Last week, I was singing along with Katy Perry’s Roar* and with the Olympics coming up, I started really thinking about what gets me going. I’m all for singing “Dancing through the fire. ‘Cause I am the champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar!” at the top of my lungs. Now I’m watching the Olympics (obsessively) and it’s clear that to be an Olympian, that is your life. You eat, breathe, train, strategize, and compete. You break your leg? Get back out there! Your team needs you! You give yourself a concussion? Shake it off! You can still win yourself a medal! These people are passionate. They found their thing and now they’re doing it.
What about the rest of us?
I did mention to Mr. T that maybe I was meant to be an Olympic archer but I’ll never know because I never tried. (I make it a point to avoid things that are physically painful, so most other Olympic events are out.) But let’s be honest. I’m no Olympian. That’s not what gets me fired up (though watching it does).
Most of us will win quiet victories outside of the limelight, but these victories are no less important.
We’re going to do a little exercise together (don’t worry, you can stay in your pajamas). Get a piece of paper, open a new Evernote note, or journal or whatever else you use for documenting things and let’s begin (if you want some inspirational girl-pop to get you going, I’ve got you covered):
- What are you proud of? – Make a list of the top 5-10 things you are most proud of in your whole life. Think outside what people SAY you should be proud of. This is your list. My list includes sewing a Rapunzel dress for my daughter for Halloween 5 years ago. Big deal? Maybe not. But it was hard, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I figured it all out and it turned out awesome. Also, make sure these are things YOU accomplished that are related to YOU. I’m proud of my kids, but they don’t count for this list because while I did birth them (one of those made the list), I did not accomplish who they are.
- Label each accomplishment with a bigger category – By each one, I want you to try to identify a category. For example: “education” would be the category for a degree, “new skill” for sewing a Halloween costume, “physical challenge” for making it to the Olympics in swimming, etc.
- Give each one a hardness rating 1-10 – 10 being the hardest. Giving birth without an epidural and not being emotionally or physically prepared to do so is a 10 on my list!
- Put a date by each one – When was the most recent one? What is the period of time between each one?
- Identify any patterns – Are 8/10 of our accomplishments new skills? physical tasks? Are they all hard? Do you have a pretty consistent period of time between events?
- Plan one new thing you want to see on the list – I’m not a fan of bucket lists, as you know, so don’t be specific. You never know what will end up on this list (I did not foresee natural childbirth OR sewing a Halloween costume!). Stick to categories: new skill in the next year OR breaking your PR in swimming (again, watching the Olympics obsessively over here). The only thing you’re allowed to add that is specific is that one thing that’s been nagging you for YEARS. The one thing you’ve been trying to add to that list, but it’s been eluding you. Write it down.
This exercise was helpful for me. It’s been a good 5 years since one of my all-time proudest moments. Most of mine are newly acquired skills. And what is my Moby Dick? My elephant in the room? My rock of Sisyphus? Learning Cambodian. I am signing up for Cambodian lessons next month for my birthday (treat yo’self with skillz!) and I’m darn excited!
Meanwhile, use the high you get off Olympic coverage and identify those moments that make you Roar!**
What did you learn about what things you’re proud of? What steps will you take to keep that list growing?
*In my defense, my all-time favorite song is the original Eye of the Tiger and when I first heard this one, I considered it blasphemy. But then I recognized it as a super-catchy girl-power original that happens to also say “eye of the tiger.” Now, we’re friends. Also, I’m a teenage girl sometimes… especially when it comes to girl-empowerment-pop!
**I had to say it, sorry.