I anticipate that everyone who reads this has had that experience where you just want to give up!! You are so tired of trying that you turn away in complete frustration and say “Forget it, I’m done!! I give up!!” As young children learning to walk, it is a good thing we had not yet learned how to “give up” for the world would look pretty silly with all of us crawling around. I think back on all my time around babies and children, I was the eldest of four, worked at a daycare my second year of college and then had my own children. I love the tenacity and determination of a child. When they want something they don’t give up, they just keep going for it. It doesn’t matter how often they fall down, they are going to walk, climb the hill, get up on the chair, get to the top shelf in the fridge, if you have been around children, you know what I am talking about. As we grow up and learn to “give up”, especially if we think we look silly trying, there are many things that get missed out on and some things we never attempt. How sad is that?
The gym is definitely one of those places where “giving up” is witnessed over and over again. Years ago I used to teach weight training to women at the YMCA in Michigan. I loved teaching this class, for it was powerful to watch the transformation of those who did not give up. I was even more of a gym junkie back then, two hours a day, five to six days of the week. It does get addictive when you have watched your own body transform, I had lost forty five pounds, was at 12% body fat, lean, mean and muscular. I did not give up! I felt silly when I started out with my little two pound weights. I kept with it, documenting all I ate, what I did everyday for exercise and kept a journal about how I was feeling. It became a part of my life, a lifestyle.
Life is full of challenges. It throws us unexpected experiences that can bring us to our knees. The road is not always smooth, a pothole inevitably appears without notice. It’s what we do in those moments and times that impacts who we become. Do we see those times as we have failed, we did something wrong, the world is against us, or can we view them as opportunities to rise and become even more?
I look in my rearview mirror and wonder, when did I learn that “giving up” was even an option? Granted there are times where another course of action, may be the wise decision. Is that giving up, or assessing to make a better choice? When I was learning to cross country ski at nine, I remember anxiously taking my skis outside to this tiny hill on the trail, I fell down over and over and over again. It was so funny. I was determined to learn, to get it, to ski the trails with grace and ease. At fifteen in a local race I came in third out of all the women that day and won gold for my class – I didn’t give up. In my twenties learning to downhill ski, I know I took more snow off the mountain that first day, than I left. I looked like the abominable snowwoman!! In sports and activities like this we know it takes practice, that giving up will get us no where. The same kind of determination, commitment, patience, and perseverance is required to be a great artist, a phenomenal actor, a successful singer, an amazing mom or dad, etc… it does not happen over night. The biggest gifts often come from the journey, not the end result.
So the big question I have today is why do so many people give up on their dreams? Why do we give up on relationships? Why do we tend to give up, if the going gets tough? I am guilty of this in many aspects of my life. I start to write the book and then let self judgment enter the space and give up. I walk away from the relationship because it is just not going the way I want it to, or we can’t seem to get along. It took me twenty eight years to get my bachelors degree, finally at forty-six I graduated with over two hundred credits on my transcript, for I kept going back. Of course there are times in life where it is wise to assess, is this path or behavior serving me, do I need to change my plan, adjust my goal? Is this giving up or re-evaluating as we learn and grow. There are relationships that serve for a time and then they leave our life’s, gifts along the path. There are stepping stone jobs that get us to the next place in our life. I believe we all know the feeling inside when we choose to “give up” versus make a change in plans. In my personal experience, the things I give up on that I know I want to achieve, create, and or experience, come back around with a vengeance, to knock on my door. They quietly whisper in my ear, “Hey you, remember me, I’m still waiting to be manifested.”
Patience, persistence, perseverance, faith and grace can become powerful ways of being when we are pursuing a dream; the vision for what we want in life. It’s not always easy, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Lincoln, Edison, Amelia Earhart, etc…, they role modeled the power of don’t “give up”!! I take this spark of wisdom with me today as I trek off to the gym, work on my workshops, book and website. For me personally, I look to my favorite authors, workshop facilitators and speakers, what do I need to do, learn, practice, and make happen to succeed? They are my inspiration, proof that it is possible.
Who can you look to for your inspiration to not give up? Don’t get down the road to look in your rearview mirror and wonder, hmmm… why did I stop trying. Each day is a new opportunity to get up and choose. May you A.C.T. (always choose truth) towards your dreams, desires and passions today!