"I'm going to win this for you." That is what I whispered into my little sisters ear on August 28th, 2019; right before I left for Pittsburgh to compete in the North American Bodybuilding Championships. Patrice was laying inside of University of Michigan's Critical Care Unit right after an unsuccessful surgery. She wasn't awake, but even though her eyes were closed and having a tube down her throat, I knew she could hear me. "I'm going to win this for you, Patrice. Keep fighting like I will fight on that stage for you." I was going through an abundance of emotions. Should I really go and leave her like this? What if she dies while I'm in Pittsburgh? What if she calls for me and I'm not there? Even though I put in all that work and prep for 1 year, being at the hospital was much more important.
Flashback to 2015. My father was in the same situation. I was training for the North American Bodybuilding Championships when my father fell ill. He was a week from going into hospice care. Sitting with him and talking, he knew how important getting my pro card was for me. We talked about it daily. I told him that I couldn't go. I told him that seeing him like this has caused me to lose all motivation and to focus only on him. My father being a man of God and minister all my life, he would always find a way to use religion to explain things. He told me, "Pete, regardless if I'm sick or not, I will always be in your heart. Pete, this is just my physical body, I'm just renting it until it's my time to go. You need to continue with life, you need to continue with your goals, because life WILL test you!" You can imagine, I didn't want to hear any of that. Of course I knew this, but now I'm dealing with it. This is MY father who was dying, this is MY life that will change forever if he's not here. Those motivational, emotional, heartfelt quotes you read about on social media like, "Keep fighting and working toward your goals regardless..." do not apply to me. I need to be here with him. One week before he died he told me that I better compete and I better win. He said that these things are going to happen throughout our lives. He said that the easiest thing to do is fall into a pit of sadness and give up, but don't because no matter what, life WILL test you.
I didn't compete in 2015. I did exactly what my father told me not to do. I was sad, hurt, depressed, and just gave up on almost everything. I put all of my goals on a long hold.
Fast forward back to August 28th, 2019. I knew in my heart that my sisters time was coming. I was going through the same emotions as when my father was dying. I had 2 choices. I could give up on my dreams, or I could accomplish my dreams. What allowed me to keep pushing and working towards my goal of getting my pro-card and compete at the North American's was knowing my sister wanted me to win almost as much as I did. Was knowing that I cannot control what could have, would have, or should have happened. Was knowing that life WILL test you...regardless.
I was blessed to compete in the toughest competition of my life. I did win my IFBB Pro Card and I was blessed to come home and tell Patrice about it, she was off the breathing tube and was able to communicate with me. When I told her that "I got it" we both cried together. She was so proud of me. I was able to spend another month with her before she died.
This is only an example of what I'm trying to say to you in this blog. Life WILL test you. Life will cause you to fall, quit, give up, and forget why you started. The key is knowing that we all will have rough times; we all will want to give up, but we all need to remember why we started. Sickness will happen, death will happen, we will lose jobs, relationships, friendships. Money will come and go; our cars will break down, but remember those are true tests. Tests determining how strong you really are. They will continue to happen as long as you're on this earth. Know that you need to find a way to keep pushing, keep striving for those goals. Instead of making excuses, just make it happen!
When those times come (because they will) remember life WILL test you, so fight to the best of your ability to stay dedicated and consistent!