Friday, April 18, 2014
Brave, Roar, and Let It Go: Power Songs, Mantras, or Both?
We all have power songs: those that get us going in the morning or motivate us during hard moments. For me, a lot of songs remind me of certain moments in my life: good, bad, ugly/challenging. Some ultimate become too painful to listen to or bring bad too much. Others are a reminder of celebrations or milestones or overcoming significant obstacles.
The Killers "All These Things I've Done" (and a montage of Joan Benoit Samuelson winning the 1984 Olympic marathon, which is no longer on YouTube) was what I listened to before my first BQ at the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon.
The Black Eyed Peas "I've got a feeling" was my go-to song before my first Boston Marathon.
"The Story" by Brandi Carlisle was before my pr of 3:27 at the best Boston ever - 2011.
But other songs represent life PRs too. In 2012, I was really struggling with my dissertation proposal, and I remember listening to "Let me be your star" from the TV show Smash. There was a lyric about remembering the difficult moments, and I remember telling myself that someday that that pain and self doubt would be erased when it passed, and it did the following year.
Lately, there isn't a lot to write about in regards to running. I'm just trying to stay in decent shape, and in the fall I'll get back to more frequent racing and chasing PRs. I am just trying to chase good dissertation writing. I was pleased to find out that I earned a small grant to travel to conduct some research at the international Marian research institute. This was the first one I've ever won, and I cried when I found out.
I don't know what it is or how to explain it, but I can often be crippled with self-doubt. I have questioned my abilities at every stage of my graduate career. Every stage. Not self-effacing doubt or just trying to be humble, but truly questioning my ability to reach the next level. There is always a period of painful questions and "negative chatter" in my head. I can vividly recall these, and in moments of victory, I remember these moments too. Perhaps it is so I never attempt to cruise or slide to the next benchmark. I'm at a middle point right now - far into my project, but the finish line (the Ph.D.) is still probably 2 years away. What are my 3 go-to songs right now?
Brave by Sara Bareilles
Roar by Katy Perry
Let it go by Idina Menzel from Frozen
You don't need to be a shrink to see what I'm craving - strong motivational songs to keep going about my power, strength, capabilities.
They'll remind me to keep my head down and plug away. I can't wait to be at this finish line and have this all be a distant memory.
Last week, I was listening to a podcast interview with Dave McGivalry, the race director of the Boston Marathon. He had a lot of sage advice to give on perseverance and dedication, but one quote really stuck with me (and a quick google search confirmed that this is one of his major go-tos): "the walls of intimidation are crumbling." He was saying that people are increasingly gaining confidence and not letting others' opinions or their own get in the way. So, a big part of this process of writing the dissertation is crumbling, or really smashing my own wall of intimidation. Because it's not just about getting to the finish line, but recognizing the progress made along the way and standing on the rubble of doubts and losses and recognizing the victories.
Let it go, be brave, and ROAR!