You are too Big to Play Small

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After the fifth consecutive scoreless game, Coach called his star player into the office for a heart to heart talk. When the player arrived, Coach could see a look of frustration, disappointment, and doubt on his face. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” the player said. “I’ve lost all my confidence.” Before he could continue, Coach stopped him and said the words that would completely change the player’s mindset and become the turning point in the team’s season.

“You have lost confidence because you’re playing small,” Coach said. “You’re trying to be what everyone else expects you to be instead of being what you expect to be. You are too big to be playing small.”

For some reason, the player had forgotten he was one of the best players in the league. He had forgotten how unstoppable he could be when he was laser focused. He had forgotten that the team’s success was dependent on him playing at his very best.

But, it was during that moment, Coach reminded his player of something we all forget at some point in our lives, and it’s that we are much more capable than what we tend to believe. When that happens, we usually conform to the expectations of others instead of living up to our own.

I spent a long time playing small because I did not know what I was capable of achieving. In addition to that, fitting in seemed more appealing than standing out.

I knew there was greatness in me, but I let obstacles and the negative influences of others stop me from seeing what was on the inside. As a result, I was underachieving and abandoning my true self.

Maybe you have forgotten how amazing you are. Perhaps life has beaten you down so much that you really believe you are meant to be average. It may be hard to see yourself raising the bar and reaching your potential.

I get it. I was there once before. But, my life changed when I started to believe in the power I possessed and when I realized others were counting on me to become who I was supposed to be.

You have a wealth of talent and ability inside of you. Now, it’s time to discover it, release it, and use it to achieve greatness because you are much too be big to be playing small.





Don’t Despise Life’s Detours

Bold black and orange detour sign with wispy clouds in summer sky background.

It was the right path, and no could have convinced me otherwise. Since I was 11 years old, winning an Olympic God Medal had been a dream of mine; and every minute of every day, I dedicated myself to reaching that goal.

But the path I was traveling down came to an abrupt end due to an undiagnosed condition that severely weakened my muscles and coordination.

That was the first detour I experienced in my life. Throughout the years, I have experienced many more detours that altered my plans and sent me down another path. But I have learned to accept life’s detours as a blessing and not a curse, regardless of how disappointing or inconvenient it may have seemed at the time.

Years ago, I had a close friend who experienced a bad break up with his significant other. He truly believed this was the one for him and he was making plans to pop the big question to her.

Then, the unthinkable happened when his phone rang, and all he could hear was crying on the other end. About 15 seconds of silence passed before my best friend listened to the words that crushed him.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t do this anymore,” she said. The break up nearly caused him to give up on love, but less than a year later, he unexpectedly met a young woman who was new to the area. Today, they will be celebrating four years of marriage.

Often, we view detours as negative. However, detours are literal and figurative signs that we are supposed to go in a different direction. That new direction may not be a path we expected or a path we choose. But if we learn to embrace life’s detours, the new route just might be filled with the things we need most instead of the things we want.

Don’t Lose Your Stuff

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As the professor looked across her lecture class filled with at least 100 students or so, she uttered words I would never forget. “This is the most important thing I will tell you. Don’t lose your stuff.”

Everyone looked around and wondered why this professor would say something so basic, so simple, so common sense to a room full of college students. From a very young age, we all learn the importance of being responsible and keeping up with your personal belongings.

As the professor expounded upon her comments, I started to understand the metaphor a bit clearer and it all made perfect sense to me. Fifteen years later, the words carry even more significance as I live out my mission of inspiring young people across the world.

My professor knew something back then that I have come to learn over my years of working with young people. Many things will get lost along the journey in life, but you can’t allow circumstances, or trials, or adversity to stripe away the things that make you unique, creative, optimistic, and passionate.

What my professor was essentially saying is that you can’t lose sight of the greatness you possess, no matter the test. I believe we have a lot of young people who have lost their stuff for various reasons.

If you feel like you have lost some things along this life journey, I encourage you to go get it back, because it may be the thing that elevates you to a new level and brings forth your greatness.