The Driven Denita Acker
Denita Acker was bold and driven, she was powerful and intense, she was competitive and an outlier. She was all the things she had to be to excel at her game – field hockey. She was a goalkeeper playing competitively in South Africa and was selected for several national teams. Denita's goal was to compete in the Olympics. To pursue that goal, Denita transferred to a Division 1 field hockey program in the United States.
While Denita was a dedicated and talented player, she struggled at first to adjust to the US culture and program. The new coach had to break down old habits of her play and inculcate a new way of playing. During this process, Denita was benched more than was necessary. After experiencing weeks of rejection after rejection after rejection, Denita started to internalize the rejection. She developed an internal script that said she wasn’t good enough, that she might not get seen, and that she would keep getting benched. To help her cope, she developed a coat of armor. She tried to impress others, she determined her own worth based on what others thought of her. She shifted her locus of control from herself onto others, giving her power away.
Denita then turned her attention to her academics. She focused on her studies and learned how to learn. More importantly, Denita learned that she was good at things other than her sport. Denita ended up pursuing and attaining her MBA. Meanwhile, she stumbled across a book written by a George Washington University alumnus. This book talked about how Frame of Mind Coaching™ changed his life, so Denita reached out.
Denita was matched with FOM Coach Becca Buttermore. In the beginning, Denita was skeptical. She wondered if this coaching was going to be worth her time. She had her guard up, she was resistant and defensive, and she tested Becca. But with patience, Becca disarmed Denita’s walls.
“Becca met me where I was without making me feel small,” says Denita. All Becca wanted was the absolute best for Denita. “Becca really saw me. She knew when to push and when to pause.”
Becca helped Denita reframe her thought patterns. She helped her recognize that she is not her thoughts. Denita was able to stop blaming those around her and step out of victimhood. She became more honest with herself and started to accept herself. Denita stopped trying to convince others of her worth and started to believe in it herself. As she puts it, “others can’t recognize in me what I don’t see in myself.”
After coaching, Denita stopped putting on a show for others. She learned that she didn’t have to be perfect and she didn’t have to pretend. “When you know who you are,” she says, “you don’t have to perform who you are.” When they finally met in person, Denita said that she was surprised at how petite Becca was in real life because she is such a powerful force. “I no longer wear shattered glasses because Becca gave me new lenses.”