"You got one left in you. Let's go!"
Famous words said by personal trainers and coaches to help their clients embrace the challenge of growth by reigniting that waning flame within. Often, we will feel like we have nothing left in us. At that point, we've reached our current potential, and to grow, that potential must be elevated to a new level, just one level up. And, despite being physically and mentally exhausted, that single, additional push for one more rep, one more step forward, makes you feel like a new and more resilient person.
A few days ago, I was sitting in my car, parked in front of a bakery, where I had just purchased some fresh, crispy, butter croissants. While in the store, I couldn't help but notice the assortment of doughnuts, filled with jam, custard, or chocolate, in the display case. A sign that Chanukah (or Hanukkah), the Festival of Lights, is right around the corner for Jews around the world. For a moment, sitting in the driver's seat, I was lost in my thoughts, wondering about the inspiration of resilience the holiday provides. How one little flame can turn into a miracle and ignite hope and light in the soul.
If you're not familiar with the story of Chanukah, here's a very quick breakdown.
Roughly 2000 years ago, the land of Israel was annexed by the Syrian empire. The 3rd Syrian king to rule oppressed the Jewish people and imposed religious Hellenist customs and practices, forbidding any form of Judaic observances. Those who resisted were ultimately killed. And in comes the Maccabees, a group of mercenaries set out to defeat the King and his army. The odds were heavily stacked against them on paper, yet, they persevered and were victorious. Upon returning to Jerusalem, to liberate the city, they came to a Holy Temple that was desecrated. To rededicate it, the Maccabees rebuilt a menorah (7-stemmed candelabra). However, to light it, they needed pure olive oil, and among the broken and defiled flasks, all they found was a flask containing enough oil for 1 day's worth of light. And by what is considered a miracle, that single jar of pure oil, lasted 8 days, just enough to make more. Hence, the 9-stemmed menorah (8 candles plus 1 used to light the 8 candles), which is called a Hanukkiah.
Like many cultural and religious stories, this story holds massive symbolic lessons and is the perfect tale of resilience in many ways. However, personally, that single flask of oil provides the inspiration to not give in to hopelessness. To seek the light in the darkness, no matter how small the light may seem. It reflects the idea of how one small step forward, an additional percent in effort given, which we would usually dismiss or discredit, in the face of adversity, can create huge opportunities to thrive. We've all had moments when we thought to ourselves "what's the use?," thinking that a small change wouldn't yield much, only to see an amazing positive impact later on. As a fitness coach, 1 more rep can go a long way for many.
As a matter of fact, the first of my Five Principles of Resilience comes to mind, Celebrate the Small Wins. Although the small wins may seem trivial, seek them. Celebrate them. They always pave the way for a big win. I invite you to read more about them in my first blog post - click here.
When in those dark moments, all you need is a little light to see the next step in front of you, creating the opportunity to shine a stronger and brighter light on the journey ahead.
To all who are celebrating, on behalf of myself and my family, we want to wish you and your family a happy, joyous, and miraculous Hanukkah / Chanukah!
Mindel, N. PhD. Retrieved from Chabad.org, Accessed November 2021: https://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/102978/jewish/The-Story-of-Chanukah.htm