Written by Olympia Watts, a brown belt out of Gracie Barra Texas

You can be physically prepared as you’ll ever be but without the correct mindset you have nothing.

I woke up excited and ready to do what I had to do. Had my coffee and was feeling relaxed and focused. The normal routine of preparing myself for the day was happening just as any other time.

I found myself breathing a little heavier and my heart began to race faster and faster. I thought “man that’s some good coffee”. Wait I drink coffee every day. That’s not it.
Took some deep breathes. Ok. That’s normal. It’s normal to have those feelings of being nervous or anxious. It’s actually good because it keeps us on our toes. However, this time it was different. I couldn’t shake it off. Palms began to sweat and this unexplainable feeling of shrinking began to take over. My mind had started creating a snowball effect as to why I didn’t deserve to be there. I began to think of all the reasons why I wasn’t good enough to be where I was. I started counting all the times I’ve failed and quickly I found myself doubting everything. I had gone from confident and excitement to fear and doubts in a matter of minutes. I looked around and sat down. I kept telling myself “hold it together everyone is counting on you”. The silly (not so silly at the moment it was happening) thought of letting everyone down began to consume me. I tried to breathe through it and ground myself. With no one around me to distract my thoughts or help me submit these thoughts I had in my head….I broke down.

It was one of the hardest and self doubting moments I ever had. The thought of not coming out of my room crossed my mind many times.

I sat in silence and tried my best to refocus and to change the chaos going on in my head.
At this point I had no appetite and I actually was feeling nauseous.

I reached for my phone and began to read all the encouraging messages I had from my family and teammates. I read some more than once. I began to feel a little bit of relief. I closed my eyes and laid back for a bit. My thoughts became clear. I reminded myself that I have people who look up to me and I can’t quit because that’s not something I believe in. How could I quit myself and those who look up to me when I preach and encourage everyone around me to never quit? I took my own advice and decided to keep fighting and to keep pushing forward.

I managed to collect myself and walk out. The self doubt was always there but the moment I chose to raise my head, wipe my tears, and walk out was the moment I conquered my anxiety and fears.

I met some amazing women. I had a great conversation with a sweet lady I look up to a lot. We agreed how you are your own worst critic and how difficult it is to beat your thoughts once you’ve started spiraling down on yourself. We also spoke about how important having true friends and genuine people who give you support and love is.

I truly admire all the women I met that night. All warriors. Watching them made me proud to be a woman doing this sport. Empowerment is what I felt.

I’m more than grateful I have this support and love from those who care. I’m keeping them in my life for as long as I can because they have no idea how much their encouragement helped me out that day. I truly appreciate each and everyone out there who reached out. Believe it or not y’all helped.

Anxiety and over thinking is no joke. Your thoughts can either make you or break you. If you feel like you’re breaking yourself down reach out to someone. Don’t allow space for these negative thoughts in your head. Remember that there is always someone out there looking up to you. Be your own superhero in your mind and in your heart!