There are some memories that stuck with me like stubborn popcorn kernels in my brain’s teeth.
With sports being such a big part of my childhood, it’s almost a given that many formative experiences happened on courts, fields, and pitches.
I had some of the best coaches growing up. JD… Keri… Tom… Steve… Buddy… they were all instructional and interactive, while being so incredibly goal-oriented and encouraging in the pursuit of success. I loved playing for them.
They were the types who loved the game itself & loved to make it better by making themselves and their players better in and through it. They were the types who taught me, indirectly, about continual improvement and made me believe that I could achieve.
But, the pendulum always swings…
And, for every awesome coach’s positive effort, there were naysayers trying to drag me into their negativity.
Here’s a couple questions to lead off…
Can you imagine being so insecure that you’re mentally invested in and affected by:
- an eleven-year-old softball player who doesn’t have all her teeth, or
- a teenage volleyball player with blue and orange ribbons braided into her ponytail who just got her driver’s license?
I can show you the Facebook pages of two people who are that insecure, and provide you with testimony from a witness of said insecurity. Two moms—one from youth softball, the other from high school volleyball—were desperate to see me fail.
We’ll call them Negative Nancy and Fragile Fancy.
Nancy thought she’d do my mom and favor and save me from the disappointment of not making the select team I was set to try out for. In her professional opinion, I simply didn’t cut the mustard on the diamond. She had, after all, watched softball before.
Mind you: I was 7 at the time. I have no memory of this. It wasn’t something she said to me. And my mom didn’t tell me about it for YEARS; not until after we saw that lady a decade later, after I had filled shelves with trophies playing on an amazingly talented softball team.
And it probably really chapped Fancy’s ass that I was better at softball than I was at volleyball, yet still managed to play the latter in college when she was convinced I wasn’t even good enough to play for the same club as her daughter who received no scholarship offers. (Then I was. And did.)
They luuuvvvvvvv to tell you what can’t be done.
And I luuuuuuvvvvvv to prove them wrong.
What did Nancy’s opinion mean to me? Apparently nothing.
And I can tell you that Fancy was nothing more than a salty, over-mascara’ed ‘Housewife’-wannabe to me. Her negativity made me better with the simple effect of lighting a fire under me to prove her wrong.
At the end of the day…
What we need to turn our lives into what we want them to be, if we’re making a list, begins with:
- Confidence, and
It’s all about thinking you can, knowing you can, and then actually doing it.
Belief without actions is useless. The usefulness of actions is often based on the intent behind them, judged by the perceived worth of the intended outcomes.
If you’re constantly working and constantly improving in the skill set required for your field, who can say what you’re capable of? The intent and effort to perform better feed off each other. The mental follows the physical as it follows the mental, and so on.
When you conceive of a thought, then achieve its satisfaction, you’ll likely come out of the experience with a more-nuanced understanding of another aspect of that skill or concept or approach. It’s a self-sustaining upward cycle, if you just set it into motion.