After spending 2023 focusing on myself, my family and assessing my career to date, I realized two things: One, I never took enough time for myself; I never prioritized myself or my family. Two, I allowed the strain of a harsh professional sports environment to affect who I was on the inside. 


From a professional standpoint, I am a planner – meticulous, hardworking, and a creator guided by very strong values of integrity, accountability, and transparency. My growth as a clinician in the professional soccer world has always been driven by my capacity to outwork everyone around me, absorb information, and learn quickly while making smart and educated decisions. The biggest challenge in the women’s game has always been resources, and, therefore, many staff take on a lot more than they should. With that comes a heavy burden that slowly takes over your personal life and soon turns you into a voluntarily overworked member of the sports world. 


Being able to step away for a year has really elevated this perspective, which helped me re-assess my work-life balance. This is where comfortability with change comes in. It is hard for me to do less. I kept wrestling about my worth, my value, and if I worked less than I used to. I had this sense of guilt if I enjoyed too much time with my family because I should have been working harder to earn more and to be respected. 


It turns out I have grown to embrace change, to embrace a new rhythm, a more composed rhythm where I value the quality of my work over the quantity of it. More importantly, I have set my non-negotiables with regard to spending time with my family and enjoying life.

Nothing is worth more than that. 


From a personal standpoint, my family life and my enjoyment of life were directly affected by my work and overachiever mentality – all because American society promotes this idea that you must work extra hard and more than your peers to earn a strong status in your field. What is most interesting is that I am from France, and I completely lost sight of the other side of the coin where people take lunch breaks and naps, where weekends are vastly free of work. 


So, I started aiming for a healthy balance of both. I zoomed out and looked back at the things I truly enjoyed while I was a kid, the things that brought me the most joy. From there, I made a commitment to change and to immerse myself in some of these hobbies and pastimes. Being outdoors and enjoying nature, fish and hunting, playing pétanque and squash, cooking for my family, diving into new techniques, visiting new places, and learning new cultures. It’s funny when you put it all in perspective; I have done more things for myself in one year than I have in the last 12 years since I graduated college. It really comes down to re-assessing what we want life to be, and surely, it should not be driven by work. It’s okay to be selfish at times, to put yourself first. That’s always been a hard one for me. It seems silly, but there are too many like me out there that lose sight of the importance of caring for ourselves first.


So, my biggest advice is to zoom out! Elevate yourself into the sky and overlook your life, your day-to-day, your week-to-week, your month-to-month, and observe yourself. Start taking notes and assessing where are the opportunities for change. Where can you put yourself first, and where do you draw the lines that will protect your life and your inner peace?