Kerri Walsh Jennings: Team effort

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Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor won three straight Olympic gold medals in beach volleyball (2004, 2008, 2012).

I'm a creature of habit. In many ways, my life is like "Groundhog Day," which sounds slightly boring. But since I'm a busy mommy and athlete, I find it comforting. My daily routine allows me to take good care of my wonderful family and myself. I appreciate consistency as much as my kids!

Here's a typical day in my life so you can see what I mean:

Morning

I believe in getting a great start each day. If the day starts well, it will likely trend that way.

I feed Scout her early-morning bottle between 3:45 a.m. and 5 a.m. Then I go back to bed until the boys wake us up around 6:30 a.m. I always use my Skin Authority skin care regimen. The goal is to protect, prevent and reverse damage caused by life. I also apply sunscreen everywhere.

Next, it's breakfast for the kiddies and me. Our rotation includes:

--Oatmeal with a scoop of raw almond butter and agave.
--Toasted whole wheat waffles with raw almond butter and sliced bananas.
--A protein shake (2 oz. spring water, one scoop NanoPro and NanoGreens by BioPharma and 1-2 cups of berries. (Lately, I've also been adding bee pollen, spirulina and chia seeds.)

After everyone's teeth are brushed, I grab my bag (packed the evening before) and double check it for my essentials, like sunscreen, water bottle, protein bar, bikini set, sarong, my Oakley sunglasses and gym clothes. Then it's time to take the boys' backpacks (also packed the night before) with their lunches and swim gear and get them to school by 8:30 a.m. Scout stays home with our wonderful sitter, Lili. During the ride to school, the boys and I either rock out to some fun music or hunt for dinosaurs. I give the kids big kisses and hugs before I take off to work.

Afternoon

It's workout time: Pilates, fast-twitch activities, volleyball practice, the gym, Neurotopia, physical therapy, media interviews and AVP Tour promotions. These are all things I have to get done by 2:30 p.m. There's no way I would survive the sprint each day without a good start to my morning and an amazing partner. Great partnerships are built on respect, shared goals and communication. I've been blessed to have the most amazing partnerships in my life. I've learned a fair share from my wonderful career with Misty May-Treanor. I've also learned so much from my marriage to my love, Casey Jennings.

To excel at my sport, you must have a ton of initiative, motivation, discipline and self-sufficiency. I love that beach volleyball holds me accountable for my efforts. On the flip side (another reason why I love it!) you must work well with a partner.

Here are four elements that are essential to a successful partnership:

1. Respect: Appreciate each other's differences, point of views, feelings, etc.

2. Common goals: Know where you want to go in your life and in your partnership -- it's vital to be on the same page and set big-picture goals, as well as smaller "stepping stone" goals.

3. Honest communication: It is tough in sports because we are taught not to be weak. People tend to equate vulnerability with weakness, but the ability to lean on a partner is a sign of strength, confidence and trust. It's a beautiful thing to ask for what you need -- on and off the court.

4. Celebrate the victories: Don't get caught up in the result at the expense of the journey. Misty and I made a conscious effort to cherish our time together and be empowered by every little victory. We smiled often, loved our jobs and acknowledged our growth. Ultimately, we stayed in the present and played more freely because of it.

I've learned life's most important lessons through sports. I'm honored to have lived 10 years of my life alongside one of the greatest athletes of all time -- in any sport. We fought dragons and inner demons. We took on the world, and we took on each other. We stuck together. And when all was said and done, we had faith in ourselves and in each other to achieve our dreams.

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