibility…at all…I chose work over almost everything, and that’s not an exaggeration… if anything it’s an underestimation.


…As a part-time Soldier my life revolved around my drill schedule, no questions asked, no time off…as a full-time Soldier that only got worse…it absolutely led to me volunteering for my last overseas deployment, without question or even a conversation with my family before I threw my name in the hat…


I actually exceeded my military career goal…and by doing that... I accepted a position where I was living 4 hours away from my family, 5-7 nights a week, in a 2 bedroom apartment by myself, working at least 12 hours a day when I was at work, and checking in on my days off…only to make no noticeable progress within my first year…and…after finally realizing and admitting to myself how much I had willingly sacrificed and placed that against what I had received…I resigned…as an Army Master Sergeant…4 years away from a full-time military retirement…with a bulletproof reputation for excellence…


Coming off my full-time military career I threw all of myself into becoming a CrossFit Coach…threw All. of. Myself. in …again… I didn’t take time off, I didn’t recharge outside of the gym…again…after finally realizing and admitting to myself how much I had willingly sacrificed and placed that against what I had received…I resigned…again…


“Fail forward”

I like to imagine that I am making better mistakes. My mom has told me that ‘it’s not what you do wrong…it’s what you do next.’


It was really tough to keep my inner critic in check after back-to-back, what I initially considered, ‘failed careers’…especially after following my own drive…


There wasn’t anyone behind me pushing me to do more, there wasn’t any legacy I was trying to live into…it was all me…I had these tasks in front of me to complete and I completed them over and over again…never once asking myself if they were tasks I wanted to complete…


I’d put my own blinders on when I was a kid…and ran as fast and as far as I could and when I finally took them off I realized how far away I was from the people that I love…


I had 2 options:

  • …stop…and start walking toward the people that I love, doing the things that bring out the best parts of me, using the experiences I’ve had as a gift and bringing that gift into my universe…

  • …just keep going, forego any possibility of forgiveness or compassion, and allow that drive to send me further down the road, more and more alone


With a lot of help, I chose the first option…and every day, I am closer to the people that I love, doing what brings out the best parts of me, and bringing my gifts into my universe…


Nine-Four Coaching is where my gifts to the universe reside…


“The Way Forward”

My confidence, focus, and drive have afforded me an unbelievable life. I have achieved at a high-level and walked away from it…dealt with the internal repercussions of failure…taken the lessons with me and left the self-sabotage and doubt behind…


Folks in service professions need tools to be better at what they do, tools to understand why they do what they do, and tools to build resiliency…


Every tool and resource that I will publish I have read about and learned from someone else, mostly for free. More people need these tools and I’m committed to tearing down obstacles to tools and resources. That’s where this blog and forthcoming podcast comes in…they’re big toolboxes, take freely and bring them to the people in your life…


Sometimes folks need some help using the tools and that's where forthcoming workshops, online courses, and one-on-one coaching come in.


“More to follow”

Thanks for the read, be on the lookout for more tools, resources, and personal stories in the near future


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