I have wanted to quit writing this blog almost every day in the short time I’ve been posting. Then, I remind myself that I can quit whenever I want. It’s curious how knowing you always have a choice is a form of motivation.
One of my strategies for persevering when I want to quit something important to me is to read stories about people who, despite unbelievable obstacles, did not quit.
I started this practice reading the work of Maya Angelou when I was a teenager. I consumed her words like I was starving for a meal. I still carry her words with me in both typed and handwritten journals.
Recently, Ronda Rousey was added to my hero roster and her words are now included in my journals.
I was introduced to Ms Rousey on an ordinary Saturday afternoon in February. I was sharing time with my brother, my husband, and one of my best friends. My brother mentioned that a UFC fight was happening that night and I immediately scoffed. I had some rather unfavorable preconceived notions of what the UFC was about.
My brother politely shook his head at my ignorance and asked me to watch some videos of the headlining fighter, Ronda Rousey. Immediately, I was sucked in. This woman could really tear it up. I mean, you could blink or check your phone and the fight was over.
We watched her fight that night (UFC 184) and she beat Cat Zingano in 14 seconds. And, this Cat Zingano is no pussy cat.
I needed to know more about this fierce female.
Lucky me, she recently wrote an autobiography My Fight/Your Fight. I read this book cover to cover in less than two days during the work week. Her story is nothing short of incredible.
Listen, she’s an olympic medalist and a world champion. She is currently undefeated in the UFC and will probably retire undefeated. She is the reason women are allowed to fight in the UFC. And I was wrong, UFC is most certainly a sport.
I appreciate her success but I needed to know what underpins her drive.
The next part is why I promoted Ms Rousey to hero status.
Her success is a function of a determination through a number of challenging life experiences:
She struggled with speech as a child and now she is now a successful actress by way of speech therapy and the support of her family at a young age.
Her father completed suicide when she was a young girl and she continues to talk openly and honestly about how his death still impacts her and her family. When talking about her dad she does not shy away from talking about her feelings. Her words give voice and courage to so many people who have lost a loved one to suicide.
She struggled with an eating disorder as a young woman and recently gave a body positive speech about not being a Do Nothing Bitch (DNB) that went viral and then used the popularity of the DNB slogan to sell shirts for charity.
There is so much more to her story but I encourage you to read her book for all the details.
In sum, she could not and would not be stopped by life circumstance. She lived in her car and then a crappy apartment all while training to compete in a sport that did not allow female fighters. At any point she could have said it was too much work with too little reward. But, she did not quit. She persevered for years before receiving public recognition or financial reward.
The take home message: Do what you believe in even if nobody else believes in you.
I am not trying to compare me sitting at a computer typing out my thoughts with fighting to the near death in an octagon.
But, it is likely as close as I’ll ever get.
Here is one of my favorite excerpts from her book:
“I have lost tournaments. I have lost friendships. I have lost my father. I know that I can deal when things are bad. I can come back when things are at their worst. I’m not afraid of losing all my money or losing my career, because I know I’m capable of living in my car and rising up. Once you’ve conquered the worst things that could happen, there is no need to fear the unknown. You are fearless” – Ronda Rousey
I am loving watching all of the wonderful things happening for her in terms of success. I have no doubt that she will be around for a long while.