Hold Fast, Stay True


Jill Ellis was recently on the Ed Mylett show discussing her role as soccer coach of the US women’s national team and when asked about coaching in general and her sense of other successful coaches, she mentioned a tidbit, “Hold fast, stay true.” I found this incredibly intriguing as she went on to discuss how this phrase is often used in the Navy referring to the action of sailors when a ship is trapped within a bad storm. You literally grab whatever you can and ‘hold fast’, and if that storm is obstructing your view, you keep hold of your compass to ‘stay true’ in whatever direction you need to be going in.
Hold Fast, Stay True
graphic by Likely Fiction

Navigating the complexities of life that include relationships with family members, friends, co-workers, loved ones, your kids, and the army of social media followers that one might build up over a lifetime of participating in the internet age, can be pure insanity! If we are all steering our own ships through life on this vast ocean of social interactions, financial obligations, fad diets, personal hobbies, parental responsibilities, employer expectations, and a growing list that goes on and on, we are all destined to encounter storms. I’ve had storms in my life facing bouts of anxiety that seemed to last as long as the storm visible in Jupiter’s fame Red Spot. Okay maybe not quite as long as that storm (as it is reportedly been raging for the last 340 years)… But when you are in your own storm, it always seems to feel longer than after you’ve passed through it and are looking back on the experience.

The point is we all face these storms. Every single person on the planet! You find me one person who has had nothing but smooth sailing for their entire life and I will bet you that they either have the memory span of Dory from Finding Nemo, or that they are full of it. Storms can come in all shapes and sizes in any given life span of a human. Sometimes it may feel like a light swell that is serving as a mild disruption to your afternoon thought pattern. Other times it may feel like you are coasting on the edge of a hurricane that won’t relent.

But I love this idea that Jill brings up in the pod of Holding fast and staying true. If life is one big metaphorical ship that we are all steering, then we have to keep true to ourselves and know that whatever direction we are currently steering towards is the right one. I’ve learned over time that when you want to do something good for yourself (listen to podcasts, write a blog, eat better, exercise, etc.) there will always be some nay-sayers in your life that speak out the moment you make a misstep from your original intent, they are putting you on blast or touting your perceived failures.

“I told you Keto was not a sustainable diet!”

“Wow you didn’t stick to running a 3 miles a week for very long, eh?”

“Haven’t seen you reading books during lunch like you talked about last month..”

Doesn’t it feel like that sometimes that everyone is waiting on the sidelines for you to trip up before you ever take a shot on your goal? This has happened to me too many times to count which is why I usually keep my goals in life off of my social media feed, and between my wife and I. She is my biggest supporter in every single facet of life. So she is the one person that I like to bounce my ideas off, my new goals or plans to get better in an area of life, etc.

For other people reading this, maybe you have your brother or sister, close friends, or parents to serve as your sounding board when you have a new fad that you are jumping on, working to make yourself better. Whoever it may be, give them the scoop and then don’t worry about telling others until you feel comfortable doing so.

Moving your life in a positive direction is never easy and just because you have made the decision to make such a movement, doesn’t mean you still won’t run into storms on the way to your destination. Over time you will continue to grow more and more confident in your journey and as you encounter those inevitable storms, hold fast to your compass, and stay true to your path!

Here is a small list of some of the things that I’m actively doing today in order to get better in my own daily life and start to realize the ‘me’ that I want to be:

·         Keto baby! I’ve been doing the Keto diet now for 3.5 weeks and honestly am feeling great about it. I’ve gotten used to little to no carbs (sorry bread, beer, tortillas, and pasta!!) and in the process I am down 14 lbs from 236lbs to 222lbs. Keep in mind I’m also a 6’5” man so that probably plays a role in my weight loss thus far. My energy levels are better, my heartburn is gone (YES I SAID GONE!), and I’m sleeping better with less indigestion.

·         I am of course writing for this blog as it has been an extremely rewarding effort for me to spend a little time each day thinking about my own movements in life, listening to personal development podcasts and really consider the words of each speaker carefully to formulate my own internal response, and just trying to get my thoughts on paper as a little self-induced therapy. Funny how writing/talking about our dreams and aspirations can be incredibly rewarding as it seems to keep my eye on the prize and allows for me to maintain consistency and motivation in my daily walk through self-improvement.

·         Plugging into real communities within your local area and taking some time off from Facebook/Twitter as well as just overall cutting back on idle TV time/social media surfing time. It’s a small but easy change that is freeing up my evening time after work for more productive means such as cooking dinner for my family (I just slow cooked some delicious ribs in the last week), spending time playing with my daughter and reading books, and keeping clear of distractions to open up more time for conversation with my wife about life as a whole and the direction we are headed as a family.

None of these things are insanely time consuming or difficult but the culmination of all of these small changes in my daily habits is giving me more time, more energy, and a greater appreciation for my family and this journey we are collectively on.

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Check out my post "Re-Writing Your Self Narrative" if you are interested in learning more about evaluating your own actions and perception and making the changes to become the best version of you!

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