Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably seen post after post in your social media feed recently about the great Simone Biles. I assume that it is probably more in my newsfeed than many of yours because we are a part of the gymnastics world, but I am pretty sure that there are few people in the US that don’t know who she is. She is considered the greatest gymnast of all time (the G.O.A.T), and I would whole-heartedly agree. She, in fact, has not lost an All-Around title since 2013! The things that she is able to do with her body are unheard of. This past weekend she made history again as she was crowned with the gold at the US National Championships. She landed two skills (one on floor and one beam dismount) that have never before been done in competition. I won’t get into the technicalities of what those skills are because most of you wouldn’t know what I was talking about. Let’s just say that is was incredible to watch. It is like she is literally flying in the air.
Simone Biles is one powerful female! I don’t just mean that in reference to strength, either. (Have you seen her muscles, though? Wow!) I mean that she is powerful also in who she is as a person and as a role model for young girls everywhere. I would even go as far as saying that she is a role model for me, and we can all learn something from her. She is the picture perfect example of what hard work and dedication looks like. I know what it takes it be a gymnast of her caliber and it is not easy by any means. It takes time, skill, determination, courage, mental grit, and more work than you could ever imagine.
I can promise you that she spends hours at the gym every day. She will work a particular skill over and over again until her brain and muscle memory can take over and she can do it without effort. She will spend nights awake running the skill through her brain thinking of how to make it better. I can bet you that she is also a perfectionist. She will continue to push through until she can’t even move to get a particular skill just right. It could take years of working a skill before it is perfected to the level that she feels she can perform it. It takes more blood, sweat, and tears than you can imagine. Am I willing to put in that level of work to reach my dreams? Until about a year ago, my answer would have been no. Now I am more aware of what it takes to get to where I want to be. I know what I want and I am finally willing to put in the work it takes to get me there. I am ready to give it all I’ve got.
Simone’s body is shredded day after day. As a gymnast, something ALWAYS hurts. The human body isn’t made to do the things she makes it do. She is forced to fight through the pain every time she steps into a gym, yet she gets up every day and does it again and again for hours on end. That kind of dedication prevents you from leading a normal life. It means missing out on big things, and it means that you spend a lot of time to yourself. She knows what it takes and she goes for it. She is willing to give up everything else to reach it. She does it because she wants to. It is her dream. No one is forcing her to do that to herself. She wants it with every fiber of her being. What would it look like if we all got up each day with that level of commitment to go after our dreams? I’m not sure I can imagine it. I can tell you right now, that I don’t wake up that way every day. I would say that I don’t wake up that way most days. It is hard to fight through sometimes, and it is easy to give up. I do it time and time again. I am slowly learning what commitment really means and what it takes to really go for it.
Maybe I don’t want to reach my dreams as bad as she does. Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I’m scared. Maybe I don’t have what it takes. Maybe I’m not good enough. That is where the mental grit comes in. I don’t know Simone Biles personally, but I can assure you that her mental grit is strong. What do I mean by mental grit? It is perseverance, strength, passion, toughness, resiliency, and courage all rolled into one. It is the ability to overcome obstacles and failures. It is getting back up on the horse after it has thrown you off. It is standing up for yourself against your own self-doubt. It is facing your fears. It is ignoring every single person who says you can’t. It is the ability to tune out all distractions. It is pursuing your dreams all day, every day without ceasing. It is never giving up. Can you imagine it? Can you imagine being that strong mentally? My mental grit is weak, but I am working on it. I am working to turn away from my own self-doubt. I am trying to make myself tougher. I am attempting to retrain my brain. I am worthy of reaching my dreams, and I have to keep telling myself over and over again.
Simone Biles is the G.O.A.T. and she deserves that title. I am not saying that we all have to be like her. I am saying that we are all capable of great things. We are capable of reaching our dreams however big or small they may be. We can all follow her example and achieve success. Just like she once said, “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles.” Be your own first. Stand out for who you are. I know I am not likely to reach the status of G.O.A.T like her, but I can be successful at reaching my dreams if I put in the work, if I am committed, and if I have mental grit. I can be the first Allison Clark. You can be the first you. Are you ready, willing, and able? The answer has to be yes if you really want to go for it. Let’s do this!