My Da

A few weeks back, I had the amazing opportunity of attending the 241st Marine Corps Birthday Ball with my hero, my Da (my grandfather.)   He served 33 years in the Marine Corps, with a bio, experiences and stories of a true legend. He is without a doubt one of the greatest Americans I know.

img_5390

As we got ready for the ball we prepped our medals and aligned them according to standards.  We ensured all necessary items were accounted for and laid them out the night prior as all squared away Marines would do.  We placed his mini medals on his tux along with his aerial observer wings,  dive bubble, and jump wings.  We placed his Ranger tab on the right side of his tux.  He said upon graduation of Ranger school, the instructor placed the tab on his cammies.  He walked away and put them into his pocket, and the instructor asked why he removed them?  He said, “we are Marines, we didn’t come for the tab, we came for the training.”  He’d never had the opportunity to wear that tab since earning it, and he took delight in wearing it on his tuxedo.

img_5410

As we walked into the event together, arm in arm, the moment was surreal.  I was walking next to the man whom I had aspired to be like, I was wearing the the Eagle Globe and Anchor that he had earned.  I felt an overwhelming sense of pride and my heart was bursting with joy.   As I write this, my eyes fill with tears as I relive the intense emotions I felt that evening.  He looked at me and said, “My dear, everyone is staring at us.” I said, “why do you say that?”  He said, ” a silver star recipient and the prettiest Marine Officer are walking into this Huntsville ball, everyone is staring at us.”  We laughed together and went on to enjoy one of the most joyful evenings of my life.

img_5409

Since my Nini’s passing I have not been able to spend much time with my Grandfather.  He mentioned that of all the trials and challenges in his life, loosing her was by far the hardest.  I know the sadness he feels in his heart, and I continue to worry for his happiness and health, but while at the ball I saw another side of him.   He was so happy to be surrounded by Marines.  He was young again, he had an extra pep in his step, he stood a little taller and he spoke of Nini to everyone at our table.

img_2060

While watching the young couples dance the night away, I asked my Da, “of all the Marine Corps Balls that you and Nini went to, which one was your favorite?”  He said, “The very first.   She didn’t come from much money, and neither of us had enjoyed an evening like that before.  I enjoyed be able to provide that for her for the first time.”  We both wished she could have been there, but knew that she was looking down over us.

img_0982

On our way out we stopped to get our photo taken.  Which he had traditionally taken with my Grandmother.  These photos are the photos my sister and I constantly looked at as little girls.  As we took the photo, it amazed me how life had come full circle.  How the little girl admiring her grandfather growing up, was now a grown woman and a Marine Officer herself.  The impact that my Grandparent’s actions have had on my life are indescribable.  I can only hope to be half the Grandparents that they were to me.  I strive to someday be standing next to my Grandchildren feeling the same sense of joy, pride and happiness as he.

To Someone Who is Struggling in a Dark Place With Little Hope…

“Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to get there, the time will pass anyways.”

To someone who is struggling in a dark place with little hope…..do not give up. Do not loose sight of the vision you see when you close your eyes and your head hits the pillow. Don’t push away the thoughts that first enter your mind when you awake each day. Don’t tell yourself you’re not good enough.  Choose to accept the challenges you are presented with.  Overcome them, learn from them, teach others about them.  See them as obstacles that you will overcome throughout your journey in route to your destination.

You were meant for something great. You are capable of becoming whoever and whatever you want to become. Don’t back down.  Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you.  Live each day as if you will not see tomorrow. Love yourself, love others and be the light that others need in a dark world.

Tell others about your dreams, but show them results through your actions.  Surround yourself passionate people, people who remind you how amazing you are.  When someone tells you that you are great, believe them and believe in yourself.  Follow your heart and do things that fulfill you. Don’t let anyone direct your life or tell you which roads to take. Whatever it is that you want in this life, just don’t stop.

