CrossFit- It’s what I do, not who I am.

The moment is finally here, the day I have been dreaming of for years is right around the corner. Tomorrow morning Team CDR and I check in for the 2016 CrossFit Games in Carson California for our chance to compete with the world’s most elite athletes. The past few days have  played out in slow motion. Every time I thought about how close the Games were, I got butterflies in my stomach as my mind filled with nervous excitement.

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Friday was my last day at work and I got the chance to sit down with my Marines as we discussed our new Battalion Commander’s command philosophy, leadership priorities and pet peeves.  I asked every single one of them, as a leader, what their 3 most important qualities are, what did they expect from those that they lead?  As each one of them openly discussed their priorities in length and explained why those traits were so important to them, I realized how incredible these Marines were.  To see development and critical thinking progression in those that you lead over time, is one of the most rewarding feelings.  Collectively among the group the most common traits were, integrity, accountability, perseverance, endurance, attitude, professionalism, and fortitude.  The Marines all agreed that in order to lead others you must be able to lead yourself and that no one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. I thanked them for their amazing efforts and being the true success of our section, for their commitment to their country and for allowing me to fight for my dreams while being an active duty Marine. I thanked them for motivating me, and for being one of the best parts of my journey.

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Moments before speaking with my Marines I had the chance to sit down with my Battalion Commander for an initial counseling. Throughout the discussion we spoke about my past, and discussed my future plans. I told him of my plans to transition out of the Marine Corps in 2017 with the intent of becoming a full time athlete to individually qualify for the CrossFit Games. I expected to hear him tell me to stay, to invest in a career in the Marine Corps vs following my heart, but I heard quite the opposite.  His words were encouraging and his validation to stay true to myself in any decision I would make, was uplifting and showed genuine care for my well being. Walking away, I felt encouraged and obligated to continue to aggressively lead my Marines with the same concern for their goals and dreams. My point is, that the smallest amount of genuine care from a well respected individual can go so far. It’s moments like these that will stay with me forever, and that have raised my standard of leadership.

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Recently in Life Group we were asked the following 3 questions when pertaining to finding our passion in life;

  1. What excites you?
    • My Answer: Leadership, physical and mental challenges, competing, and coaching is what lights my soul on fire!
  2.  What Burdens you?
    • My Answer: Individuals with a lack of passion, a low quality of life, low self esteem, and promiscuous girls/women due to what they believe is expected of a woman from society.
  3. What have you heard?
    • My Answer: I have heard that I am capable of positively influencing others through my actions and setting an example of exemplary character.

So how does this all tie into the fact that I am about to kick off the CrossFit Games? Because CrossFit is something that I do, it’s not who I am.  When speaking to a a previous senior leader about my decision to leave the Marine Corps to pursue being a full time athlete, he mentioned that I was treading a thin line of allowing CrossFit to become my identity. He questioned if CrossFit was worth taking on vs the identity of being a Marine? The fact of the matter is that being a Marine is also what I do, not who I am.

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As I anxiously wait for check in tomorrow, I sit here reflecting on all that the Marine Corps and those in my life have done for me to help mold me into the individual that I am today. This weekend I will continue to be aware of the fact that how I carry myself represents more than just me, it represents my faith in God, my Marines, my family, and those who have invested in me along the way.  I will challenge myself to be a good leader, and a good follower at the same time. I will soak in every single moment, the good and the bad. I will believe in my teammates and their capabilities. I will never give up, and I will be thankful to be surrounded my such amazing people.  I will remember that the memories you create are all about those you are with and how you allow your mind to perceive each moment. I will remember the loss of my Grandmother in the recent past, and how it knocked us down, but we didn’t stay there. I will remember her strength and know that she is watching over us.

Here’s to the week of a lifetime, a week that 7 years of hard work, perseverance, love, passion, commitment, and faith have led us to.

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