During my freshman year in college I watched what seemed like all of my fellow lacrosse team members load up in vans and head East for the National Lacrosse Championships. Left standing on the curb, I vowed that I would be joining them the next year.
The following season I returned, a “C” player, at best. Somehow in the off-season all of my fundamental skills were lost. I struggled with catching, throwing, retrieving … pretty much everything. Relentless, I was determined to make the national team. At the end of the regular season when I announced to the coaches that I was trying out, they didn’t mince words and blurted out, “You can’t do that.” Their words stabbed me like a knife and it took everything I had to hold back my tears. Somehow I found the courage to say, “I know I haven’t had the best season but, I have to try.” Reluctantly, they agreed. Once I got over the pain of disapproval my competitiveness kicked in. My focus became to work like never before to make the team. I adopted the mantra: Watch me.
Teammates worked with me day and night to get my skills up to par. At tryout’s I hustled for every loose ball, was first in line for every drill and made sure I was involved in every big play. The end result, I made the team. Ah! Sweet vindication. No, not really. The “satisfaction” of “showing them” was hollow and fleeting.
Here’s a big aha moment for me: I realized that my deepest fulfillment came from believing in my inherent abilities, not from proving myself to others. I had nothing to prove. I simply had to show up, have faith in what my core already knew, and trust.
Our deepest fulfillment comes from connecting with a place deep inside that knows who we are and what we’re capable of.
Despite having a really rough season, I knew that I was a better player than than what I was displaying. I simply had to get out of my own way and allow that “A” player to “come out and play.”
The next time you feel like saying “watch me,” to someone else. Instead, make a proclamation to yourself, for yourself.