 

 

Rise Above It

I’ve mentioned Shane and Laura Phelps Sweatt several times in my posts, but that’s because without them in my life I wouldn’t even be half the woman I am today. I met them at a pivotal phase in my life, at such a young influential stage, where their impressions on me were everlasting and metamorphic.   You see, building our physical strength and changing our appearance on the outside can happen rather quickly, but evolving the heart and mind takes much longer.

image

We are influenced in some way or another by each individual we encounter. We  have the ability to choose what we absorb and what we discard. I saw something unique in Shane and Laura that I had never witnessed before. I chose to seek personal growth and mentorship daily.  I can’t imagine where my life would be without them. I feel very grateful to have had mentors that showed me the sacrifices it would take to become great.  Laura, the world’s strongest woman, is the most talented, yet humble individual I know.  While I trained with her, I witnessed her suffer the harsh lash outs of cowards that sat behind a computer screen ripping her apart with cruel comments.  She would describe the things that  people said and I couldn’t wrap my mind around why people would say such things.  Shane always knew what to say to get her head back up.  She kept training despite her emotions and put one foot in front of the other.

As an athletic woman, as a Marine, and as someone who chooses to be different, I have experienced similar experiences. To hear or read hateful comments from strangers and/or peers is a feeling that will always pierce your heart and make you second guess yourself.  So how can we overcome the “haters” the “naysayers” the jealous peers and the small minded, uneducated individuals that get joy out of putting others down?

Rise Above It By choosing to get to know yourself more than you invest in getting to know anyone else. We are living in a world where people will point their fingers at you all day, openly hate the things you are doing, and yet they don’t even know who they really are. Choose to love yourself. “Dear you, make peace with the mirror and watch the reflection change.” Author Unknown

image

Rise Above It By choosing to surround yourself with people better, smarter, stronger, faster, kinder, and more humble than you.  Surround yourself with people that have qualities that you want to emulate, people that have sound character and ethics that you agree with. Surround yourself with people that want to lift you up and not put you down, people who don’t make fun of you for eating different, training harder, not partying, and devoting time to bettering yourself. Surround yourself with people who hold you accountable and don’t let you make up excuses. “Run with the Lame, develop a limp.” Louie Simmons

image

Rise Above It By taking the high road.  Do not immaturely respond to their posts or comments, choose not to stoop to their level or play their games.   (Although among peers, I do believe that once the emotion has gone away, speaking to the individual in a respectful and private manner in order to stop the actions from happening in the future is necessary. If you can’t resolve it one on one, then bringing a third party and more senior individual is recommended.)  “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” Dave Willis 

image

Rise Above It By  feeling it, absorbing it, and letting it dissolve.  There is no way to stop the initial emotion of hearing and feeling the harsh words. Feel it, let it sting for a moment, handle it in private, talk to God about it, talk to someone who loves you about it, but once you’re done feeling it, let it go.  Let it dissolve, let it roll off your back and use it as fuel to you fire.  Fuel for you to prove to YOURSELF, that you are better than that, and that you will do whatever you set your mind to. “I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel.  At just the right moment, I light the match.” Mia Hamm 

image

Rise Above It By disciplining your mind to stay so focused on your goals that no level of adversity can stop you. Train your mind to utilize positive self talk and reinforce appraisal in daily small successes. Each day is a miracle and will never happen again, chose to make the most of all challenges, reflect on your weak points and plan to overcome them.   “It takes discipline to focus only on high-value targets instead of giving in to the temptation of the low-hanging fruit that life serves up daily.” Mark Divine

image

At first people will laugh at you, and then the same people who doubted you, will talk about how they used to know you.  Dare to be different. Go boldy in the direction of your dreams. Don’t let anyone’s words derail you. Stay your path and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Rise to the top, and when you look back, bring others up with you. 

You Don’t Need Permission

I’ll never forget the day that I told my father I wanted to join the United States Marine Corps.  We had just wrapped up a week of events at the CMA festival with a group of veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project.  I had met an above the knee amputee and his wife who were both Marines.  At this time I was 19 years old, a sophomore in college, and she was the first female Marine I had ever met.

dad-and-me-cma
My Father and I at the CMA Festival in 2009

To give you a little bit of my family background, my grandfather served in the Marine Corps for 33 years and my father served for about 25.  I had grown up around Marines.  I was  taught the values of the Corps starting at a very young age,  and I learned that others sacrificed in order to defend our freedom.  I always felt a desire to support the military, but I NEVER thought that I could serve our country.  To be honest, I thought, “I’ll just marry a Marine!” (Which ironically, I am going to marry one, but we are BOTH Marines! Even better.)

