When it comes to a challenge, a mountain, a hurdle, a roadblock, the Grand Canyon, what do you do? Do you turn around and run or do you face it head on? Or, more specifically, how have you evolved to facing challenges?
I used to be the type of person who would turn around and run from a challenge. If something popped up in my life that would turn it topsy-turvy or would cause a decision that needed to be made, I wouldn't do it. I would mentally curl up in the fetal position and wait for the roadblock to become non existant and then go on with my merry life.
Not the way to live. Whatsoever.
I really don't know what the defining moment for me was when I decided that I would face my challenges head on, make my world topsy-turvy if I had to to face my mountains. I know it happened when I was with my ex-boyfriend. We were together for 6 years and one day I woke up and said to myself 'I am sick of living like this. I deserve to be happy'. And I took the steps to start finding my happiness. It was the biggest decision of my life and such a Grand Canyon to figure out how to get to the other side, but guess what, I didn't fall down, I didn't die, I didn't curl up in the fetal position. I made it to the other side. Happier. Yeah, a little rough around the edges and raw, but I made it. I faced that challenge head on and went with it.
We are faced with challenges every day. Some more so than others. They could be little challenges (like what to wear on those days that *nothing* looks good) or having to make a decision at work that could influence the rest of your career. The only thing that matters is how you hold yourself during that moment. Are you a lion or a lamb? Do you take those steps, jump those hurdles, or do you stay meek and mild and then the world run right over you?
There have been many times in volleyball that I/we had to decide if we were going to be lions or lambs and that can change the entire outcome of the game. The first time we were at Nationals, we came up against this team that were Amazons. Huge. Ginormous. They must have had 2 feet on us, easily. Watching them warm up, I could feel my panic and anxiety rising, trying to think how I was going to set my hitters so that they wouldn't get blocked all the time. And when the game started, I told myself that this was not the time to back down, give up, get frustrated; this was the time to step up and show the world (ie the other team) what we were made of. And we did. We won.
Same thing happened last week at volleyball. We moved up a tier as we were top 2 in the tier we were originally in. And I was scared of this move as we aren't a consistent enough team to stay at the top; we have no cohesiveness as a team (half the time I have no clue what is happening). So moving up a tier, in my mind, we were going to get slaughtered. But guess what - we didn't. We pulled through. Even though most of us had our doubts, we stood tall and strong and showed the other team that although we don't do the fancy hits or the complete coverage that we need, we are still a team of lions and won't back down.
Work has thrown challenges at me, left right and center. I don't mind the 'sink or swim' training method, but in certain situations. Our first day at the jail for our internship, our training consisted of PREA (prison rape elimination act) and what to do if we were held hostage (which I would like to point out that a) they have never had a hostage situation before and b) that means that their whole plan of retrieving the hostages has never actually been implemented). That was our training. So the first day actually walking into a housing unit to go talk to the individuals, you had to be a lion. You couldn't show fear or apprehension or panic. You had to walk in, shoulders back, head high, and look like you had authority and that people had to listen to you (which is totally not me). But being in the jail was not a place to be a lamb. It was sink or swim - were the inmates going to walk all over me or was I going to be authoritative and stand my ground with them. I gained a lot of self confidence working there, and that is one of the most amazing things I got out of working at the jail.
Challenges make us stronger, wiser. Would I be the person today if I never broke up with my ex? Absolutely not. Would I be the person I am today if I never worked in an American jail? Absolutely not. Every challenge I have faced (and took head on) has only made me a better, stronger, more complete person.
Moral of this blog: F*#k It and be a lion, not a lamb, when it comes to challenges. Run with the giants and don't be a troll.