Looking Outside for Inspo

If you’re anything like me, some days you just can’t motivate yourself. Discipline has got up and left. You need something massively inspiring to get going. My favourite form of inspiration is humans doing impossible shit. Ordinary people like us who one day, just up and decide that they can. They climb their version of the mountain because it’s there, like Hillary (sort of ) said. The ones who dare to smash impossible to pieces. Here are my top three giant slayers:

Number one: James “The Iron Cowboy” Lawrence. James is the world record holder for most half-Iron and full-Iron distances completed in a year. Before 2008, he had never really ran any sort of race. In 2015, he created and completed the 50/50/50 Challenge: 50 Ironman triathlons, done over 50 consecutive days, one in each of the 50 states. That’s a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and a marathon (42.2km), every day for 50 days, while traveling. Physically, I can’t think of anything that would be tougher but mentally? Holy shit. Imagine being 25 races in and knowing you have 25 to go? Damn. It wasn’t all smooth sailing either. Crashes, injuries, inclement weather and other unfortunate events plagued the event. I highly recommend his book about the whole experience, along with the documentary.

Iron Cowboy aiming for 50 Ironman triathlons in 50 days | North Iowa Sports  | globegazette.com

In second place, but not by much: Diana Nyad. In 2013, at age 64 (!), she became the first person to swim from Florida to Cuba without a shark cage. That’s a shark-filled distance of 110 miles over 53 hours. Impressive in it’s own right, but even more inspiring is Diana’s tenacity: It was her fifth attempt. Not many of us would actually try five times to let sharks eat us in the name of achieving a goal. In the ’70’s, she set records for swimming around the island of Manhattan, for swimming from the Bahamas to Florida without a wetsuit (that record still stands today) and more. She’s brave af and what makes her even more courageous is her willingness to discuss what drives her in these pursuits: anger stemming from childhood abuse and her desire to overcome her pain. I highly recommend her TED talk.

Diana Nyad Hd | HD Wallpapers Collection

Lastly, but by no means least: Alex Honnold, who is sort of like Spiderman. He’s a free climber, meaning he scales places like El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park, with no equipment (no ropes, no nuthin’). That’s an ascent of 2900ft, and he did it in less than 4 hours. He’s also scaled places like the Moonlight Butress in Utah’s Zion National Park and the Fitz Roy Traverse in Patagonia. Alex describes his free solo climbs “Like trying to win an Olympic gold medal, but if you don’t win, you die.” There’s a really great documentary on Alex’s attempt at El Capitan called Free Solo. Watch it! He’s known to live in a camper van so he can live near climb sites and set up his own foundation when he was 27 to fund small small social and environmental organizations that demonstrate concrete and sustainable project goals. Did I mention he gives about 30% of his salary to the initiative? Gotta love a guy who takes on the seemingly impossible and does good for the world.

Alex Honnold Describes Why He Free Solo Climbs in His New Book 'Alone on  the Wall' - The Atlantic

So the next time you feel like you need some inspiration, read up on one of these three amazing humans. it’s people like these who personify true grit. Every time I catch myself using bullshit limiting beliefs or wondering if I can Do The Thing, I look outside to get myself hyped up. I say things like “If James Lawrence can do 50 Ironman races in a row, surely I can get my ass on the mats tonight.” We all need a little kick sometimes. Who inspires you?

Train the Quit Out of Yourself

So many times in my life, I have quit. On a hundred different days, in a hundred different ways, I’ve hesitated and held back, or said I would start tomorrow or just plain ol’ not started at all. There have been times where I haven’t given my best. I’m not all that proud of this fact. And I’m willing to bet that, if you’re anything like me, you’ve quit or hesitated or not started too. We all start out with the best of intentions. We all believe we’ll do the things we promise ourselves. So often it’s not even anything big or important, or even noticeable.