Upon the conclusion of the CMA festival, I asked my father if we could meet for lunch in order to discuss a few things.  We sat down and the first words out of his mouth were, “You’re not pregnant are you?!” I said, “No!” He said, “You don’t want to be a Marine do you!?”  (As if that were the second worst thing he could guess) I said, “Yes Sir, I do.” I remember being particularly nervous for that conversation because growing up I had always heard my dad say, “I would never allow my daughters to be Marines.”  I believe this was due to the fact that while he was an attorney for the USMC  he worked on multiple sexual assault cases, and naturally did not want his daughters subject to those kinds of acts.

He will admit that he believed I was just in a phase that would soon wear off, once the motivation of the week died down, he thought this goal would fade away. Well, the motivation never died down, and this goal slowly came to fruition.

When I arrived back to the University of Louisville, I called the Officer Selection Office  (OSO) in Lexington, Ky. (Find Your Officer Selection Officer ) A Staff Sergeant answered the phone and proceeded to interview me.   If you know me, you know that my voice doesn’t match my build, it’s very high pitched and girly!  I told him I was a cheerleader at the University of Louisville and by my description and my voice,  he didn’t think he was speaking to anyone with much potential to be a United States Marine.   We scheduled an initial physical fitness test (PFT) and met about a week later.

cheerwpn
Military Appreciation Day at a UofL Football Game

Reflecting back on these moments, they are reminders of the very small obstacles that I chose to work through from the very beginning.  I didn’t know if I had what it took to become a Marine?! I didn’t know what the other women serving would be like. I didn’t know if my friends and family would accept this career path.  All of these negative thoughts were outweighed when I was surrounded by the caliber of individuals that I met through the Wounded Warrior Project.  Seeing their sacrifice really put things into perspective.  I decided that I couldn’t let these self inflicted negative thoughts hold me back.  I felt like I was capable of serving too.

Why did I grow up thinking, “I’ll marry a Marine” vs. “I want to be a Marine!” For whatever reason, I believe a lot has to do with the way society has painted a picture of what women are supposed to be.  Society expects women to be nurturing mothers and care takers, to maintain a certain physique and dress a certain way, always pleasing to the eye and polite.  Men are taught to be rugged, tough, driven and to work hard in order to get to the top.  “Most leadership positions are held by men, so women don’t expect to achieve them, and that becomes one of the reasons they don’t. ” Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In.  When I met someone who was different, a female Marine, I saw potential to be different too.

469348_3983512315151_872133596_o
Master Sergeant “Spanky” Gibson, the above knee amputee I met in 2009, rendering the first salute at my commissioning ceremony in 2011. 

I felt like I needed “permission” from my father.  While he did give me his blessing, what if he had not?  Would I have chosen to continue to pursue this goal?  I’d like to think so.  If any of you are struggling with feeling like you need permission from others to pursue your goals, the answer is….you don’t!  We are given one life to live and the clock is ticking.  Make the most out of this life that God has blessed you with.  Pursue challenges that scare you.  Don’t let the opinions of others delay you from achieving the success you deserve. Drown out the fear of uncertainty and aggressively live out your dreams.

470181_3983505674985_1121197273_o-2
My father’s speech at the Commissioning Ceremony after he read me the Oath of Office. 

 

 

Attention Ladies: Earn it.

Attention ladies! As I prepare to transition from the military, I’d like to begin mentoring, working with, and assisting females that are interested in entering the military or those who are already active duty that would like to improve their mental and physical performance.

image

I have an insane passion for assisting individuals reach their true potential! I have learned from first-hand experience as a Marine that respect is earned, never given.  I want to help build you young ladies up, get your confidence through the roof, break through glass ceilings, and give you the same tools that I was given in order to successfully serve our country.  I have served with men and women of all calibers and say with confidence that those who lead from the front are most respected.  Women have a special place in my heart, as I can directly relate to you all, and I aim to create a community of females that build one another up.  My goal is to create an aggressive, unstoppable mindset in current and future  women service members that the world has yet to see.

image

In the month of October I’d like to assist a minimum of (5) ladies for FREE! I will develop personalized programming and provide accessibility to my personal email for specific questions.

