Updated: Sep 17, 2021
If you were to come up with a meaning of GRIT in your life, what would it say? I know for me it is the ability to keep showing up in my life even on a tough day. Ya know the day you want to crawl back in bed...we all have them. You might even ask yourself where does one even begin to embrace their GRIT? As a kid I learned to connect to my Faith and belief in God to help me keep moving forward, knowing that God had and still does have a plan for my life.
Then as I grew up I connected to the things that I was able to keep getting better at.
(Basically anything competitive!)
Growing up my in my broken household, it was a negative sharp place to grow up in Come to find out there are a lot of people my age that were raised in the same cycle of abuse...generational brokenness (if you want to give it a word). Physical, mental and emotional abuse from one parent, parenting the only way they knew how too (hence generational brokenness). The brokenness was something I learned to count on daily BUT I also learned that I could count on God through my Faith! So much unfortunately I had to learn to walk on glass at a young age and I wasn't allowed to fail in my own house. When it was go time on the field, on the court or even the rodeo arena I showed up! I protected my time in my events, this was my happy place, my safe space. I was a competitor (still am) and I had to learn at a young age how to embrace my GRIT before GRIT was even defined, let alone, "trending."
As an adult much later, I read a book that is specifically ALL ABOUT GRIT. You very well may have read it too or even heard of it. The first time I read "GRIT" by Angela Duckworth I had an endless amount of "ah-ha" moments, almost like I was a part of her years of study that lead up to such an amazing book on the study of GRIT!
>>SIDE NOTE thank you Angela if by chance this blog ever crosses your path! By dedicating yourself to your work, to you passion to connecting to your own GRIT you helped others understand their origin story of how the gained theirs!
With that knowledge it opened up a space in my mind and in my heart (grace space) to where I started understanding myself even more. As athletes that's what actually makes us BETTER is understanding ones self, what makes us tick but most IMPORTANTLY how we decide to keep showing up! It is in those moments where we find un-hatched strength and push within our passion to keep moving forward.
So athletes quick question: On your worst day to date, how did you show up?
How did you lean into the opportunity to press on in order to connect to your GRIT, even if it was a 20% level out of 100% and yet you just kept going?
Lets take a mental field trip to one of my most recent "bad days."
True story, I had a day where the morning was a mess. Already having to move things around from one vehicle to another in order to accommodate water bottles getting filled, getting 1 of my 3 kids to school, only to drop one off just to check the other one out because he wasn't feeling 100. After that I went to fill the water and wouldn't ya know it the water place is closed until 10am. From there I just sucked it up and went and bought water from a grocery store loaded up and left and literally as I was on my last street a beautiful frantic and scared grey (what looked like) a pretty Pitbull mix was running loose on such a busy street. With everything in me I quickly reacted and pulled to the right of the 5 lane road/street (one being a turning lane) in order to give everyone space to react and pull over and/or stop and the dog juked left and cut right in front of me.
The sound...the sound of hitting a dog is something I can't unhear. The feeling of hitting the dog is something I can't un-feel. I pulled to the curb pushed my hazard lights on, put the vehicle in park and broke down so hard, I was crying so hard. I hit and possibly killed a dog; One of my favorite animals. All I kept thinking was that was someone's dog and I did that. What felt like 30 minutes was more like 2-3minutes of me in shock, I hear my middle son say "Mom, mom people are driving and they aren't seeing you stopped here even with your hazards." He was worried we would be hit. I was stuck in the processing state of my brain as to what just happened. I cried more and screamed, "I have no one to call, what do I do?" "What if the dog is still alive?" ((We just moved to a new city and I don't have people that I can call that live close to me.)) I quickly remembered my oldest doesn't start class until 10:40am. I called him bawling so hard and finally when I could talk and listen to him he said, "Mom you have got to pull to a parking lot." By the grace of God I made it to one. He came to where I was, asked exactly where this happened so he could go get the dog and get it to the vet but the dog as already gone.
As soon as I could, I called the local Animal Control and left a detailed message, yes lots of tears too. They called back quickly to tell me the dog had already been picked up or ran off prior to them getting there. A sense of relief came over me but I still felt sad that I could have killed that dog and that dog belonged to someone.
Well on this particular day I had several appointments. One with a parent of a potential pitching client, a personal trainer about clinics for my athletes and one with my Branding Coach. Before I did all that I had to take my vehicle to get an estimate on the plastic parts that were damaged from the dog incident. *Being an adult it rough ya'll no joke.
I pushed myself to dig in and keep moving forward...GRIT
WHY? Its simple, I am passionate about what I do. I love coaching one on one and have done so for 23 years and counting along with coaching teams at the Little League, Rec ball, HS, Travel Ball and now College Level. My business is making pitchers/athletes better each day not just on the mound but off the mound. Its my jam!
I showed up for my meeting with my Coach, yes I cried ugly tears. I showed up for the meeting with the personal trainer and I showed up for the parent who wanted to discuss how I was going to support his daughter in her pitching journey. Then went on to coaching one on one lessons that afternoon. I simply did it because showing up is something I have done since I as a little girl, especially when it came to something I was passionate about! That's the Jesus in me!
So Athletes, how do you connect to your GRIT daily?
This is a process to building your true place of resilience and being present. See even when I know I can only show up 75% I will show up 100 of my 75% I just let others know around me, this is an example of being self aware.
*If you want to learn more about the theory of showing up in the moment of what you are capable of doing so, (google her name, Sue Enquist) be sure to listen to and read material by former UCLA colligate athlete and former UCLA softball coach, Softball Hall of fammer and now Speaker, Sue Enquist.
After hearing her explanation of showing up the best you can she put words into exactly what I had been feeling since I was a little girl. Truth is there is no showing up 100%, 100% of the time, its just not possible. What is, is showing up 100% of what you can at that time, in that moment and being present. ((THANKS SUE!)) She is a brilliant person! IE: A question I like to ask my athletes my teams and yes even the Coaches I coach with is where are you at percentage wise out of 100%? If they say 75% then I say give me, give your team
A good example of connecting to your GRIT daily is showing up in practice (self or team practice) the same way you want to show up in a game. Also creating certain things you do in your morning routine as well as night routine. This sets the tone!
In closing I want to encourage you to get creative on how YOU can connect to your GRIT daily so that when you have a day like I shared with you above...well you will be able to push through it and not get stuck in fear and pain but SIMPLY find your GRIT and keep moving forward.
It's in your passion, your why and your burn as to why you choose to show up because you LOVE playing the sport you play.
Have a blessed day! -Coach Kally V.