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Paige Tonz: becoming A Mentor

I want to share with you why I became a mentor for girl athletes on how to build confidence and work on the mental part of their game and life.

I played softball for a really long time. Like 20 years. Along with some volleyball, basketball, roller hockey, and good ol' fashioned P.E. dodgeball. My family lived and breathed sports, probably just like many of you.

I started playing because it was fun. Because I craved the competition. Because I loved the challenge. But... it ended up being a friggin' crazy rollercoaster of emotions. Ups and downs and ups and downs. I had extremely high expectations for myself. I expected myself to be the best (even if it was ping-pong against my little brothers). At 10 years old, I watched the University of Arizona Wildcats play that other team (Arizona State Sun Devils) and I knew that's where I belonged. My heart was set on playing on the big stage (AKA college). I dreamed of wearing that red and blue uniform with the cursive Arizona written across the chest. Although I didn't end up playing for the Arizona Wildcats, I did play for the Northwestern Wildcats in the Big Ten. As soon as I stepped onto that campus, I had new expectations. I wanted to leave a legacy. I wanted people to remember Paige Tonz. I wanted to shine.

Wait though, here comes the falling-flat-on-your-face-moment. My first 3 years of college... Freshman Sophomore Junior I hit a whopping batting average of .130. If you don't know softball/baseball stats... This sucks. I wanted those things I told you about above so badly that I put this crazy amount of pressure on myself, which made me play like this... I was afraid to make mistakes. I doubted my instincts and decisions. When I failed, it turned into more failures (strikeouts). I didn't trust myself. I definitely didn't feel confident. I wondered if I would ever be the player I wanted to be. It was the worst. I cried countless tears. I questioned why I was even playing and what my purpose was. So, senior year was my last chance. I had a HUGE mindset shift. I decided that I was going to only focus on the things I could control. I told myself, "Whatever happens, happens." (AKA I let go of the freakin' results and just played)...

I decided I was going to give it all I had and just have fun. That's when everything changed. I ended up hitting .313 my senior year, doubling my batting average. I tripled the amount of at-bats that I got (more playing time). And I had so much fun playing and being a part of that team.

It was all mental. But, to be honest, it didn’t just magically get better from there.

I graduated college with a degree from Northwestern! I was on cloud 9! Couldn’t stop me. I applied for jobs, thinking my career was going to just take off. It was that simple, right? Nope. I was rejected, told no, that I needed more experience for a lot of the positions I actually wanted and knew that I could do if they just gave me a shot to get in there and learn. I’m a quick learner.

It was a little rocky after graduation. Working an internship that didn’t pay enough to pay for rent in the city of Chicago, so I lived with my great uncle in the suburbs of Chicago making a good hour commute there and an hour back. Then, I got a temporary position doing a job that felt a lot more purposeful. I was subbing for the Community Relations Director at Northwestern while she was on maternity leave. I was now commuting about 2 hours there and 2 hours back, so naturally I bummed it on my friends couch who lived near campus, still a lot. Living out of a bag. But, temporary, was the keyword for that last job. It ended and I had no idea what to do next. I ended up moving home to Arizona after 6 months of struggle.

I was in the college-real-world-limbo. I wasn’t an athlete anymore. I didn’t belong to a team. I didn’t belong to anything really at this point.

Long story short, I worked for a real estate team for a while which opened my eyes to entrepreneurship and then, self-development (AKA working on your mindset and mental growth). I fell in love with that whole self-development thing quickly. I also started to think, well why couldn’t I help girl athletes learn what I didn’t know until my senior year of college and in that limbo phase? So, I decided to mentor girl athletes, to be a role model, a life coach (that's what sports coaches really are) because I knew in my heart and soul that girls that came after me NEEDED to work on their mindset in order to be successful athletes and WOMEN! I am here to help these girls build unshakeable confidence, step into their power, be firm in their own identity, become the best version of themselves, and lay it all out as an athlete and in their lives. I’ve found so much peace, passion, and purpose because I constantly am working on my mental health. I am so grateful it’s such a big part of my life.



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