If you or someone you know are interested, please email me at Taylordresch3@gmail.com NLT 3o September 2016 in order to get the process started!

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

 

7 Years Later…A Dream Come True

The past 8 months of working with Team CDR have flown by. My boyfriend Matt deployed for 6 months which forced me to focus on bettering myself in his absence. I spent my days working, training, and pursuing mental and emotional strength. What I found in the midst of missing the person closest to my heart, was what I was really made of. I honed in on the most important relationship in my life that I had been neglecting, and that was my relationship with God.

I started CrossFit at the age of 19, while I was cheering at the University of Louisville. When I started I couldn’t do ONE unassisted pull up and yet I told myself that one day I would compete at the CrossFit Games. Being part of Team CDR has made that possible and I want to recap a bit of our journey and the experience of Regionals.

Calvin Davis and I competed together on the Los Angeles Reign for the NPGL and he jokingly would try to recruit the girls of the team to move to Redlands in order to be a part of his CrossFit Team. After our last match of the season, I told him that I wanted to be on his team. The part of my training that had been missing for a while was the coaching and the camaraderie of working with others, and I knew that he could provide that. I also knew that due to his previous 3 showings with his team in Carson that he had the experience and discipline needed to get the the Games.

He immediately had our team focus on gymnastics, which was our biggest weakness as a whole. He also hardly ever had me on a barbell…which I was not happy about, but I knew that he was right, so I listened. Each day was a challenge. I found myself frustrated and the training knocked me down several times. We spent 90% of our training doing things we hated doing. The girls drive between an hour to two and a half hours three times a week minimum in order to ensure the time commitment required by CrossFit, therefore sacrificing a lot of time driving back and fourth. Our bodies went through extreme soreness specifically in the shoulders that I had never felt, our hands were constantly ripped and aching, and our mental strength was tested over and over and over.

There were days that I didn’t want to train, days I missed Matt so much I wanted to sit around and cry, days I was so sore I didn’t want to put on a fake smile and go into work and lead Marines, days I thought I just wasn’t good enough, but I found strength along the way and I found it in God. I started doing morning devotionals and reading the Bible daily, I started committing to church on Sunday mornings and I started a Life Group. What I found was remarkable. I discovered a relationship with God and through accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior that there was salvation and grace through repenting. I feel like God was always around, always close to my heart, but for so long I wasn’t accepting  his love and my eyes were blind to the ways he was working in my life. He has changed my heart and my life is so full because I have accepted his love.

God showed me that I was capable of doing all things through him. He showed me that I am strong and meant to show others their strength. I am persistent in praying daily that God will continue to inspire me and use me for his intended purpose. God has placed people like Matt, Shane, Laura, Calvin and my teammates in my life to show me what I am capable of. Through their actions, their love, their commitment, drive and perseverance we have all accomplished this dream together. What I initially thought was going to be impossible has suddenly become reality. The dream of competing at the CrossFit Games is something that I have thought about every single day for seven years.

Competing at the California Regionals was a blast. We finally got to display our hard work and have fun competing as a team. There were several moments of doubt, not in my team but in myself. My good friend Laura once told me that insecurities and doubt do not come from the Lord. So throughout the weekend in times of doubt I shifted my focus to having a conversation with him, to my devotionals which spoke so perfectly to me each day, to Matt who supported and comforted me and to the people around me displaying love and support. I most doubted my abilities on the last event of the final day, the legless rope climbs. A skill that is extremely physically challenging and not particularly one of my strengths. I wanted to back down, I wanted my other teammates to take the burden, but I knew in order to grow I had to step up, accept this trial and overcome it with him. As I stepped on the floor I felt calm, I knew God had a plan and that he was with me. When I completed the event, I ran into my teammates arms and was immediately overwhelmed with love, happiness, and a feeling of success.image

Below are some unforgettable moments from Regionals!

