When I was younger I used to take my mom’s video camera she bought at a garage sale and make homemade videos. The video cameras back then were the size of your head and almost took two people to hold. Whether it was creating Oprah shows or Herbal Essence commercials, I thought I was destined to be an actress.
Well, spoiler alert, I never became an actress. However, I did receive the opportunity to compete on an episode of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge (BSC) on CMT. Yes, the same guy who was a former WWE wrestler and was infamous for yelling, “I’ll open up a can of whoop-ass on you!” has his own reality TV show. What a time to be alive! But in all seriousness, my experience on Broken Skull Challenge was something I’ll never forget for more reasons than one.
I applied to be on the show in the spring of 2016 when I lived in Iowa, and my roommates and I would binge watch episodes of the show. One day, while watching an episode, I got a wild hair and decided to apply to be on the show. Fast forward to the summer, the show gave me a call and asked if I would like to do a Skype interview with them for my casting call. I went ahead and completed a Skype interview with them but I didn’t end up getting chosen for Season 4. Then, jump ahead to May of 2017, and I received a random call on my phone from the Broken Skull casting crew asking if I would like to re-cast again for Season 5. So, of course I didn’t hesitate in jumping on this opportunity. With the help of Web, I was able to submit updated videos of myself working out at EAD | CFAH and I was on to the next steps of the process.
Once I submitted updated videos of myself and signed all of the paperwork I needed, the BSC casting crew informed me that I was a semi-finalist. Weeks went by and I heard nothing but crickets until one Sunday afternoon. I was actually back in Iowa playing in an alumni volleyball game at my alma mater and the BSC casting crew called me and asked if I would be able to fly out the next morning to be on an episode of Broken Skull Challenge. That’s right, I had less than 12 hours to head back to Iowa, pack my belongings, explain this odd situation to my supervisor, and catch a flight to Los Angeles. The BSC crew apologized for the last-minute request, but they were also covering my airfare, hotel, and food for the two days I would be in Los Angeles so I really couldn’t complain.
I wasn’t even in LA for a full 48 hours filming for the show, but I can tell you that every minute there was worth the controlled chaos. I, of course, had fun filming and competing on the show. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a once in a lifetime opportunity? More importantly, I now have a really fun fact to share about myself when I’m at an office holiday party and they play those “get-to-know-your-coworker” games (those are the worst). I most definitely had an exciting two days in LA, and I came back with one heck of a story. Through this crazy experience, I also learned a lot about myself and about life in general. I don’t want to get too sentimental and cheesy on you, but it truly was one of those unforgettable experiences that taught me a little about living and reminded me to pause every once in a while to reflect. So, here it goes:
Own Your Awesome. There are going to be moments in life where you just need to own your awesome. I heard a former colleague of mine, Megan Watt, use this phrase during a presentation and it stuck with me ever since. You don’t have to be an Olympic gold medalist to give yourself a pat on the back or credit yourself for your accomplishments. As humans, we are our own worst critics. Most often, someone is going to be stronger, faster or tougher than you. However, that doesn’t mean we should forget to give ourselves credit for putting in the hard work and accomplishing our goals. Even if our accomplishments aren’t breaking world records or making headlines in the Chicago Tribune, we are all great in our own capacities. We need to give ourselves a little credit every once in a while for showing up, putting on our game faces, grinding it out and not freaking quitting.
Embrace the Suck. I’m not sure how many hours I was into my first 13 hour GoRuck Challenge when I heard my cadre yell, “Embrace the suck!” I wanted to quit so bad, but I listened to him and I ended up exceeding mental and physical limits I never knew were in me. It isn’t the vacations to the Bahamas or those unforgettable bachelorette party weekends with your best friends that teach you grit and test your limits. Sure, those times are fun, but you don’t really learn what’s valuable or important to you during those comfortable and Instagram-worthy moments. It’s those difficult moments in life, those moments when you are truly tested. In those exact moments are when you truly understand how strong and capable you are both mentally, emotionally, and physically. When things get tough, punch life in the face and embrace the suck no matter how impossible the task at hand seems or how big your opponent might appear.
Capitalize on Opportunities. Sure, there are opportunities that you will be presented with in life that you probably want to pass up because the internet never forgets. However, for many other opportunities, it’s important to capitalize. There might be uncertainty, uneasiness and a few calls to friends and family asking, “Should I really do this?” But all-in-all, life is too short not to take chances and truly experience and feel all that there is to life. Remind yourself to take a chance here or there because it might open up even bigger doors to greatness.
Head Up, Shoulders Back. I haven’t always been the most confident person in life. I was always one of the tiniest kids growing up, which undoubtedly affected my self-confidence. Athletics, especially lifting weights/CrossFit, was always my outlet where I felt most confident and comfortable with myself. Whether it’s CrossFit, playing the piano, or even cooking, whatever it may be, find a positive outlet for yourself that continues to build your confidence and feeds your inner drive to be better and do better. No matter how good or bad you are at a certain hobby, find something that gets you out of bed in the morning, find something that challenges you and find something that will always be the one constant thing in your life you can count because life if bound to hand you lemons every once in a while. Find something that builds your confidence and reminds you to put your head up, shoulders back and shows the world that you’re not afraid.
Find Your People. You’ll meet thousands of people in your life and maybe even hundreds of thousands. However, there will be an elite few who will form your utmost inner circle and help transform you into a better human. One of my favorite quotes is by Anne Lamott: “The reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day.” Find yourself some people you can trust to give you a high-five during those bad ass life accomplishments. But in reality, find yourself a group of people who will be there to peel you off the ground when you’re having a bad day, week, month, or even year. Find those people who can call when you’ve had a good shower cry. Without my family, friends, partner, and even the EAD | CFAH crew, I wouldn’t have obtained a morsel of the success I’ve experienced in various arenas of my life without them (whether you know it or not). Give yourself a high-five when you’ve found success, but don’t forget to thank the people who helped get you there because if you look around, it wasn’t just you who found success on your own…it takes a village of people.
With that, I hope you all tune in on Tuesday, October 17th at 10/9 CST on CMT to see me battle it out on an episode of Broken Skull Challenge. I might have been born small… but I was raised to fight tall. And lastly, in keeping with the WWE theme, I’ll leave you with a Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson quote: “Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.”