This morning my reading led me to 2 different blog posts about successful people. The first mentioned it was about becoming successful by actually doing something. The statement was when you decide to do something, opportunity comes.
The second post was about positioning yourself for success instead of relying on skill, luck or some other form of intangible. The statement was not everyone has equal skill or equal luck, however everyone can show up and position themselves.
I can relate to all that. I’ve done that a lot in my life. My baseball career in college was strictly positioning and doing. I didn’t get a scholarship right away. In fact I didn’t get recruited. Nor did I even get invited. Rather I just showed up to a coaches office and said “I’m Clint from Parker – I called earlier.”
Yes. I called coaches in Kansas (with the help of my high school coach: Thanks Coach Flax). I called and said I want to play. I was an average ball player from a 3A school in a small town in Arizona. Most phone calls ended with coaches saying sorry no thanks. Most had full rosters. Except for two teams: Dodge City and Garden City. They both nonchalantly said “sure come on out.”
I packed everything I owned into the back of the S-10 I had and drove to Kansas. I had $120 for gas and food. I had never been further east than Phoenix. I didn’t even really have an appointment with either of these coaches. I just knew they would be trying out other guys that they actually recruited in the next week. They said I could show up and try out.
The try outs were pretty lopsided. I wasn’t ready. I was scared. But I wanted it bad. I threw myself all over the field. Literally. I was the only player that had dirt on my jersey. I didn’t get a single hit during batting. I fouled off everything. I couldn’t see the ball. During strength and endurance I decided that I was going to be noticed. They noticed me because when it was all over I was puking all over the dugout.
Dodge City offered me a spot. Not a real spot. A walk-on spot. That meant they would let me continue to try out. But it came with the best circumstances. Coach called a financial aid office, then called the housing office and before I knew it I had a Pell grant, a loan and all my dorm room reservations set. I had school paid for and a place to stay. Over the course of 1 night coach had made all that happen. I didn’t hit the ball once in batting practice. But because I swung at everything and puked all over the place he felt I deserved another chance to try out.
I eventually walked on and got a full ride scholarship. I still have my NJCAA Letter of Intent. It’s the same letter that all of the “recruited” players sign. Same piece of paper. But I had to earn it over the course of a semester. Trying out every day.
That part of my life determined a lot of who I am today. It showed me that if I wanted something I could position myself to do anything. If I say “yes” that it means most of the hard work is over. Even in my work I do this. I get asked “is this doable?” and I usually say yes. Some people would say this is a detriment. I get in over my head quite a bit. In fact I fail quite a bit too. Most of the time the work is bigger than I originally felt it would be. But I work through it. I finish. Always.
And because I work through it, and because I position myself to be there, and because I say yes: I always win. I win because I get the experience, the knowledge and the opportunity. Others may see failure because I don’t hit the ball on the first at bat. I see success because I’m in the game.