Few things will matter more than our own definition of success.
Standing on the sideline, helmet in hand, I dreamed of being a star. I wanted the coach to call my number. I was eager to be in the game. Baseball had come easy to me. I had established myself as a top player. This was the first year I would experience the gridiron. I was among the smallest on the team. I wanted to be a running back. In my mind I had moves. I played them out in my head. Twisting and turning, avoiding tackles. In my imagination I was fast. I could see myself blasting through the line of defense and breaking into a wide open field. I would cross the goal line untouched, spike the ball, and do the dance. Teammates celebrating, fans cheering!
It was amazing, down right disgusting, how many people wanted to spoil my dream. We were losing badly when the coach called me over, sent me in with the play. I was to get the ball and run straight up the middle. The two defenders I was supposed to run between had to be criminals. They were way too big to be legal. How they looked from where I stood off the field was quite different from how they looked up close. I immediately changed my mind. My imagination betrayed me. My mental pictures of jubilation had been tackled by fear. I just knew this would be the last thing I ever did.
How could I trust knees that were shaking, palms that were sweating, and a coach that was willing to offer me up as a sacrificial lamb? There were plenty of people on the field, lots of people in the stands, I never felt so alone. Time moved so slow when I stood watching others play. Now that I’m on the field, things were moving way too fast. Before I had a chance to call my mommy, to ask if she could come and get me, I had the ball in my hands. I took one step before those behemoths smashed me into the ground, laid on top of me, and took my breath away, literally.
We aren’t meant to do everything. Even if we are good at many things there will always be things we were never meant to do. Doing something because we think it’s the way to affirmation, acceptance, and inclusion can put us in the worst possible place. We don’t have to be limited to just one thing. But, we should only do those things that emanate from authenticity, those things that bring us life. What brings someone else life might kill you. Or, at least, prevent you from living the life you were meant to live. In football, you can make fantastic plays. Astound the crowd. Gain yard after yard. But, if you don’t get into the end zone you don’t score points. Without enough points you don’t win!
Know The Score!
I’ve seen teams make, more yards than the other team and, lose. I’ve watched as a team is beaten up. I’ve seen them fumble the ball, throw interceptions, fail miserably and avoid losing. No matter how horrible they were, how many mistakes they made, when they got into the end zone they celebrated like nothing bad ever happened. It didn’t look pretty. It certainly wasn’t text-book. Yet, they still found away to win!
Life is just like that. It has its own end zone. Sometimes we fumble the ball because we’re trying to live the dream someone told us to have. We get intercepted by an unplanned life event. There are times when our play can only be described as messy. Confusion reigns when we can’t break through what holds us back. Replacing a non-working game plan, with a new one, is a good way to change the outcome, in the game of life.
When you let go of failure, get over the past, you begin to move the ball down the field. The end zone is where an ugly process no longer matters. Mistakes, ignorance, poor performance aren’t explained in the score. You enter the zone where negative thinking, self devaluing, and not knowing who you are, ends. Despair yields to triumph. You stop chasing pretty rainbows and pursue the crown of your own clearly defined destiny.
I think a good definition of success is: Winning in the End!
Many things begin, where other things stop, in the end zone.
What’s your End Game?