You know how it goes. Get excited, have a plan and envision the end goal. Of course you’re going to be a success. Maybe it’s a new habit like waking up early, new lifestyle (more vegetables?), or improving a skill or building a streak. My latest Big Goal was to log a 100 day streak of Portuguese practice on Duolingo. I’m still at zero days (sigh). Whatever it is, it gets off to a great start (assuming it gets started at all). We feel good and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this time it’s gonna stick. Because this time is different. This is the ONE. Until it isn’t. We broke that promise we made with ourselves because we are so used to doing it and now we’re back where we started. It’s almost automatic. The good news is that we can change. We CAN keep those promises to ourselves. How? Start small, very small:

-Make and keep the tiniest little promises to yourself. I’m talking ridiculously tiny. For example, if you are going to have a shower, say to yourself “I am going to have a shower” right before you hop in. Or if you’re about to put some laundry in the wash, say “I am going to do some laundry right now”. Do this for all the mundane things you do in a day. It teaches your brain that when a message is received, the action will follow. This makes a big difference!

-As humans we tend to overestimate we tend to over-estimate what we can do in a day. Instead of trying to tackle three or four tasks in a day (as I have been known to do), focus on just one and make it The One Thing That Gets Done that day. Warning: Your ego won’t like this and will try to convince you to do all the things because the ego believes all the things must be done in a certain way in a certain time frame (usually today). Lies. Do the One Thing, take your time and enjoy it.

-Self-compassion. We’re all so used to society’s current pace of push and grind. Just try harder and you’ll be successful, right? Well, if you’re like me, you’ve been hard on yourself for a long time. But what if you tried doing the opposite and accepted that each day, you had tried your best and that is was enough? A little counterintuitive, but at worst you’ll be in the same place you are now. Best case scenario means you drop shame and frustration and replace it with a bit of self-satisfaction and confidence.

Yes we all quit, in one form or another, frequently. It costs more than we know and holds us back. I’m determined to train the quit out of myself and conquer all the mountains. Lord knows I’ve gathered up enough strategies over the years and it’s time they get put to use. I’ll be sharing as many as I can think of in my upcoming posts. It’s my hope these strategies help you as well but if not,I hope I make you think about what is possible in your life. Comment below or email me and tell me what you think, I want to know. Here’s to Team No Quit and our collective potential!

One of those nights

Tonight was one of those nights. One of those nights where I didn’t really want to go to jiu jitsu, where I could feel more ache and fatigue than motivation. My shoulder was especially cranky. I just wanted to stay home with the blahs.

But I went. Through the warm up, all I could feel was heaviness in my legs and exhaustion everywhere else. During drills, I mostly got it wrong. And when we rolled (sparred)? All I could see was what I was doing wrong. I just to go home and cry in the shower.

But I didn’t. It’s so easy to give in to our dark side, our smallest selves. Even writing this now, I feel like staying in my pity party. I’m learning, though. Learning that not every thought is true and that it’s never as bad as you think. For everything I thought I did wrong, there were probably 5 really good things.

I’m learning too that failure is not only the beginning of success, it’s 100% the most important part. Anything that went wrong tonight is tomorrow’s opportunity to improve. Like Churchill said, “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” It’s in the willingness to keep showing up.

It may not have been my best night, not even close. Some nights are like that, no matter what sport, hobby or lifestyle. I already can’t wait for class tomorrow.

Time to start

Hi! Thanks so much for being here. Welcome to Truth and Grit, a space I have created to chat about truth, grit, jiu jitsu and other adventures in my life. I’m excited to start sharing my writing with everyone, even if it is a little (a lot) nerve-wracking to put it out there for consumption.

I’ll be sharing not only original Truth and Grit posts but also links to the posts I write for Girls in Gis. Girls in Gis is an amazing organization dedicated to furthering women in jiu jitsu. Their motto is Strength in Solidarity, which I whole-heartedly believe in. Their blog features stories by jiu jiteiras of all walks of life, experience, belt level and perspective, including yours truly. You can read my latest for them right here.

That’s all for now. To keep up to date with the latest, please subscribe your email and be sure to follow along on Instagram and Pinterest for more from me. I am always to happy to hear from you, drop me a line in the comments section below or send me an email. Until next time!

Peace, Love, Jiu Jitsu