It’s time I shared something with you.
Behind the scenes these past few years, I’ve walked through some health challenges that would knock any strong woman off the tracks. The radiation and chemotherapy treatments I received at ages 23 and 25 cured my lymphoma but, starting in 2012, these same treatments began to cause a few “late adverse effects” that have disrupted my life in a big way.
I’ve gotten acquainted with cardiologists. I’ve walked through a double mastectomy for a tiny breast cancer last spring, followed by reconstruction surgery a month later. I did the research and asked tough questions. I was a powerful, passionate advocate for myself… even when it was very difficult or uncomfortable to do so.
As my health improved, I did my best to greet the grief that followed each experience — mostly by playing guitar, singing and beginning to learn piano. I dealt with the crazy of my life by focusing on the good: my relationship with the Divine; my daughter, husband, family and friends; my coaching practice and my music. Throughout these experiences, often with the help of friends and the two wonderful women who help me run my business, I managed to mother my nine-year-old daughter, keep progressing with my music, serve coaching clients and keep in touch with you. I’m proud of all that.
There were times though, sometimes weeks, when I felt paralyzed, numb and defeated. I felt as if I’d lost my grit – and let me tell you, a woman without grit is a woman without her passion, her power.
When your world shifts seismically, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to stay upright, isn’t it? After the shaking stops and your nerves begin to settle, you may begin to realize you’re not the woman you once were. (I did.) That hurts. You see yourself diminished. Reactive. Emotionally flat. Defeated. Hardly the woman you most want to be, right?
Get Your Grit Back
The moment we see how far we’ve strayed from our courage, resolve and passion hurts is the moment we can begin to transform. You can get your grit back, if you’ve lost it. Today I’d like to share with you a few habits that helped me.
Tip #1 – Exhale.
Before you can transition to a more happy, proactive state of being, you have to allow the gunk – all of it — to rise to the surface. Then you have to breathe it out, let it go. How? Write your pain. Talk to a friend who can take it. Be as honest as you can. Take long walks or runs if you’re agitated, get out into nature if you can, and dare to speak your truth (no matter how ugly). Do all you can do to exhale: fully, deeply and completely.
Tip #2 – Dig In.
“It’s not what happens to us, it’s what we do with it that counts,” said the silent film actress, Mary Pickford. It may not feel like it, but underneath the shift, change, trauma or memories you’ve experienced is gorgeous you – thrum full of dreams, perspective, power and passion. To get your grit back, you have to dig in and reconnect with yourself. The easiest way to do this is to do things you love. Listen to your favorite music. Read books that feed your soul. Spend time with people who fill you up. Read what you’ve already written. I know it sounds trite but good, old-fashioned Love is a certain, reliable guide back to who you really are.
Tip #3 – Decide to stand tall in that shining place.
Decide, and then decide again until you feel it in your bones, that — starting small and starting today, you will bring your wisdom, compassion and all the grit you can muster to the table today. Will you dare to voice your truth? Claim time and space for the writing that matters most? You can do it! You don’t to be perfect or grand with this. Just begin. Over time, you can practice being visible, claiming your point-of-view, working for good and sharing your experiences in ways that speak straight to the heart of others.
- Choosing to write is an act of grit.
- Saying “no” to people, commitments, and inner b.s. that no longer serve you – all this is grit.
- Daring to be seen and speak your voice is grit.
- Choosing to give yourself the time, support, strategy and structure you need to translate your passion into an effective (and potentially life- or culture-changing) platform? That’s grit.