And Yet, We Rise.

blackbelt testIt wasn’t your ordinary, ho hum black belt test, where we ooooh and aaaaw at the physical feats performed by the candidates. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty to whoa and awe about. The reason that I decided to write a post that turned into my first blog post since my own black belt test was because of something else. Something that applies to us all.

Sometimes,  we get fooled into thinking that the light on the hill, the trophy at the end of the race, and the prize that we will win is what matters most. What we come to find, and for me, time and time again, is that it isn’t the reward that matters most – it is who we become during the struggle that is the ultimate gift or reason of any goal we set out to achieve. It is in the ‘becoming’ that the magic happens. So I want to ask you, “Who do you have to be to make a big goal – a life changing goal – come true?”

On that Wednesday night, our candidates had a lot to prove. The pretest had a lot of them struggling, and this Black Belt Test was a redemption, of sorts. They had to become a team – they did. They had to show that spirit that lives in every great athlete  – they did. They had to stare fear down, and do it anyway – they stared back as if to say “Bring it.” Our candidates had to demonstrate the entire TKD curriculum to their belt level – they responded with, “What else do you want?” They had to endure a workout that would put even the Ninja Warriors to shame – and they found the determination – the grit – to rise. And RISE they did. They rose as First and Fourth Dan Black Belts. They rose as individuals who crossed the threshold from Wanting to Being. They broke through that threshold of maybe and became I AM —  And no one can ever take that away from them. So I am curious. What have you accomplished in your life that touches your heart so deeply that you raise your head up and say, “I did that?!”

This year has been full of firsts for me. As a First Dan Black Belt, I was privileged to teach our after- school program at three Elementary schools. I gave a twenty minute talk about what I have learned from my own Black Belt Journey on an Iinspire telecast. I gave my first lecture to over 120 sixth graders on success skills. ( By the way, my rating was a 10,000 on a scale from 1 to 10. You gotta love the kids!!)  I witnessed one daughter become an amazing teacher. I went to my first Tony Robbins conference, and then went back to another conference as a Coach for their Foundation. I saw my younger daughter win 3rd Place in Forms at AAU TKD Nationals, and got to enjoy my husband having his first surf vacation EVER. I raised money for a charity that I love, and I saw my daughter give away her art to elderly residents of an assisted living facility – with a smile that I will always remember.

Indeed, it has been an amazing year of firsts for me. But all of those firsts happened, and will continue to happen because of one decision. I decided to go after a dream I had since I was seven years old. I waited 45 years to commit to BECOMING a martial artist. When I had that belt tied around my waist, the thought that kept running through my mind was, “How do I keep this going? This is amazing, how do I keep it going?”

When you ask the right questions, you get the right answers. So I have some questions for you.  1) “What is your black belt? 2)What is the thing that you have been wanting to try, but for whatever reason you haven’t?” The next question comes from a book that I am reading by Gary Keller entitled,  The One Thing. In it he asks this question, 3) “What can I do today, such that by doing it, it will make everything else easier or unnecessary?” Now that you have your answers, it is your turn to start rising. Take one action toward that thing. Do it for the person who is waiting in the wings for you to show up: You.

Until next time,

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