I named my Spotify playlist "The Grind." I didn't think too much about it when I named it, but tonight it seems an appropriate topic. I imagine a few of my closest friends are dedicated readers of my blog, and to you I applaud you for your patience and thank you for sticking it out (even through a three-month hiatus).
This blog started as a way for me to ensure I was keeping myself accountable. I wanted to keep myself accountable for every workout, every meal prep, and every step in the direction of competing as a strength athlete. That need for accountability was rooted in fear. I was afraid that if I didn't have a way to prove to the world that I wasn't quitting that I wouldn't allow myself to quietly find an excuse to stop training when things got hard. I hate quitting. I hate quitting with a deep, fiery passion. I hate it so much because I was confronted with the fact that as an adolescent, I had a tendency to quit things when they didn't quite work out in my favor. When I was confronted with that fact, I felt disgusted. In fact, as I'm writing this, I'm making myself nauseous thinking about how easily I gave up on more than a couple passions. So, like any passionate youth, I dramatically vowed I would never quit on anything worth doing.
I think part of that DON'T QUIT mantra is what got me through my PhD program. When I talk to other PhD grads, we all tend to gravitate to stories of THE GRIND: the countless hours combing through study after study to someday reach saturation and miraculously climb out of the seemingly endless sea of research. I won't lie, it was rough, and there were certainly some periods of time where I questioned the level of crazy I had reached to want to complete a PhD. It is no different for athletes.
I think about the five years in my doctoral program often, especially when I'm lifting. It helps for me to focus on something difficult I've accomplished as I work toward new goals. I have to admit that I think about my time in the military as well, and for the same reason. So, what's my point? My point is that everyone has accomplished something difficult in their life. It's important for people to be reminded of that fact, and to use those accomplishments as fuel to reach their current goals, no matter how difficult or lofty. What is even more important is to be reminded of THE GRIND. THE GRIND is made up of those times when things seemed too difficult, too insurmountable to continue. They may appear to be blockades to success, but they are when the most growth occurs. It's how to respond to THE GRIND that shapes your future success. I know how trite it all sounds. However, there's a reason why what I am writing isn't original. Originality is your personal journey. The birth of success from adversity is not. We all have more in common than most realize. It's important to understand our similarities as we grow and mature in our personal journeys. This is how we find our tribes and work through THE GRIND.
I am incredibly grateful for my tribe. The 2022 season has been a long road of lessons learned with a few PRs mixed in the bag. I wouldn't trade any of it for the world, but it has been a challenge. My wishes and thoughts for my readers: DON'T QUIT! Face down THE GRIND! Embrace your personal void [that place that frightens but pushes you forward] and make success yours.
Happy Samhain Eve everyone! Strength and honor to you all as the days become darker and we find ourselves in a blanket of winter.