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  • Writer's pictureHeather Anne

You Don't Know How Strong You Are... But I Know How Strong You Are

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

The MMA gym where I take kick boxing has inspirational signs all over the walls. They help me concentrate and focus when I think I can't go any further. Today I read this sign over and over because today.... there was a moment when I quit.

I did not quit the gym. It wasn't that drastic.

I mentally quit.

I quit believing in myself at a time during the workout that I needed to stay mentally strong. I quit thinking that I am powerful. My mental state of quitting affected my body's ability to do what I was supposed to do in class.

This article is ©2017 Heather Anne at Heather Anne Art and Soul. All rights reserved. See my copyright notice here.

My coach, Jerry Wetzel has these Yoda moments, and when he does I post about them on Facebook. Today's Yoda moment was so powerful for me, it deserved a whole blog post.

Today was a big milestone day for me. It was the first time I felt strong enough to do kick boxing four days in a row. Because it's an MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym (B.J.J. for short), the work outs are intense. They are not fitness style work outs. They are martial arts training.

I looked at Coach Jerry last class as I was doing Crickets, in which you get into push up position and spring on all fours across the mat, still maintaining a push up position, and I said, "You really know how to push me past my limits!' He just laughed and told me to keep going.

That day I kept going, but today I did not.

We do rotations in class where people take turns on equipment or doing exercises. A group of people might be on the bags doing punching and kicking drills while the other half of the class is on the mats doing core work or jumping rope.

Today's drills consisted of half of us on the bags and the other half doing varying types of squats using the heavy 45 pound metal bar.

Coach Jerry told us we could either put the bar up over our heads onto our shoulders or hold it across the top of our chest with our elbows up.

I got scared that the bar would be too heavy to lift over my head. Scenarios ran through my mind of me trying to lift the bar and dropping it on my head, me getting the bar over my head but getting stuck and not being able to lift it back. Every image in my mind of that bar ended with me getting injured and I psyched myself out.

When it was my turn to do squats, I lifted it up to my chest with difficulty. I had decided there was no way I was putting it over my head to my shoulders. I had mentally quit.

Coach Jerry told me to put my elbows up and I couldn't. Feeling a bit defeated, hanging on for dear life to that bar cradled in the crook of my arms, I told him it was too heavy.

Jerry said, "Heather look straight ahead and focus."

So I looked straight ahead and he started talking to me as I struggled through the exercise. He said, "Heather you are a mom. You carry your kids. You carry bags of stuff. You carry dance equipment. You carry groceries. You can carry this."

Then he spoke LIFE into me. I have talked before about speaking life into yourself and others. Words have POWER. Your thoughts, which are just words in your head, have POWER.

Proverbs 18:21 says Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

I'm still struggling through these squats with that heavy bar on my chest, trying to get my elbows up, and Jerry is still talking to me.

He said, "Heather, you don't know how strong you are. I know how strong you are and I'm going to show you how strong you are, but you don't believe it yet."

I went to the bags and I let those words sift over in my mind. I made the DECISION that I was going to put that bar up over my head onto my shoulders. I had QUIT during the first round and I was not going to quit this time. I changed the drama playing in my head and imagined myself strong holding the bar.

I changed my dialogue in my mind and told myself that worst case scenario Coach Jerry or another student would help me out and spot me if they had to.

Before I got very sick from undiagnosed celiac and then adrenal insufficiency, I was a hard core athlete. I had done plenty of weight lifting and body building workouts, so I knew HOW to get that bar onto my shoulders. I had just made a decision that I couldn't do it.

I squatted down and grabbed the bar with arms spread wide. I swooped up and forced it into position above my head. Then I lowered it onto my shoulders and started doing split squats.

It HURT. My shoulders were screaming. My calves were on fire. I kept that NO QUITTING dialogue going in my head and I refused to back down. I looked at that sign and concentrated on it. I kept going until the set was done.


My physical strength was never the problem!


We did another round, and on that third round, I hoisted that bad boy up there and did my other side of split squats.

You might not be where I am right now, trying to lift 45 pounds bench press bars over your head. The picture I posted for this article says, "I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday. Never quit."

Maybe right now, you're at get off the couch and walk up the street. When I got out of the hospital after 10 days in a cardiac unit to make sure my heart didn't stop because adrenal crisis almost took my life, guess what... walking laps around the living room was where I was at.

No matter if you are laying in bed sick right now and just spending a whole day out of bed is a goal for you (yes I was there, too during my recovery) you must NOT mentally quit!

Keep fighting the mental fight and DEMAND MORE OF YOURSELF. I promise if you fight that battle waging in your mind, my pixie dust loving friends, your body will respond.

Every single step you take on the road to wellness, whether it's emotional wellness, physical wellness, mental wellness or all of them, is one step closer to your goal. But if you give up in your mind you won't take the steps.


Heather Anne says so and so does Yoda. So does Coach Jerry and he is amazing.

"Do or do not. There is no try." -Yoda

This article is ©2020 Heather Anne at Heather Anne Art and Soul. All rights reserved. See my copyright notice here.

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