I grew up an athlete.
Specifically – basketball was my sport. I played it through high school and couldn’t give it up when I went to college and played on a traveling club team for Penn State.
I will forever be grateful to sports for the things they taught me about myself as a person, and the skill set they gave me to carry into my career.
For those of you who aren’t sports fans, last year history was made in the NCAA March Madness men’s college basketball tournament. For the first time ever, a team seeded #16 (UMBC) beat a #1 (Virginia). And not just beat them, they beat them by 20 points.
It’s your classic underdog story that is EVERYTHING I LOVE about sports and how they translate to life.
UMBC may have been a #16 seed, but they PLAYED like they had been there before, and like they were the top team in the tournament. And you know what? The work they put in before the game probably reflected that too.
I know in this world it can sometimes feel like you are a constant #16 seed fighting a bunch of #1 seeds… especially when you’re trying to achieve personal and career dreams and feel like everyone else is doing it better, or there is something always in the way.
But #16 seeds can succeed.
#16 seeds work their tails off.
#16 seeds don’t believe THEY can’t do it just because someone else hasn’t done it before.
#16 seeds embrace their underdog status and go out there with no fear because they have nothing to prove.
Nothing to prove except HOW MUCH HEART THEY HAVE.
Keep trying. Whatever it is you feel like you are not good enough for. Keep trying. And keep missing shots every once in a while. And when you do, keep shooting again and again.
Keep playing like a #1 seed even if you feel like #16.
Your time to shine will come.