Good Morning and happy Friday! In this week’s blog I am going to discuss my experiences with taking chances and how I have changed my mind set from of being afraid of missing to fully embracing that 1-5 is still better than 0-0.
I’m going to throw it way back to 10yrs ago during my sophomore year of high school when I first tried out for the high school basketball team. While I had just gone through football and had a pretty good season, I knew basketball was not my forte…Long story short, I was a part of a team where we played freshman/sophomore squads because we weren’t good enough to play JV or Varsity.
This is one of those times where I didn’t fully understand the life lesson in sports until several years down the road. One of my coaches at the time realized that I was just afraid of missing. He tried to tell me just to shoot but I wouldn’t do it…he then had me line up for a left handed layup (something I was so awful at I would always try to switch hands or pass the ball) and made me attempt it time after time while the rest of the team watched. I remembered feeling broken because I couldn’t make the shot even after 4-5 attempts. I didn’t want pity, I just wanted the stupid ball to go through the basket. He made his suggestions and eventually I made the shot. Why is this important? Instead of just accepting that I was afraid of taking the shot and putting me on the bench, he forced me out of my comfort zone and made everyone else watch while I failed. It hurt then, but it made me stronger moving forward.
I wish I could tell you that lead to an awesome basketball career—it didn’t. I was still awful, but I wasn’t afraid. I knew it wasn’t my strong suit, but the experience did show me than in sports and life it is better to recognize a weakness and either work at it, or accept you’re better at something else.
The next traumatic experience of being judged by my peers occurred during my second year at UIUC. I was in a speech class in the bottom floor of the armory building. It was a 6pm night class and we were giving impromptu speeches. The kicker was that if you used a verbal filler, the entire class would clap as to let you know you sounded like an idiot.
Think of standing in front of a room full of 30 people you know well enough to care about what they think, but not well enough to know they won’t judge you too harshly. As my speech started on some topic that was completely ridiculous, I made it through 10-15 words before that first thunderous clap. I paused and went to start again and made it through 5 words. *CLAP* . I attempted to collect myself and lead with a verbal filler this time so a third clap was heard. I froze and made one final attempt, I made it 3 words deep and another loud *CLAP* filled the room. I literally said “Damnit I can’t do this” my professor attempted to tell me it would be okay and I responded with “No I am an idiot and I can’t say anything without using a damn verbal filler” As I sat in my seat I realized that that probably wasn’t the best way to handle the situation.
From that experience I learned that I needed to improve my public speaking capabilities and luckily this one has a better ending than my basketball tale. I am now confident in my ability to speak in-front of people because I know most of them probably aren’t listening too carefully and that most people will forgive you if you misspeak.
Here recently, I have been putting myself out there much more frequently because I am not afraid of failure. To quote garyvee, “I love when people tell me I suck because it just makes me want to prove them wrong.” I have applied for countless scholarships, work groups, task forces, and various other opportunities only to get a nicely formatted email saying that the group decided to go a different direction because there were many other talented candidates. However, as I have applied for these things a couple of applications landed and I got to be a part of a mission trip to India, a task force to create the first ever National Honors Society for physical therapy schools, and I have even been lucky enough to receive a scholarship through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Without being willing to fail I never would have been able to have these opportunities to succeed.
Some may say I am lucky to have gotten these things. However, none of them have ever told me that at 4:30am when I was studying for an exam. Some may think that it isn’t fair that a couple accolades have come my way. Though I don’t believe they even applied for the opportunity. If you’ve ever read a self-help or motivational book, a general theme I have noticed is that everyone is telling you to put yourself out there and take a risk. If you are someone who has a great idea, do it. If you are debating on posting a blog/vlog, post it. If you’re afraid of what will happen if you apply, realize that the worst case scenario of you not getting it is only solidified by not typing up an application.
So many people sit back and say they don’t have time after work to do what they truly enjoy. I am not sure if it is a fear of the unknown, the stress of being uncomfortable, or the terror of others’ judgement that keeps them from taking action. However, if you are looking to do something and just need a co-pilot please let me know. I would love nothing more than to help you achieve your goals.
I have recently reached out to stars that I likely have no chance in talking to such as Ryan Shazier, hit him up on twitter messaging; JuJu Smith-Schuster, again I sent him a twitter message; Gary Vaynerchuk , messaged him on facebook; and several other celebrities in the field of physical therapy. The crazy thing about this is that even though the big names I mentioned haven’t responded yet, some of the famous people in my world of physical therapy have. I have recently been on a podcast with several of the UpDoc Media top influencers, sat down and had dinner with the creator of PrePT Grind, and made real connections with up and coming influencers just by setting a time to talk to them on the phone. Some of these people we put on a pedestal are just normal humans like you and I. Even though I may never get the chance to have a conversation with GaryVee or a Steelers stud, I can say that I tried…can you say the same thing about your dreams?
Thanks again to anyone who has made it all the way through this. I am very thankful that you have set aside some time to read yet another blog of mine. The next couple of blogs will be more focused on physical therapy as we have our national conference coming up and I plan to offer a little insight into the mystery of the first CSM as this will be my third time attending. Thank you to those who have already reached out to me with their problems of pain, I hope others will follow in their footsteps as I love helping anyone who takes the time to read my posts.
Happy Friday my friends—until next week!
I am a new graduate DPT and am interested in personal growth and becoming a connector within my profession.