Reflections from a Modern Millennial: Gratefulness Begets Greatness

A friend in the advertising industry recently interviewed me about being involved in CrossFit as part of a research project he is conducting working on the Reebok account. While I’m nowhere near a being a competitive lifter, his questions, however did make me reflect on how grateful I am to be able to dabble in the sport of Olympic lifting and compete in ballroom dance.

This week is Thanksgiving and in the spirit of being grateful, I’ll say a few words about what I am thankful for as it relates to my involvement in Dance Sport and Cross Fit. I’ve only met one other person who actively trains and competes in ballroom and lifts with the determination of a serious athlete. She is the reason I became active in CrossFit where I parlayed that cardio and strength training into more endurance and athleticism while on the competition floor. Being able to be competitive in a sport I love by way of another sport—especially with this unusual pairing—is a daily source of gratitude in my life.

I consider myself extremely fortunate for my body to be able to adapt to two different types of competitive sports. To be honest, it is challenging to translate the technique, body mechanics and timing between dancing and lifting, but at the very least, proper posture and dedication to refining my technique in both arenas are transmutable factors. I doubt I will ever be fully satisfied in terms of being truly proficient at either because I’ve realized along the way that achieving greatness is an incredibly frustrating, mind-game process.

Achieving perfection of movement is an illusive destination because our bodies are constantly changing. I’ve spent years being hard on myself for my perceived shortcomings as an amateur athlete competing in the sport of ballroom dance. But I’m starting to realize that by being grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the sport at the level that I am, I’m great at it.

Relocating to the Bay Area has become an incredible opportunity to now increase my involvement in CrossFit as I’m no longer geographically close to my dance partner. Still, we’re making plans to dance at a competition in San Jose in 2016 and I am so thankful to have found a CrossFit gym that I enjoy so that I can maintain (at least somewhat) of a competitive edge in terms of endurance, physique and have the opportunity to be around people who fuel my motivation towards improvement–whether I’m lifting a barbell just enough to duck under it or lifting my arms to take frame with my dance partner.

Everything in life is a process. Everyone seeking to improve at something can relate to setbacks and obstacles. But I encourage you to remember that your health and physical strength are a gift. The technique will come. With enough deliberate practice, it always does. Gratitude for the ability and opportunity to move should be exercised just as much.

I’ll close with a nod to The Hunger Games where even Katniss knows the value in cultivating a mental list of good deeds she’s grateful to have witnessed:

Did you have a nightmare? I have nightmares too. Someday I’ll explain it to you. Why they came. Why they won’t ever go away. But I’ll tell you how I survive it. I make a list in my head. Of all the good things I’ve seen someone do. Every little thing I could remember. It’s like a game I do it over and over. Gets a little tedious after all these years, but… There are much worse games to play.
~Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Surely, we can all use more odds in our favor.

Embassy ball ballroom dance competiton
Flexing before foxtrotting at the Embassy Ball, May 2013.

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