Often times, either consciously or subconsciously, we don’t give ourselves enough credit. We are so much more capable than we know and it can take certain circumstances to realize that. After dropping everything and everyone I knew to follow a once-in-a-lifetime dream with 14 other strangers from all over the country, there’s so much I’ve learned since around this time last year.
1. The human body is surprisingly durable.
On the first day of my endeavor, it was established as an evening to weed out those who wanted to be there for the right reasons – and who didn’t. As a serious opportunity, each of us needed to exhibit the same seriousness. 5 hours of intense Crossfit later, I never knew the true definition of the phrase “mind over matter” until that very night. Going through that, I realized no matter the task in front of you, if you truly want something bad enough, you can not only achieve it but you can live to fight another day and the day after that.
2. People can be really supportive.
With the events running rampant in today’s news, it can be easy to lose faith in humanity. Upon my arrival, I wasn’t cynical – but weary. I didn’t expect anything from my fellow classmates but I certainly hoped at bare minimum that they’d be civil. After all, we were there for the same opportunity and there was no reason to step on eachother’s toes. 11 weeks later, I can say this group of extraordinary people have celebrated with me in my success and picked me up during my failures. People from Alaska to California to Maryland and everywhere in between. 11 weeks ago, these people were just strangers with the same aspirations. Don’t doubt the kindness of others.
3. Success isn’t exclusive.
Growing up under the poverty line in a rural New Mexico town of barely 250 people, I associated the idea of success with three different kinds of people: the beautiful, the wealthy or the exceptionally talented. In my mind, there was a reason those people were successful and there was a reason people were normal, like me. After all, I was none of those things. It took having this experience to realize that despite that notion, I too am capable of having success. Even if I am only a 4’9″ female of color from a low-income neighborhood, I can make my life what ever I want it to be. The only thing that can get in my way is me.
4. Loyalty is worth more than gold.
Over the course of my life, friendship has never been my forte. I valued quantity over quality and it took a lot of trial and error with people who had ulterior motives, bad intentions and toxic spirits to understand the value of a good friend. In this journey I opted to take, I knew it wouldn’t be easy without a good support system. I couldn’t begin to count the times I’ve called my friends elated in my small successes or momentarily defeated in my temporary setbacks. I appreciated them, not just for their ear, but for them as human beings. I knew these people didn’t relish in my failures nor would they go off and tell anyone who would listen either. If you have a trusted, loyal friend in your life, value them. Because they can push you to be your very best.
5. Taking care of yourself is key.
Sounds obvious enough, right? This goes beyond the minimum. Throughout my entire journey here, an important piece of my sanity has been the moments where I’ve taken time to truly care for myself. Whether it be an evening where I take a bath with my favorite New Mexico candle or indulging in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, taking the time to really appreciate where I am and treat myself. I’m busy nearly 6 days out of the week – so the little thing like that really make me appreciate them that much more. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself.