Admit it. When you saw the title of this article, you began to sing it like Dory from Finding Nemo. If so, good! I hope it gets stuck in your head and serves to encourage you this week. We all need as much encouragement as we can get. I’m sharing it because I needed such encouragement in the last few days while attending the 2017 Zumba Convention.
I’ve been looking forward to this convention for months now, so you may wonder why it was that I needed encouragement. Two words: Achilles tendonitis. If you’ve ever had it, you know how painful it can be. Even if you haven’t had it, you’ve had some injury, illness, or setback that caused you to get discouraged because you couldn’t perform at the level you were accustomed to performing. Physical pain can also cause emotional distress. This is what happened to me.
My heel had begun to hurt a bit a few weeks before the convention, but it did not get really bad until I was in “Swing, Baby, Swing” on the second day of the four day convention. I tried to dance away my cares, but I was in so much pain, I could not focus on the choreography at all. I left the class fearing that if I stayed I might burst into tears. The tears I was holding back were not just about my physical pain; they were also about the frustration I felt at not being able to do what I wanted to do. I needed to regroup. I sat outside taking deep breaths and reading scriptures and positive quotes to steer my focus away from my physical pain, anger, and self-pity.
The following quote lifted me:
Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going.” (from Chantal Sutherland)
I substituted the word “anyone” with “anything,” so I told myself to never let “anything” bring me down. That included tendonitis. I knew I had to find a way to keep swimming.
The first thing I did to keep swimming was to count my blessings and only focus on what I could do, not on what I couldn’t. Then I began to think of all the people who had limitations far more debilitating than mine, yet they went on to accomplish great things. I believe they were able to achieve great things because they chose to focus on the “cans” rather than the “can’ts.” They just kept putting one foot in front of the other. When things get tough, sometimes we are encouraged to focus on just one day at a time. However, sometimes we must take it a step beyond that and just focus on getting through each moment.
Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” Sam Levenson
Too often, we have an all-or-nothing mentality that can slow or stop our progress altogether. I have been guilty of this more times than I care to admit, but this time I refused to stop.
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
I clung to this quote as I headed off to my last class of the Zumba Convention. Part of the class involved high intensity moves like jumping jacks and hop lunges. I love these exercises, so you can imagine how hard it was for me, in a room full of about 300 instructors, to do the modified versions of these exercises. I had to do what I preach every day in my classes: “It doesn’t matter if everyone else in the class is doing it; if your body tells you to modify the exercise, listen to your body. Sometimes 70% of what you normally do is 100% effort for that day’s circumstances.”
Today I did not stop. I was content that 70% of what I would normally do was 100% effort for my circumstances today. I swallowed my pride and kept going, and you can too. Don’t let life’s setbacks sidetrack you forever. Do the best you can in every moment given your current circumstances. Life will continue to send you challenges, and challenges are great because that’s how we grow. The next time life sends you a challenge and you are tempted to give up, remember you can regroup, modify, and just keep swimming.