My heart is full of gratitude for the opportunity to speak at Mindful Mornings and for every human heart beat that was present to hear my story. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say; sometimes, it’s hard to know what story to tell; sometimes, it’s hard to find the words.
When I was asked to speak about grit, I found myself in a blurry place. My first impulsive thought went to my own personal grit: the gumption, the animalistic parts of me that push through to get a job done or get over a hurt. The grit that stood by me when I opened my businesses, launched my community projects, performed on stages. The grit that still stands by me when required to have tough conversations, taking the phone call I don’t want to take, paying the obnoxious, unexpected bill. I am familiar with this grit.
But sailing 6,000+ nautical miles to 11 different countries delivered me to a new understanding of grit. Why? Because sailing was never my dream. Before I met my previous life partner, I had never sailed a day in my life. On our first date, he told me, “I want to sail around the world!” I nodded and shrugged it off. But he was serious and I was left with a decision to make: Should I stay or should I go now?
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the question was really: Can you manifest grit grand enough and then give it to your partner?
During the months of sorting through my thoughts, feelings and fears, many people, facts, doubts surfaced to tell me their opinions. And there were many.
“You’re committing career suicide!”
“Why did you even go to graduate school?”
“You don’t know how to sail! That is just stupid, just dangerous!”
Their words were influential to me, and like pulling a blanket over your head after a long day of work, I tucked myself away. It was inside of that safety fort, alone, that I made my decision: I was going. I could do this.
I went. I woke up every day prepared to be present and gritty to make this sailing dream happen. Many people told me I put my life on hold. Many people worried about me losing myself in it all. I pressed on.
We achieved a lot. We changed as people. And then it ended.
My inclination toward romantic endings made it difficult for me to pack my belongings, stuff them into a rental car and drive away from him, from our boat, from the life we had shared. But I needed to do it for me, for him, for us. I wanted him to be happier, and he wanted the same for me.
It wasn’t until months later that I realized I now had a new understanding of grit. Now, I knew a grit that was selfless, potent, present. As my dear friend said, I learned how to hold the line: a state of being that remains steady and non-reactive; only consistent, alert, prepared, focused and backed with intense love. The kind of grit that kept me standing tall on the sailboat during scary times. The kind of grit that helped me massage my mother’s feet that had long fallen numb from chemo treatments.
I have three points about grit.
- My definition of grit is having passion and perseverance for a long-term goal steeped in a growth mindset.
- You don’t lose yourself by providing or loaning your grit to someone else. Grit isn’t of a limited quantity; it grows more (for them, for you) the more you use it.
- Guard your grit from the naysayers, manipulators, fear bringers, and abusers. Use and trust your discernment and then be all in!
Why? Because when has loving someone or something ever been a waste of time? When has love been the wrong thing to do? Love is never the wrong thing to do, even when the ending isn’t what you expected.
Find your grit and don’t be afraid to give it to someone else. You don’t lose you, you grow more into you.