"Trust the Process" by Ruth Genota
Ruth Genota is a full-time pharmaceutical engineer and part-time olympic weightlifter. She was born in the Philippines and was raised in Los Angeles and is passionate about health and nutrition. She loves educating people about having a more sustainable and healthy relationship with food and is hoping to grow the #truthaboutfood movement. She dreams about becoming a national level olympic weightlifter and you can follow Ruth on Instagram to keep updated along her journey!
Insecurity can take many forms. From beauty to intelligence to ability to finances or opportunity, we all suffer different strains of insecurity. It is in our innate being to compare ourselves to others, especially now.
We live in the social media era. We post most if not ALL of our life’s highlights on different social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Don’t get me wrong, social media is an incredible platform to share with the world who you are, but it also provides a window of criticism. It becomes a crippling medium of insecurity. It has become a tool for people like myself to compare their highs to my maybe sometimes mundane life or my life’s lows.
Insecurity came to me at an early age. Growing up in a Filipino household and raised as a first generation immigrant, mediocrity was never an option. A’s were standard and A-’s were considered failures. “There’s no other option, but to be perfect.” This has been programmed into my brain since kindergarten where my mom ingrained it that being at the top of my class is the only goal.
As I grew older and pursued my college degree, then my career, and now the sport of Olympic Weightlifting, that need to be perfect or at the TOP became my Achilles heel. “Why am I not good enough?” “Why am I not hitting the numbers I SHOULD be hitting?” “Why is that girl lifting heavier than me and she weighs lighter than I do?” “Why is that guy lifting heavier than me, I started way before he did.” “Why is she making more money than me, I studied harder in school..” “Why is she super successful? She didn’t even go to college.” “What am I doing with my life?” etcetera. By constantly questioning my ability, intelligence, and talent, doubt started to eat away at me. I started not to enjoy going to work because I would constantly question my worth. I started to get anxiety before training for Weightlifting because I would “fail and fail” over and over. I definitely had weeks of just really bad training. My technique was falling apart. My body wasn’t responding to my coach’s cues. Nothing clicked.
Weeks away from what would be my qualifying meet for American Open Finals in December, I wanted to compete as a 58kg/127lb weightlifter. Training wasn’t going great and I was stuck at 59kg/129lb bodyweight. 2 lb weightloss in a couple weeks may not be a lot, but I knew myself. I was already not doing well during training and I doubted that I would get that weight off. Fast forward to the day before the meet, I cut out all of my water intake and was extremely dehydrated to “make weight” to my weight class. I ended up weighing in at around 57.8kg… which was good, but I. WAS. STARVING. (Side note: If you are planning to compete at a higher level, starvation and dehydration are probably not the best prerequisites to lifting at maximum effort).
The first half of my qualifying meet went well. I hit a good snatch and I just need to hit a solid clean & jerk. The lift that is more my forte and that I can essentially do in my sleep. As soon as I stepped onto the platform, I looked at the barbell and I automatically panicked. My first thought was “this looks heavy…” I attempt, NO LIFT. I started to give myself a little pep talk, “you do this lift all the time Ruth. This lift is textbook to you. Come on.” Attempt #2, NO LIFT. “Why does it feel so heavy? This weight is nothing to me. If I don’t lift this, I’ve failed. I’m a failure.” Attempt #3, NO LIFT.
A heavy cloud weighed over me after that last attempt and I couldn’t understand why I didn’t get it. This was something I did EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’ve worked on myself so much, yet there wasn’t any result.
Couple days later my coach approached me and asked me why I was there. “Why do you weightlift?” … I couldn’t answer. I don’t know why. “Because it’s fun? Because I love it? It teaches me a lot about myself” I answered. He smiled. I paused and thought a lot with what I just said. I made this sport that I loved so much because it requires so much work and so much crafting a burden to me. Instead of it giving me the freedom to express myself, I let it cripple me.
Why do I love weightlifting? It’s not a popular sport because it’s a sport that requires grunt work, technique, aggression, grace, and patience. I may have stopped loving it because I let my insecurities overshadow my love for it. Weightlifting is the type of sport that no matter how great you are, there is ALWAYS room for improvement and there is ALWAYS more weight to be lifted. It’s one of the most humbling sports anyone can be a part of.
Weightlifting has taught me to love the process. Not just the process of training for competition, but in every aspect of life. It has taught me to LOVE the Middle. It’s easy to start something and it’s always glamorous to end a journey, but the MIDDLE is the hardest to enjoy. It has taught me that no matter how talented you are or accomplished you may be, there is always room for growth and you can always get better. And on the other hand, if you are having the worst training session or worst training week, month, or even a valley in your life, remember that there is always a new training session, there is always a new morning, there will be a rainbow after the rain.
Now, every time I approach my barbell, I tell myself, “every lift counts. It’s either you make it here or you learn from here. There are no failures.” I no longer have bad training days or bad days. It’s either I have an amazing day or that day was a great opportunity to learn. We can’t let failure be any more than just “information for the next time.” This might sound cheesy I know, but if we approach our circumstances in life with that kind of attitude (that we can conquer anything), anything is possible.
We have to treat ourselves like professionals. We are the professional versions of ourselves. Everyday is an opportunity for us to become the best version of ourselves no matter what the situation is… whether you’re an athlete, just working out, a student pursuing their degree, starting your career, or have been in your career for a long time.
Don’t let insecurities take control of your life. Nothing is in limited supply. Just because someone else is succeeding, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to. It’s all a process. There’s a saying that says, “it’s not that you’re not getting there, it’s that you’re not patient enough.” Trust the process. Stop looking to the right or to the left because you might miss out on what’s in front of you.