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Me time

The grind

manuelita otero

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The other day my son, who plays tennis for his university, was interviewed by the school’s newspaper and was asked what advice he had for incoming freshmen athlete. He answered: “Some days you won’t feel like getting up to train, but you still do it, you may get frustrated, tired, angry, but you still do it. Grind and trust the process.” My son has played tennis most of his life and “grind” is one of his favorite words, which according to the urban dictionary is: “When an individual pushes his/herself to attain a goal.” As I was trying to decide what to write this week, his words kept coming to me: “Grind and trust the process”.

Sometimes it’s easy to give your all for your goals, things are going according to the plan and you can see the expected results, but sometimes…. You know the ones I am talking about. There’s no clear path, nothing seems to be happening, and there are so many obstacles that you start doubting where are you heading. Or maybe you look at your life and you are not where you thought you would be, and it’s hard to “grind” for your goals when those are not clear anymore. How do you focus and keep the passion and energy?

You could turn to motivational speakers who will give you five easy steps to achieve your goals and get everything you ever dreamed from life, but if we are honest, motivation can only take you so far because life is messy, unexpected things happen and no list will ever include all the possibilities, which in my opinion is a good thing. Who wants to have their life figured out? Where is the fun in it? You actually have to go deeper, and that is one thing only you can do.

I see myself, I see my life and it’s so different from what I thought it would be. I am so grateful for who I am and where I am, but I will be honest, I thought I would be in a different situation. Life took a couple of unexpected turns and I had to quickly look at my plans and adjust, look again and adjust until I just said less plans and one main goal to focus on. All those changes in my plans were hitting me hard and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I think we are so attached to our plans because we like to have an idea of what’s happening and have certain control. But in reality, there’s very little we can control of outside situations. I decided that I was going to focus on the things I could control and let go of the ones I just couldn’t. I made a list which includes the following: I can control my attitude, my response to situations, my feelings (yes, those can be controlled, at least in public), I can control what I listen to and what I believe. I can decide how to spend my time and what to do with the gifts and talents I have been given. For me that was plenty and I started giving up my beloved plans, opening my hands and my agenda to the unexpected. I can tell you since I decided to do that I am happier because it’s a freeing attitude toward life, I don’t have certain expectations so I am open to opportunities that come in unexpected ways. I think one of the main reasons people are unhappy is because they don’t get what they want, when many times what they  want is not meant to be, and there’s something so much better around the corner. When we are not locked on a “want” we are open to many possibilities and then we get to experience the beauty of receiving what we were not expecting in the most unbelievable ways. Do I still plan? Oh yes! I love my “to do” lists, and I love my countdowns, but I can change them as fast as I make them. I can let them go because I am not attached to them and I am always looking for options and possibilities. Does that mean I am all over the place? Yes and no. As I mentioned earlier, “less plans one main goal”. I have very clear what I love, what am I passionate about and what are my strengths, so I can focus on that. That’s what I grind for and I enjoy it, it’s a way of life which focuses on my purpose because I know I am not here just to “take up space” and neither are you.

Manuelita @manuelitaotero