Figure out what you love…

A while back I wrote up a list of steps that I have gone through which have helped me get where I am today.  I have blogged about many of them and recently I was reminded that it really is all about figuring out what you love!

  • Quit hiding
  • Have a plan
  • Set goals
  • Keep Going
  • Fuel Your Body
  • Figure out what you love
  • Try Everything
  • Find your sweet spot
  • Live!

I spent this past week helping to host a conference put on by my office.  By day, I am a mild mannered Event planner and Marketing manager and I enjoy my job immensely.  It can be extremely challenging at times, but its something I am very good at and it keeps me on my toes.  But I would be lying if I said I loved everything about it.  There are aspects that I absolutely do not enjoy, but overall, I never dread going to work and my job keeps me happy and engaged, which is something not everyone can say.

While spending all day delving into Technology Ventures and Start-ups, we got to spend the evenings talking over great food and amazing scotch.  It was during one of the more verbose conversations about which brand of Scotch would go best with our steak that the topic of what I do for fun came up.  Thus began an hour long explanation of  what Full Contact Medieval Combat truly was.

One of the guys seated at my table wanted proof that I really do put on armor and let full grown men hit me with real steel weapons, so I pulled out my trusty android phone and showed him!  All throughout the conversation he & the other guys seated at my table scrolled through my photos.  At one point I said something to the affect of “I honestly, just love to fight” and the guy that had my phone said “Oh that’s beyond obvious, I can see just how much you love it. Every single photo on your phone shows you with this huge smile on your face, even when its obvious you just took your helmet off.  And the guys that are in the pictures with you, they’re all smiles too.  For being such a violent sport, you all seem to be pretty happy about it”.

And its all true.  At the very basis of this sport, it is something that we all love.  Four years ago, had you told me that I would have spent thousands of dollars on armor and weapons to become an international athlete, I would have laughed out loud.  I would have wished I could have, but I don’t think that drive would have been there without my love of this sport.  From the very beginning, I knew in my heart, this was what I was meant to do and while it truly is something deeper than that inside of me, I can’t really put it into words the feelings I have about what I do.

During that same conversation at the table, I found video and showed the guys actual footage of various fights.  At one point I looked up from the little screen of my phone and realized they were all watching me, not my phone.  At that moment I got completely flustered and apologized for being so engrossed.  They all laughed & told me it was more fun watching me get so involved in the fight than watching the fight itself.  “You light up like a little kid on Christmas morning”.  That comes as close as any other description I can tell you about how I feel about what I do.

There are things we all LOVE to do, these are things you would do no matter what.  Even on days you hate everything.  And I promise you, there have been days I didn’t want to train, days I didn’t want to work on my armor, or polish my weapons, or do pell work or go run and I would like to lie and tell you I always did them anyway, but I can’t.  But what I can tell you is the love of this sport & the loyalty I have to my brothers on the team, has gotten me to the gym and working my ass off more than anything else on this planet.

When I want to sit down, go back to bed, or watch a movie instead of going to the gym, its the voices of those guys that I hear in my head.  The challenges, the encouragement and yes, even the criticisms that have been given to me by those men & women, that get played over and over in my head.  Because I know its done out of love, even when they are being critical of me, because we all need to get better.  Always.  So when I have an asthma or panic attack and I want to peel out of my armor or take my helmet off, the voices of my coaches & mentors are the calming force in my head…keeping me from doing it.  They know what it takes to keep me level…and they have done it so well, I hear them, even when they can’t be in my corner.

Those moments when I can’t bare the thought of being encased in armor, or confined by steel & leather, knowing I will end up face down in the dirt more than once…its the love of this sport and the look of wonderment in the eyes of every woman and every little girl that has ever come up to me excited because she knows she can learn to be a Knight too.

That’s what I love the most I think…knowing that I can be a role model for someone out there who didn’t have any idea this sport even existed.

It doesn’t matter what you love, whether its running, hiking, yoga, dancing…whatever it is, just keep MOVING!  Get out there and do it.  Find the joy in something that is good for your body and embrace it.  Let it balance out the inactivity of your life, get out there and figure out what you Love!!!

Whatever your bliss is…as long as its something you can keep doing…go for it.  Explore the world outside your house, be adventurous, go out and find happiness.  You might be very surprised at what exercise and excitement can do for your mood!

I will be the first to tell you…I am a MUCH happier person because I hit people 🙂

So get up…get out…and get moving!  Figure out what you love and just do it!

P.S. I want to be sure to give proper photo credit to Photography by Sissela   — with Amy Graham at Castillo de Belmonte (oficial).  She captured the moment I walked off the battlefield in Spain after having fought with my brothers for the first time (I snuck on the field, only a few of my brothers knew I was out there, women were not allowed to fight in the All vs. All) and at this very moment, I knew I could do anything.  It was truly one of the most profound moments of my life, and she managed to get it on film. I will forever be in her debt!

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