Somewhere deep within the depth of our souls is fear. Fear of change, fear of unrealized and unfulfilled potential, and fear of all other unknowns. We’re a fearful people, perhaps by nature, and much of life is spent finding ways to cope.
Our early days are spent building towards a future. We find something we excel at and we pursue it. Many people spend countless hours practicing whatever it is we pursue — football, writing, basketball — with the ultimate goal being a career centered around a certain craft.
We have hobbies that we enjoy, things we dream about being able to do for the rest of our lives. We know it’s impossible. That doesn’t stop us from dreaming. We dream about being the star of our high school basketball team. We know it isn’t a possibility, but we continue pondering what it would be like to be able to relate with those who live that flashy life of athletic success.
In reality, most people can find at least a small piece of common ground with those who they think they do not relate. The band kid finds common ground with the starting quarterback. They both love the same sports team. They both enjoy math. They understand that they are not all that different from each other.
In a similar manner, we can relate to many professional athletes. Their lives are like many of ours. Below is a description of you, me, and just one example of a professional basketball player many people may be able to relate to.
Your earliest days were filled with excitement. You excelled at certain things. You were never the best at what you did, but you had yourself convinced that you could make a living doing it if you tried hard enough.
And so you tried. Yes, you tried. You had a flash a brilliance that made your entire world shine bright, but others did not see it as much of an accomplishment. Paled by the words and criticism of others, your memories of that brilliance were more important and meaningful to you than they were to anyone else. Even those who were witnesses.
Your hard work paid dividends. You were rewarded with the chance to make a name for yourself. It’s hard to make a living doing what you love to do, but you pursued your passions and here you are, ready to dive in and do your best. And then the harsh scent of reality sets in.
Reality smells like sweat, like the midnight oils being burnt on a regular basis. Is it worth it? Is all of this hard work worth it? When will it pay off?
You ask yourself these questions because all you hear are critics. “You’re not good enough. You’re going nowhere. You need to work on this. You need to work on that. You’re not as good as you think you are.” Are the critics right? Self-doubt creeps in.
You and your contemporaries struggle. When you struggle your closest friends endure the struggle with you. You bear each other’s burdens. Those burdens are weighty, and your combined efforts aren’t enough. No matter how hard you try to get it right, nobody notices. You fail. You fail often.
Maybe that’s just who you are? Maybe that’s the way you were made? And maybe, just maybe you weren’t made for this.
No. No way. So you keep trying, hoping, yearning for opportunity.
The way you go about doing things is unorthodox. You’re different. The way you do the things you love is odd and seems unnatural. Somehow, someway, despite all the critics there are people who enjoy what you do. They believe in you even when logical reasoning tells them they shouldn’t.
And then things change. In the blink of an eye, everything is altered. From one city to the next, you’re given a new beginning. A new chance to prove yourself and get better.
Even from the beginning there are people who think you’re strange. They’ve heard the warnings. They know your faults and no matter how nicely you dress yourself up it’s your shortcomings that are most noticeable. The new surroundings are different, but you aren’t much different. Yet.
The people around you swear they don’t care what others have said about you. They believe in you. They trust you. They know you can do what you were born to do. They think they can change you. You want them to change you, because you are no longer scared of change. You embrace it.
You try. Yes, you try. You receive encouragement from everybody. The critics are still there. They still voice their opinions. But you’re in a better place, in a different situation. You know you can thrive. You may not be the best at what you do, but you know that this new beginning is just what you needed. You have confidence. You have renewed passion.
You are young, energetic and full of potential. That potential, while unfulfilled at the moment, lies somewhere deep within a body that is fortunate, blessed and filled with endless opportunities. You are different than some, similar to others and ready to break out. Your chance is now.
You are Jordan Crawford. We are Jordan Crawford. I am Jordan Crawford.