Grace, Gratitude and Grit

I stole this from @RunningOnOm. No scratch that, I’m borrowing the title and spreading the amazing message from her podcast with Nicole Antoinette, episode #193: Real Talk Reflections on Gratitude, Grit, and Grace with Nicole Antoinette. Point is I am trying to lead my life embodying these value of Grace, Gratitude and Grit.

When I think of grace I think of ballet dancers. I don’t know what it is about them, their strength, their beauty, their stillness in motion, but I find ballet dancers to be some of the most beautiful and strongest people on the planet (I’d say Misty Copeland is a badass example!). And when you see a good ballet dancer, a really good ballet dancer you really see how they embody grace.

Simple elegance. Refined movements. Yup that’s how I would describe something graceful. It doesn’t involve complicated movements. It also doesn’t mean making life complicated. You know grace when you see it in any athlete in any sport. Take a moment and think of that athlete that you find to have efficiency and grace in their motions. I also think any athlete (so I mean anyone) can achieve grace, efficiency in their movements.

Efficiency was one of those words that really stuck with me in engineering. Efficiency of construction. Efficiency of design. Save time and money in construction, but you still have to have a finished product that is safe. You need that too in running, you can run way farther and way faster when you have efficiency in your movements. Thank you Dr. Kris for helping me find efficiency in my stride.

Gratitude made my list of values for 2016. My goal is to give more gratitude to my friends, family, my life, and most importantly to myself. Gratitude, the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness, and even when it is not shown to you. It’s not easy, but trust me it’s a much easier and better way to live.

For my birthday I received a meditation colouring book from a very good friend. Yes, colouring books were ‘the item’ to give and get at the holidays this year, but my friend knew that I need to do a better job at meditation and being with my thoughts and without my thoughts. My goal was to practice gratitude everyday by spending 15 minutes with my colouring book thinking about what I am thankful for.

Sounds simple enough but I have had a tough time doing it so far; I have found myself making a lot of excuses that could fall under a variety of themes. What I realized after listening to this podcast that my excuses are all related to one theme, me. When I tell people that I try to spend 15 minutes with a colouring book I get embarrassed and make a joke. I think I do this because I am the one judging myself, I am judgemental of the fact that I spend this time giving gratitude by colouring. I have become my own worst enemy.

As I worked through my personal judgements (Thanks Julia and Nicole) I can say that I colour and I colour proudly. That 15 minutes everyday lets me clear my head, be more efficient everyday, and I think makes me a better version of myself. I have gone from just thinking about what I might be thankful for on a particular day to letting my thoughts wander a little more. I work through whatever negative thoughts come into my head and use the positivity bias to see the good.

Gratitude is so important in our lives. Not just saying thank you, but truly be thankful for what you have. Trying to live through the positivity bias has been helping. Plus I think gratitude on the track is making me a better and faster runner!

The ability to never give up. The ability to dig deep. The ability to keep going when your whole body is screaming at to stop. Perseverance. Nerve. Determination. Like grace, you know it when you see it in an athlete. We all have some amount of ‘grit’ in us.

Grit is something that is being formally studied in psychology. It’s measured in athletes. It’s measured in students. You can do online tests to measure your own level of grit. In the coming years I think we will have some objective data that teaches us more about grit.

Everyone needs grit at the end of race or big workout to finish strong, you need grit to get through those tough days. It gets tough, tougher depending on how fatigued you are from the build up to the event, but grit is what gets you through (or not). You can work on getting grittier. You usually need to employ a coach and/or a sports psychologist to help you improve your grit (Thanks Beth!).

Putting The 3G’s Together
To be a great racer, and probably to be a good person, you need to always embody all three. Depending on the situation you may use more of one over another. For instance in a race; the shorter the race the more grit you need throughout, the longer the race the more grace you need at the beginning to conserve energy but the more grit you need at the end when your legs and mind start to fatigue. You always need gratitude; you rise to do your best, maybe even better, when you give thanks to being surrounded by really great competitors, that idea of constructive interference.