I am naturally talented at many things. Being empathetic, being physically strong, I have a ability to see the big picture, I am good at organizing people...but I am not a naturally gifted fighter. I am not someone who can perfectly mimic a new move after seeing it once. I am not a person who can skip practice and maintain dominance. But I love fighting. More than anything. The peace and calm it brings to my soul and the challenge it brings to me physically and mentally is something that I have not found in any other area of life. So I committed myself to getting good at it. I set lofty goals for myself.
Here are some lessons that I have learned over the years, in pursuit of my goals:
People tell you "believe in yourself" and that "hard work pays off". So off you go in pursuit of your goals. But no one tells you just how hard it will be. No one tells you just how many bumps you will run into and challenges you will face.
They say "knock down seven, get up eight" but no one talks about how broken your soul feels after being knocked over that third time, how much confidence is lost, and just how hard it is to "dig deep" and pull yourself up.
No one talks about the nights when you can't sleep. When you feel crazy and like no one believes in you. When you question why you should believe in yourself.
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work". So your work and work and work - and jealously watch as the talented work far less but see far more success. No one warns you about the anger, frustration, and utter hatred that will build up towards them.
No one talks about the camps where you get destroyed. When you question if you should keep doing the sport. When you really want to blow off the next round and next session....but you dig deep and face the next opponent.
They say "surround yourself with those that support you". But no one talks about the weeks when it feels like partners and coaches aren't on in your corner. How hard it is to convince yourself that it is okay- that you are your own best advocate and that they will regret it when you are successful.
No one warns you that other things in life will get in the way. People you love die, work gets stressful, boyfriends leave you, life gets in the way....and despite all this you have to stay focused. How hard it is to maintain composure despite life's distractions.
No one tells you how hard it is to look loved ones in the eye, when they come to watch you perform, and you fail. There is no way to warn you for the sadness, shame, and disappointment that you have in yourself.
"Use the killer instinct". But no one teaches you how to. How to be fierce, confident, and relentless. If this isn't your natural state, no one tells you how to learn it. No one sends you the videos, books, and articles to train your mind. No one explains this can be learned. Because it's assumed that you naturally have it...or you don't.
People will say "just do it like this, it is easy" - but despite your every effort, it won't click. You will feel stupid. You will want to punch them in the face. You will want to punch your partner in the face when they effortlessly figure it out. You will question your skills and ability. Frustration will overtake you.
You must "work with the best to be the best" but no one prepares you for what it feels like to be tossed like a rag-doll for an entire practice by "the best". No one massages your bruised, beaten body as you cope with the fact that you have to work with "the best" all week and are questioning how you will survive.
"Rest and Recover" after an injury. You worry about how much others have grown as you have been resting. You feel distant from your goals. You get antsy and want to rush back despite the injury. You question returning at all. You worry strength will not return. You fear the injury will re-occur. You will be unmotivated to do PT. You fear your skills will be lost.
They say "early bird gets the worm" but no one tells you how hard it is to turn off that alarm at 4:45am so that you can make your 5:30 appointment. No one tells you how tired you will feel and how much you will want to blow it off. No one warns you for the flood of excuses that will enter your thoughts.
"Do what your opponents aren't willing to do". But no one tells you why others aren't doing it. Just how exhausting and painstaking the effort will be. How many tears will be shed and how much your body will scream to stop.
"Winners never quit".
But they question themselves, their training, and their lifestyle...
EVERYONE has challenging days, practices, weeks, mentalities...
But truly the victorious...the real champions.... despite it all, dig deep and despite all the hardships - they never quit on themselves.
I had lots of reasons to not reach my goals:
No matter what your skill...or your goal...know that is going to be extremely hard to reach your goals. Harder than anyone will ever tell you.
And extremely lonely.
But if you believe in yourself & don't quit despite it all...you will be surprised with what you can accomplish.
You will be amazed what you are capable of.
You are stronger than you know.
Monday morning driving to work is the worst 30 minutes of the week. I am not only haunted by the onslaught of work challenges that I so happily ignored throughout the weekend but I also get hit heavily with guilt for all of the personal “to-do” tasks that I managed to put off over the weekend. By the time my car is parked at the office I am already beyond stressed out. There is no worse feeling (for an over-planner) than not achieving what you set out to do.
I’ve found that a great solution to this constant need for tasks to be completed is by daily planning. Every night before bed I take a look at my personal to-do list and nab 2 that I want to accomplish the next day. I set my alarm early enough to allocate enough time to get both of those tasks done. This way, by the time I leave the house in the morning, once I get to work I have already accomplished something.
This is similar to the army mentality of making your bed every morning. The idea that you should start every day with a task that you have committed to completing. The sense of accomplishment and ability will carry with you throughout the day. If nothing else gets done, at least that was.
Sometimes my daily task will be going to the post office, which is never open prior to work. In that scenario I take a look at my work schedule for the day and complete whatever was planned for mid-day, at home prior to work starting, so that mid-day I can drive to the post office. It sometimes becomes a game of give and take.
Don’t beat yourself up if you missed a to-do. Just focus on one or two a day, make them the priority and slowly you will watch your list become less of a stress-causing-nightmare and more as a list of accomplishments.
It seemed only suiting to awaken to a gray and dreary morning as emptiness and discouragement filled my soul this am. Donald Trump has won the presidency. My heart yearns for a leader who inspires the best out of people and unfortunately our next president does not uphold that trait. My heart saddened for our future generations who during this time of economic and climatic turmoil, we need leaders who encourage our love and support for one another, the environment, and our future.
