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Athlete of the Month – Patty S

May 2nd, 2018
As a health coach, I study change psychology, why some people are able to change and achieve their health goals while others are stuck and never do. Research shows that those that succeed have one characteristic in common: GRIT! Grit is defined as passion and perseverance for long term goals. Talent doesn’t make you gritty. Grit is having stamina for the future and living life like a marathon, not a sprint. Grit matters. Grit requires a growth mindset. Grit can be built. Every. Single. Day. People with grit don’t fear or get defeated by failure, they embrace it and it propels them forward. They are willing to fail, be wrong, and start over again with strong lessons learned. When I think of GRIT, I think of our May Athlete of the Month, Patty S. She is one of the grittiest women I know! She’s badass…..and I love working with badass women. They inspire me!!!!

I hope you enjoy learning about Patty as much as I did.

Tell me why strength is important to you.

Life can be emotionally hard and physically demanding – and if you’re lucky, the road is long. You need to do whatever you can to move the pendulum in your direction, keep the wind at your back. That’s where strength comes in, but I think it is often not fully understood. It is not one dimensional. It is not just picking heavy shit up off the floor – although let’s face it – that’s pretty damn cool! Strength is physical, mental, emotional, supportive and full of confidence and of good character. Strength is being strong enough to pick up that bar off the floor, but even more important, it’s walking up to the bar even when you think you can’t lift it and still trying. Being strong is being willing to fail. Being kind, vulnerable, emotional and generous are signs of strength, not weaknesses. Caring shows strength. Strength is being strong when others can’t. Coach often talks about mental toughness which is just another word for strength. When my middle son Sam was just five or six years old he wrote on a tiny piece of paper – ‘It is your spirit that gives you your strongness’. I love that and I still have that paper. Strength is spirit.

When I think of women that exude GRIT or PERSEVERANCE, I think of YOU. Have you always been determined to achieve your goals in life? Were you always athletic and competitive?

Yes, I have always been a very determined, tenacious, driven woman. When people say that perfect is the enemy of good I always think – What? Who doesn’t want perfect? Who wants to settle for good? What’s wrong with great? “Good is the enemy of great.” I do hail from a very competitive and determined family – a family that has achieved a lot – but I think much of my drive comes from my Mother. She was a single Mom raising four children under 10 and I was the oldest girl. She worked two jobs so I kind of took over as the Mom mainly taking care of my younger sisters. She was determined so I was determined. She was an inspiration. She would do anything and everything and did, to keep body and soul together for all of us. She is as tenacious as the day is long. She has lived with us for 10 years (This is how I really know how tenacious she is!) and she will be 90 this month on the 29th. She still goes to the YMCA three days a week for water aerobics! And no, I was never very athletic. I never participated in any sports. I danced for 12 years. (that explains the extreme hamstring flexibility) I started running when I was 30 and my husband Jim and I ran our first marathon in Chicago in 2007 when I was 52. I really didn’t care about the marathon but I did raise $5K on my own for Autism Awareness. I was proud of that. My three sons and husband however, are extremely athletic. I never did any of the kinds of lifting and things we do at TGA until three years ago. And yes, I say I am an athlete NOW!

How does it feel to be a STRONG MOM and role model to your 3 boys?

There is nothing in life that I love more than that and it’s hard as hell and I work at it every day. I hope they think I am a STRONG Mom and role model. I know I’ve learned so much from them. I have strived to teach them everything I said about strength — to be kind, generous and to care enough, work hard, do your best and to give a damn. And I have tried to say that in my actions. I have a saying that I love in my office – ‘Give a damn. Give lots of damns. More than anyone.’ (Alexis Ohanian) I hope for nothing more than to have gained their love and respect. One of my son’s did say to me – ‘Uh, Mom – you could stand to have just a little less give a shit!’ Apparently they noticed. And by the way I could not have done any of it without the support of Jim, my hubby of 30 years who is the strongest and kindest man I know. Period.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the TGA Team?

I absolutely LOVE everything about TGA. (OK, full disclosure. I do not love high pikes.) But what I love most is being a part of that team. I am so lucky to have found TGA. Coach T has done an incredible job at making the environment at TGA a place of competitiveness but not at the price of exclusion. To the contrary, it is a place of inclusion. My husband Jim has said much about my transformation over the past three years – Physically and emotionally. He speaks about my confidence and my pride about what I’ve accomplished. That’s all T and TGA. Every day I am there, it is as important to me that I succeed as it is my team mates succeed. At my age, I am never going to lift the heaviest weights but I do try hard to help the rest perform as well as they can. I am so inspired by all the young women and how much they do and I try my best to inspire them in my own way and cheer them on and encourage them. I have learned to channel my mental toughness at TGA. Funny story: Elise and I are often competing in the same group. I think it’s safe to say that we are competitive with each other. Last month during PR testing, I made my overhead press goal but Elise did as well and then went on to lift even more. Her husband Dick said she was elated saying “I beat Patty!” I thought that was awesome! I was thrilled for her. And just so you know, Elise, I claimed part of that victory for myself. :>). That’s TGA. I have never been involved in any other place quite like it. I know I am not the strongest version of myself yet – but I am surely quite improved in many, many ways! Thanks Coach T!

I dwell In Possibility. Emily Dickinson

Thank you Patty for all that you bring to TGA. We love your grit, kindness, and generosity.


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