image
Cheering on our team to the finish of event one. This event included a lot of gymnastics and started with each person doing 30 strict handstand push ups and 20 bar muscles, an event I would not have been able to successfully complete 6 months ago! Lauren and Daniel were the anchors and finished the event strong.
image
My favorite part of this event was watching my teammate Lauren completely fill with joy and excitement on each successful lift. Her eyes lit up and her passion inspired me to finish the snatch ladder with 10 seconds on the clock. This picture is me ensuring a good rep with my judge. I loved looking into the stands and seeing Matt screaming and cheering me on!
image
Spending time with our RomWod Sponsors and sharing our stories with them. Their selfless actions and handwork all weekend were inspiring and made me feel grateful to have such amazing people in our lives. My favorite part about this moment was when Ryan asked me a question and I brought up my spiritual journey and relationship with God, his face lit up and that made me happy!
image
Spending down time with my teammate Lauren just enjoying the ability to share moments like these together! We spent a lot of time together staying in Redlands every weekend and getting to know one another and she inspires me so much.
image
Taking 2nd Place in this event!!! LG and Nellie stepped up big time and CRUSHED this workout! Our teamwork and unit cohesion is the reason we won this event. We communicated the whole time and pushed to our limits for one another.
image
Running out with my teammate Calvin to complete partner deadlifts and burpees. I was excited about this event and went out ready to attack it with everything we had.I told Calvin right before, “I’m ready to black out!!”
image
Putting my conjugate skills to work! haha! Deadlifting is my favorite lift and Calvin and I absolutely crushed this workout. I’ll never forget it. 
image
Running through the finish line into the arms of our teammates.
image
Attacking this weakness head on and not backing down.
image
This picture captures the excitement of our team and knowing we got the job done!
image
Dave Castro gave the Marines from our unit over $2,500 worth of tickets. Having them there watching us compete was a dream come true. Being a Marine and an athlete is a privilege and something I will never take for granted. The Marines made him a plaque and here we are presenting it to him.
image
The feeling of a dream come true with the love of my life! This was the best moment of the weekend for me. Having him physically there after 6 months apart, we felt so grateful to be together and to accomplish this goal!
image
Being a role model for the future generation is so important to me! Having Andy and Elizabeth’s daughters there to witness this was an honor and I love being able to set a good example for them.

 

image
Having amazing friends there to support us with some pretty sweet shirts!
image
Heading to the podium!

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9-10

Live Your Legend

“For after years of living in a cage, a lion no longer even believes it is a lion . . . and a man no longer believes he is a man.”
― John Eldredge

If you could paint your own picture of success, what would that look like? Is the emphasis on the car you drive, the house you live in,  the amount of money in your bank account? Or is the emphasis on the things that set your soul on fire? The things that get you out of bed in the morning and make your heart race at the very thought of doing those things?

Why are so many people doing jobs that they hate? How can you stop doing what you hate and start doing what you love?

  1. Become a self expert.
    • No one knows you better than you do!
    • Discover your unique strengths….and USE THEM!
    • Establish your values;  what is your soul made of?
    • Experiences: nothing replaces these. Use your past to establish growth, use the things you loved, the things you hated, and the things that challenged you to your benefit. Reflect on what went wrong and what went right.
    • Find what INSPIRES you. What traits and characteristics that others obtain inspire you to be the best version of you? Figure it out and put those people in your life. Put PASSIONATE people in your life, these people will change your path.
    • Environment is everything, you control it.  Are you encouraging complacency?
  2. Take time to figure out what actually matters to you.
    • What makes you feel alive?! Whatever it is, you should be feeling alive and living to the fullest every single day.
    • Make an impact with it. Use your unique strengths to make others around you better in order to leave the world a better place.
  3. Do the impossible.
    • The only person that controls your limits, is you, push past them.
    • Get rid of the people in your life that constantly bring negative energy, those who constantly complain, and people who tell you that your dreams are not realistic.
    • Build your confidence in your unique strengths, for it will carry over into attacking your weaknesses and build you.
    • Prove people wrong.

Take the risks in life of doing the things that make you question, “how could I possibly do this?” Ordinary people are more than capable of doing extraordinary things, you are capable of so much more!

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.”  Mahatma Gandhi

These thoughts were inspired by Scott Dinsmore’s TED talk and “Live your Legend” movement.

