Grains of GRIT – How Did I Make It from That Life to Here?

GRIT = Grounding + Resist + Inhale + Trust

I am creative and love making things! 40 years old. I was quite young when I first needed to call upon my GRIT (even though that’s not what I called it then)! I enjoy being outside with nature, and sitting on a huge rock near any form of water is my most happy place!!

One theme I can recall about ‘stuff’ in my life is that, in each situation, a fundamental part of me was being threatened. I come from a family where we were seen as a whole, not as individuals. We were ‘that family’. We were ‘the kids’, ‘the poor kids,’ the ‘dirty kids,’ the ‘stupid kids’ and so on. I was often referred to as many other names by my parents and repeatedly told that my feelings, thoughts, and budding curiosity were wrong, were not needed, and were “not the way this family thinks”.

So, as I got older and started realizing that I was an individual with my own thoughts, feelings, and ultimately, my own destiny, I became so very protective over that destiny!!! I was just a teenager at the time, but every situation in life from that point forward became about strengthening, discovering, empowering, and understanding my ‘me’. Twenty-four years later, that’s how I see it now. Still, back then, it was, “How do I escape from this sticky beast holding me back from the world?” Because I had no practice in the ‘me’ game, I think I sucked at it! I found myself in situation after situation that had me believing that I was not ‘me’ after all. It was so discouraging to feel the constant discord in my heart, to feel that “this is not right” about a situation or relationship but not know how to express that or not know how to resolve the uncomfortable situation.

I discovered that I would ultimately do anything to preserve my new-found ‘me’ which sounds pretty gritty but it wasn’t! At times in my life, this obsession with self-preservation led to mistrusting others, constant quibbling with myself, a complete lack of self-confidence, narrow-mindedness and an inability to see the simplicity in resolving some situations. So, when asked, “How did you make it from that life to here?” my answer is usually “I don’t know!” I can tell you that it was not from lack of trying to quit, to escape and render this life all done multiple times!! But, ultimately, my instinct for self-preservation won out and here I am today!

SHOW – I am a very visual person, and if I could picture myself GRIT-ing my way through life, I am imagining a person similar to a lumberjack, all sweaty from a hard day’s work and wearing plaid like a boss!!! A big person, with eyes wide open and focused on the task, fully committed to the process and proud of his or her accomplishments. However, as I mentioned before, if I were to actually visualize my experiences so far, it’s been more of a close my eyes and likely fall into a hole that appeared out of nowhere and tumble down a series of slides and tunnels until I come landing with a thud, somehow miraculously alive!

I think GRIT is like a seed, a tiny little seed planted in me. Maybe we are all born with it and, out of different experiences, the seed grows and changes along the way. When you’re little and you have this seed, you don’t know what the heck it is, maybe it’s that apple seed you swallowed that one time, maybe not! One thing I feel like I can say with certainty is that this seed has evolved and changed. I know in my heart that what got me through ‘stuff #1’ is not exactly the same as what got me through ‘stuff #2’. I am so curious to see how it has changed and evolved over time. Did all of it change? Did just some parts change? How far away am I from the original GRIT seed that was planted so long ago? Maybe, just maybe, I have a vast GRIT plant inside me, flourishing with amazing GRIT-fruit.

If I’m grounded in the moment, resist the urge to constantly second-guess myself, remind myself to inhale and breathe rather than holding my breath waiting for it all to end and ultimately trust that I’ve got this, then this sounds like my GRIT and I guess I have been growing it all along! I still think part of growing my GRIT will be taking the time to go back and understand my previous GRIT in the moments that ‘stuff’ happened. I have it… others have told me I have it, I have shown it… others have seen it. Ultimately, in the end, I think it only matters if I can find it!

The expedition has started, challenge accepted, the Find My GRIT adventure begins!!!

Excerpts from Know, Grow and Show Your GRIT! Self-Discovery Made Simple (pg. 78-80)

Get to know this GRITizen in the audio version available on March 13th!