Athletes driven by self motivation are absolutely incredible to watch on the ninja course. Zhanique Lovett is one of these awe-inspiring athletes, because she competes with her whole heart. American Ninja Warrior Season 9 was her breakthrough rookie season. In this season, she proved to herself that a dream she thought was impossible, could actually become reality by training her hardest and having faith in her abilities. Since there were no ninja gyms by her at the time and she wanted to be on American Ninja Warrior, she focused on lifting, running, and living out a healthy lifestyle. Finally, when a ninja gym opened up, she was ready to take the first step towards her dreams.
In the podcast, Zhanique talks about being humbled the first time she tried out ninja obstacles. Truth be told, ninja athletes often make obstacles look easy. However, this simply is a representation of an athlete’s continuous dedication and hard work to get stronger. “Ninja is specific, and unique. It doesn’t come easy and natural.”
This is one of the best aspects of ninja warrior: what you put in is what you get out.
Zhanique’s athletic journey is inspiring because it is a story of self-motivation. With her dream of ninja warrior determined, she increased her ninja-focused training in the gym. However, when it came time to apply for season 9 of ANW, Zhanique admits being hesitant. Her gym owner encouraged her to apply, yet, the fear of rejection was ever-present. She was nervous that the American Ninja Warrior producers would say they didn’t want her on the show.
With the due date of the Season 11 applications rolling around the corner, I believe this universal fear of rejection is something we should talk about. Even if you are a confident person, there is often still that little negative voice inside of you saying not to try or that you don’t have what it takes.
We are internally asking ourselves: What if i put my whole self out there, and I’m rejected? What if this rejection is a definition of who I am?
The reality is that fear of rejection is innate in our human nature, but we can’t let it stop us. Becoming self-motivated requires that you learn how to turn off your negative voice and amp up the positive one; it means pushing harder and giving it your all even if you don’t know the outcome. Do your best, forget the rest, and focus on who you want to become. Zhanique says, “Allow yourself to have fun and be the best you can be. When you do that, there’s no restriction to yourself.” Give yourself permission to give it your all without punishing yourself for an unknown outcome.
“Be that person 30 years from now, laughing with your friends how you almost didn’t go, you almost said no. You almost let your worry and doubt get the best of you. Then you took a step back, and you remembered what matters, (“Almost” by Your World Within). These are a few inspirational lines from my favorite 3-minute motivational speech (that can be found on Spotify and YouTube) that I feel speak so true to our fear of rejection and unknown outcomes. I encourage you to take a step towards your dreams today in the most courageous way possible. Zhanique almost didn’t apply to season 9. She almost said ‘no’, but she remembered her dreams were what mattered. Without this step of faith in the direction of her dreams, Zhanique never would have started her American Ninja Warrior journey. She never would have ended up as another exquisite returnee competitor on season 10 of ANW either. With this in mind, Ninjababes, keep trying and keep putting yourself out there, because it will pay off. You will find your way. Your decision to say ‘yes’ to your big dreams in small moments, can truly change the course of your life.
To continue on a journey of self-motivation, Zhanique advises us to “find what you really love to do and just throw yourself into that. Pour everything into what you love to do and strive to be your best.” Set small goals for areas of change, and overtime these small goals turn into large changes. “Each goal that you meet will boost your confidence and your self-esteem. Then build off those goals.” Be patient, be passionate, be persistent.
Zhanique also discusses how self-motivation can’t be fueled without self-care. After battling anorexia and insecurities, Zhanique decided to see a counselor. Counseling helped transform her life in tremendous ways and it is one type of self-care that she recommends to others. Taking care of our inner athlete, our mental, and emotional health is one of the most important things that we can invest in. Take care of your mind like you would take care of your body.
With all this being said, let Zhanique’s story of self-motivation inspire you to start your own story. Use your inner passion to fuel your personal fire. And remember, “almost” doesn’t have to be your outcome. You can do this.
Blog Written By Janelle Kopa