Monday, April 20, 2015

Process of Excellence

It's been a long road to get to my Black Belt test.  You've heard me talk about it a lot lately.  And now it's finally done.  Well, the test is done.  The anticipation is done.  The waiting, agonizing over flaws, torturing myself about perceived insufficiency, practice, evaluation, more practice, more evaluation and tweaking...are never really done.  It's a process and we don't just hand out belts like candy.  That's part of why it will be such an honor to get a black belt.

Unfortunately, I don't have my black belt yet.  I have just completed my test.  My paper is done and turned in (before Thanksgiving, thank you very much--all 55 pages!).  I honestly don't even know if I passed.  I won't know for a while, at least.  My guess is a month or so.  I'm hoping it's not much longer than that, but I don't know.  That is not in my control.

I once read a karate pin that went something like this:
     Student: Professor, how long does it take the average person to get his black belt?
     Professor: The average person doesn't earn his black belt.

This has been and continues to be a process of excellence.  I am not excellent every time, and many times I haven't been.  I am so much harder on myself than anyone else could ever be, but I want it to be perfect.  Perfect is just not attainable--but excellence is.  Excellence is attainable, but it doesn't happen overnight.  It's hard work, that I think most people are not willing to put in.  I believe that most people want the results of excellence by putting in average effort.  It doesn't work that way.  That's why it's excellence.  Average is the cream of the crap, and that's not enough for me.

Yesterday morning I woke up at 4:30 a.m.  That's not a far stretch for me.  I normally wake up at 4:30 a.m., but had actually planned to sleep until 6:30 a.m. yesterday.  (I am blessed with the ability to sleep even when I'm stressed.  Crazy, I know, but I'll take it.) Yesterday, my stomach was in knots and my mind just wanted to go over things...just one more time.  So I got up, made my coffee and sat down to study...just one more time.  It was good.  My mind was relatively quiet as I focused on my moves in my head: good form, fluid motion, intensity, crispness, power, speed.  Then my mind would lurch over to some craziness that has never happened.  Stop.  Pray.  Refocus on what I want to see.  Then I kept jumping around and around.  Stop.  PRAY.  Cry.  Pray some more.  I had friends praying for me.  They have been covering me in prayer.  It was such an amazing gift.  I was able to claim God's words for me as I went into my test.  The last text I received before I began my test was this from one of my dear friends,

    "'We say with confidence, the Lord is my helper: I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?' Hebrews 13:6...praying for you today." That is what was on my mind as I began.  So amazing!  I heard God's promises to me as I faced this task that was daunting, and He gave me His perfect peace that surpasses all understanding.  In  other words, there is no reason why I should have had any peace.  I was doubting myself.  I was doubting my ability to just physically get through the test.  But God gave me peace, and you know what?  I rocked it.  I really did.  I made a few mistakes, but I didn't get stuck there.  I didn't dwell on it.  I kept moving.  I kept pushing.  Just one more technique.  Just one more time.  I did it, but only with God's help.  Seriously.

He blessed us with a beautiful, clear sky and perfect temperatures.  We had to run outside and it was fantastic--which for me to say it was fantastic for running...I can't even explain it.  I've just never been a super fan of running; I'll put it that way.  Anyway, it was perfect. And now it's done.  The one thing that I really feel was so much a God thing, is my attitude during the whole thing.  He blessed me with peace, but I was actually excited to be there once we started.  I was so relieved that I actually got excited about it.  It was such an amazing blessing!  It was a privilege and an honor to test for my black belt.

I know this post has been a little longer than usual.  It's just been welling up inside me for a while now, and I actually reined it in a bit...I may or may not be done talking about this.  Thanks for hanging with me on this one.

 UL fairytale pink


What have you been facing that is intimidating or terrifying?  What can you do to help conquer it?  I'd love to hear about it below in the comments.

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