 

 

The Enemy Within

“Friction may be self induced, caused by such factors as a lack of a clearly defined goal.” MCDP 1

An essential means to overcome friction is human will; we prevail over friction through persistent strength of mind and spirit.

What sets us apart from those that we look up to? What is the difference between you and your idol, your hero, or your mentor? The closer I have become to those I look up to, the more I realize how similar we are.  There have been many days where I have doubted my ability to achieve my dreams. Life can become overwhelming and we can become lost in  completing the day-to-day tasks that pay our bills and put a roof over our heads. But when we are 80 years old and looking back, what will matter more- the car we drove and the house we lived in or the accomplishments we achieved with the people we love?

Deciding to get out of the Marine Corps in order to become a full-time athlete is a huge personal risk. The Marine Corps provides a steady income, medical benefits,  and a stable routine. If I said I wasn’t scared, I’d be lying. I am nervous to walk away from a career that brings me much joy, pride, and security, but I am more nervous of growing old and regretting not giving everything I had into accomplishing a goal that I can’t go a day without thinking about.

My vision is to become a CrossFit Games Individual athlete and more importantly to inspire others to aggressively chase down their dreams .  What is your dream and what is stopping you from accomplishing it?

image

Rise and Grind By Nike
“A battle between you and your mind, drown out the voice of uncertainty with sound of your own heartbeat, burn away your self-doubt with a fire lit beneath you. Remember what we’re fighting for and never forget that momentum is a cruel mistress. She can turn on a dime with the smallest mistake. She is ever searching for the weak place in your armor, that one tiny place that you forgot to prepare for. So as long as the devil is hiding in the details, the question remains. Is that all you got? Are you sure? And when the answer is yes, and you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself for battle. Then it’s time to go forth and boldly face your enemy, the enemy within. Only now you must take that fight into the open, into hostile territory. You’re a lion in a field of lions, all hunting the same allusive prey, with a desperate starvation that says victory is the only thing that can keep you alive. So believe that voice that says you can run a little faster, and you can throw a little harder and that for you, the laws of physics are merely a suggestion. Luck is the last dying wish for those that want to believe that wining can happen by accident, sweat on the other hand is for those that know it’s a choice. So decide now, because destiny waits for no man. When your time comes and a thousand different voices are trying to tell you, you’re not ready for it, listen instead to that lone voice of descent, the one that says you ARE ready, you ARE prepared, and it’s all up to you now.”

image

*LIKES*

“The spotlight that’s on you will kill you if it is stronger than the light that is within you. Be in the world, not of it.”

image

Social media has become a huge part of our culture. I think back to when AOL instant messenger was a big deal, now everything is instant- Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Google. Frequent posting is the norm, and it is quickly becoming a way of measuring your status in society based on the number of followers or “likes”  you have compared to others.

This was brought up last week in discussion at small group when a young girl admitted that she often feels a desire to obtain more likes on Instagram photos, but then said she didn’t know why. I think all of us in the room related in some way.

For those of us sharing our journey with the world through social media…why are we doing it? What is your why? Are you only posting to get a certain number of likes to feel significant, popular, and literally liked?

Young men and women have made it the norm to post pictures that are sexual in nature in order to get more attention and more followers. I had to remove a friend from Instagram who posted a topless photo covering herself with her hands in underwear with the caption, “Let’s be honest. I’m posting this to get to 25,000 followers.” What does having 25,000 followers do for you, and what are you doing for them?! That means that 25,000 people follow that individual who constantly posts inappropriate pictures for the wrong reasons, ultimately falling to the tasteless trend to post similar photos.

If the morals and ethics inside you are fading and you find yourself leaning towards following the crowd in this trend, I challenge you to find validation and recognition in other ways. For the young men and women reading this- I hope that you can find your purpose and your why. You have such a greater purpose in life than to share your body that was only intended to be shared in private, not for the whole world to see and judge.

You are the light you bring to a room. You are the happiness you bring to a friend feeling down. You are your God-given talent. You are beautiful and strong in your own unique way. Your honesty is the truth someone needs to hear and the good news in their day. You are what you repeatedly do and say. You are unique and diverse. You are capable of becoming whatever you want to be while helping others do the same. You are alive and well. You are living in this moment, and you are more than the number of followers, friends and likes you receive.

image