“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot . . . and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why . . . I succeed.” (Michael Jordan)
No one is perfect. An obvious truth, but I find the more I work with high potentials and high performers, the more I find that they are shocked when something doesn’t go as planned. A golf shot off the tee goes right when it should have gone left. A game-winning shot clangs off the rim. A goal is not achieved after months of hard work.
While we know inherently that perfection is not a thing to be grasped, we labor in pursuit of the pot at the end of the rainbow. Our expectation of perfection gets in the way of our pursuit of peak performance in the present. While I strongly believe that you should have a determined “I Will” mentality in everything you do (i.e. “I will make this shot!”), you should not be surprised when something doesn’t go your way. The shock of disappointment can lead to a spiraling downwards in performance similar to food being sucked into a garbage disposal. Failure in the past can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for your future.
I have had professional athletes that I work with tell me that they deal with failure all the time. A good batting average at the professional level is around .300. That means that they are failing 7 out of 10 times. A good shooting percentage in basketball is around 40%. That means that they are failing 6 out of 10 times. If you can’t handle missing shots and not getting hits, you will never be prepared for the successes that will eventually come. Your key to recovery is putting the past behind you and focusing on the current moment with a healthy confidence that you can and you WILL succeed in this moment.
While disappointment is a part of life, discovering yourself and growing in the process to become your best athletically as well as academically, socially, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally is what life is all about. Don’t let the fears of what may never be rob you of the joy of what could happen.
How does your past affect how you perform in the present moment?