“Yeah, ohh yeah, this goes out
to all the families that went through the struggle
Yeah, from the heart
It was from the heart, everything was real”
Go “home” to remember how far you have come. Go “home” to remind yourself that you have meaning and purpose for the direction you are headed.
I always tell athletes that when you toe that line in competition there is not one person that truly knows what your journey was to get to that point. No one knows all the pain, sacrifice, time, money, tears, smiles, joys, and accomplishments. No one knows your story and how far you have come in life and in sport, but you. You are the keeper of that story and only you have the ability to take yourself back there.
Going “home” for me means going back to your roots, your story, your purpose. It is that internal place the holds the story of our lives and reminds us that we have survived and made it through. It fills you with a sense of grounding and taps into your resilience. It reminds you that where you are is right where you should be and you will make it through.
Last week Coach Stu told me, “Gloria, I know you are always looking forward but it’s okay to look in the rearview mirror sometimes to see how far you’ve come!” He was right, but not just in swimming but in life! It’s been a long road of Ironman training these last 20 weeks but going “home” has been a key theme that has helped motivate me along the way.
For those who don’t know, I am originally from Michigan, and all of my family (mom, two older sisters, bro-in-law, nieces, and nephews) live there. Growing up extremely close to my sisters and family all my life, to now being 3,000 miles away from them is hard at times. My family has been the “fuel” my whole life through. I grew up in a single parent home and was the first to go to college, the first to get a doctoral degree, and the first to experience many things, but I know I could not have done it without the love and support of my family.
So during this Ironman journey I have reflected back many a time to tap into sense of home that has fueled me for most of my life. This past weekend my older sister and I were on Facebook going back and fourth posting classic hip-hop songs from our childhood and making comments about memories from “back in the day.” That short series of interactions took me “home.” It reminded me of the good times, but it also reminded me of how far I have come since then. It reminded me that I made it through every hardship, every challenge, every unknown, every mistake, and every transition from that that time to now.
So I encourage you to reflect on what is “home” for you. What takes you back there? How can you acknowledge the ways in which you have contributed to your surviving and thriving in the journey of your life? How can you create that internal space to help you remember how far you have come, and to remind yourself that you will make it through what ever you are facing next.
Go “home” and own that story. Use it as fuel in your next performance knowing that no one else on that line knows about you. No one knows what you are truly capable of over coming. No one needs to know as long as you do. Your individuality is your wildcard…so use it!
*Btw I included a few of my fav hip-hop songs that take me back. If hip-hop/rap is not your thing feel free to skip…it’s all good.
“Just some thoughts for the mind
I take a glimpse into time
watch the blimp read “The World Is Mine”
“And as for the critics, tell me I don’t get it
Everybody can tell you how to do it, they never did it”
-Already Home, Jay-Z