I Belonged

09/06/2011 04:34 pm ET | Updated Nov 06, 2011

With so many people starting college or new jobs and positions, I thought it an appropriate time to share a story about my first year on the Freestyle Skiing World Cup tour. No matter how much knowledge and skill we carry to the table, there is always an unsure feeling when we "break new ground."

In 1992, my first World Cup competition was in Blackcomb, British Columbia. Because the U.S. team had too many athletes, I was allowed to compete to gain experience, but my result wouldn't count. Being the rookie of the tour, I wasn't familiar with any of the common practices. I felt I was constantly in people's way, and timidly stood off to the side, feeling as if I didn't belong.

The contest was on Saturday and I couldn't wait for the week to be over. When I finally got to the competition, my jumps felt fair, but certainly not my best. Because my score wouldn't count, the organizers decided not to announce my results. I left the hill feeling not much better than I had all week.

That evening, our coach came up to where I was sitting in the restaurant and said, "Congratulations." It was obvious from my puzzled look that I had no idea what he was talking about, so he added, "Your score would have been good enough for third place."

In that moment, everything changed. I was no longer that lost, out-of-place girl, I was an athlete who had the potential to win a World Cup. I'd been unsure of myself, but then found out I could have been third, and realized I might have what it takes to win. Suddenly I belonged.

Don't let the awkward, uncomfortable, or uncertain moments defeat you. It may take a few days, weeks, or even months to fully recognize, but with time you'll see that you carry your own unique talents or thoughts to the "party." Show 'em why you belong too.

Motivational Weight Management Tip

I've had the great honor of working with some of the Biggest Loser contestants and it has inspired me to leave motivational diet, health, and wellness tips at the end of all of my blogs. These tools have been driven from actual advice I've shared. This week's tip: It's easy to feel defeated by negative people when you are working on your diet or exercise regimen. Don't let someone else control your destiny. Remember a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." You are the better person for working on improving yourself rather than trying to tear someone else down.