Many will disagree. This was proven via the polls last night. And congrats to them. But for me personally my disillusionment for this entire election cycle has been brought about due to the lack of any candidate that I truly and completely look up to. Neither filled that definition for me, but with Trump winning the hatred and disparity that he represents seems to be what is glaringly painful to accept.
After hours of quiet, heartbreaking solitude I was finally led to something positive.
I am done waiting for these leaders to break the cycle. To improve the broken systemic flaws that are impacting everyone daily. I have been feeling this way for sometime but this morning something that was holding me back, broke. I finally gained courage and felt empowered to do something.
I emailed a list of people who run groups that I believe are impacting the world in a good way- I thanked them. I asked how I could help.
I looked into some volunteer opportunities with non-profits that are at the ground floor making an impact. I took a serious look at the list of places I am applying for full time work and narrowed the list to things that my heart knows is for good.
The Bernie Sanders movement showcased the strength and empowerment that can come from individuals taking a stand for things they believe in. Why should that stop during election cycles? Why do that only apply to getting someone in office? What if everyone took a few hours from their week and donated time, energy, their work, their resources, their signatures, or their voice to a cause that they felt would actually better the world from a grassroots perspective? What might happen if everyone who complains about the state of issues made baby steps towards remedying the issues we say we are so concerned about?
For me personally this boils down to how can I aid the environment? How can I positively impact climate change? How can I do this on a community level, not just a personal household level? How can I support the education system nearby? How can I aid with the impoverished and homeless in my area? What can I do to support issues like Standing Rock? Where can I best impact NAACP and racial disparity issues? How can I help get healthy food in the hands of the poor? How can I aid with the lack of nutritional education that is so painstakingly missing and is leading to so much pain and disease in so many? Who can I correct when they say something hateful or bigoted - in hopes of improving our division as humans?
I am done feeling like a lost sheep looking for a shepard. It is time to truly embrace what grassroots mean and start building the world I want to live in. Waiting for someone else to do it will continue to drain my naive and hopeful heart.
So on this gloomy, leaderless, hope crushing day...I am trying to find a leader in myself.
Maybe I can become what I so desperately want to see leading others.
Maybe I can even inspire a few others to join in.
Here is my Apology letter...
I meant to be more diligent about posting tales of my travels but as some visits were quicker than others and training schedules intensified, finding adequate time to blog often fell to the wayside. So I AM SORRY for not diligently updating!
But Fear NOT!
I have tons of photos, notes, and a long list of "to blog later ideas" based on my experiences and adventures. So please look forward to me sharing details about Italy, Finland, Norway, and the UK in the coming weeks...and for tales and lessons from this experience to continue to leak out throughout the year.
I appreciate the support, interest, and love. Most recently I appreciate the patience!
yours in adventure
Reality crashes down hard on you when you know that you are returning home from an around the world adventure- jobless and have become a thirty-something that will be living in your parents basement. The planner in me basks at the idea of another high paying corporate Project Management gig, so that I can max out my savings and can feel comfortable about future investments and expenditures. But the person that I grew to love during my six month excursion, REALLY hates that idea.
So what's next?
One of the best things about seeing the world is meeting people with a vast variety of backgrounds, expertise, experiences, and passions. I stayed with a poet, soldier, translator, pianist, restaurant owner, roofer, teacher, waiter, farmer, coach, journalist,....hippies, black guys, white guys, asians, middle easterners, brazilians, spanish, italians, norwegians, finnish, japanese....and there was ONE COMMON THREAD that stuck with me.
Many people who rent out their homes via Air BnB are not the richest in the world. But many are truly and deeply happy because they are following their passions in life.
The best example of this was the couple in Japan who live a shoestring lifestyle. The husband paints to live music on weekends and the wife starts each morning with yoga. Every day they spend 12-14 hours out of the house pouring their heart and soul into the art school that they opened, where they do awesome things with kids (like put on native drumming music, cover the furniture in tarps and have the kids climb underneath creating 'cave drawings'). They were some of the happiest people I have ever met. Each day their eyes were filled with excitement to inspire and share their love of movement, music, art, and self expression with a younger generation.
On the other end of the spectrum was a work-a-holic so focused on saving up that he put his passion for stand up comedy on hold. The more we got to know him, the easier it was to spot his deep sadness day in and out as he trudged from job to job, doing things he hated, working with people he loathed. But at night as he told us jokes or showed us video of his old stand-up comedy gigs, he lit up. That is when his beautiful soul emerged.
So here is whats next for me... things that light me up. Things that fill my heart with happiness. Experiences, jobs, and endeavors that allow my passions to shine.
I may not be as well off as I once could have been, but I will be happy, and that is how life should be lived. Happily.
So that's my new goal for me. Not to let this passion driven adventure end today.
Call me a hippie. Call me a dreamer. I am calling it LIVING.
So whether it be telling jokes, doing a martial art, slaying motherhood, performing artist shows, writing plays, traveling the world, reading, gardening,....ensure you are making room for that which you are passionate about. Maybe you can't afford to do this full time- but YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO NOT MAKE TIME FOR BEING TRUE TO YOU. Make sure you are filling your heart with the things that make you shine and make sure you are sharing that love and glow with others. Because if you aren't, then you are missing out on really living. You are missing out on truly connecting with others. You are missing out on whats so magical about us as humans. Our ability to light up. To inspire one another. Our ability to fill our souls with things that ignite greatness in us.
I return tomorrow, excited for all the wonderful places that my passions are leading me.
I urge you to wake up tomorrow, with the exact same goal.
Believer that everyone is special.