Recently, I was reading an article about careers and the uncertainty that follows when deciding what path to take. My most recent article talked a lot about my own uncertainty. As much as I am weary about certain aspects of life I know a fact for sure: I will not stop betting on myself. It is the second bullet point in the article link above and it gives a brief description on what this means. I am putting this idea into action, and in reality I bet on myself quite a bit. It may not have any monetary reward, however, it may have some greater purpose that will better serve me in the long run that may be difficult to see now. I think that is what I am most hesitant about when making these bigger decisions, what is it going to be like and is it really the right choice?
Like a wise professor consistently said, “Well, it depends.” It was my least favorite answer, yet I think it got me to think a bit less and just do. I am not predicting the future anytime soon, so it really will depend on how a certain situation plays out. I remember jumping off the swim block for the first time: we practiced our position on deck, we simulated jumping and streamlining into the water, and we even talked about the possibility of a belly flop. I was determined to not flop. Swimmer after swimmer, flop after flop, it was finally my turn. I talked myself up onto the block, I took my start, I quickly assessed my angle that I was diving in at and froze. The whistle blew, my reaction was quick, and low and behold I flopped, big time. Everyone flops, it is a basic fact. I climbed out of the pool with red legs that held a steady burning sensation for the rest of practice. Want to know the crazy part? I kept flopping. The rest of practice was dedicated to going off the block and the flops were not stopping anytime soon. A long story short, I learned to not flop by flopping a lot. I took a bet that each time I would not flop as I did the last, and I lost that bet many times. Yet, with practice and experience, I finally won the bet. As I progressed with swimming I continually learned how to perfect my start, and when I got to high school I could start off the block with ease. Sure, I had my occasional slip, yet I knew I would get right back up and do it again because I knew I could.
My flop story can be taken a bit figuratively as well, it created a good analogy for life. We are going to flop and it may sting for a while. Whether it is not getting the job we hope for, or the promotion we work towards, or the grade we wanted, it is going to burn in many ways. Success can be looked at in many ways and not just in an achieving manner. Maybe you took a course that you knew was going to be challenging, yet you wanted to experience the topic at hand. Maybe it is your first time on a project or account at work and you just started to take on more responsibility and did a great job. Sometimes others do not recognize our achievements that seem like a major deal to us, yet also contribute to a bigger picture, which is then rewarded. We are left feeling unsatisfactory, and we do not like that one bit. The other crazy part? We keep going. We tell ourselves that we are worth the effort and that we have to take each opportunity in stride, whether it is recognized or not. Taking bets on yourself is a life long task, we owe it to ourselves to take every chance we get. What happens when we don’t take these risks? We end up with a lot of “ifs.” I would prefer to say “oops” when something does not work out, rather than “if” for wondering the outcome of an opportunity. Take the bet on yourself, it may be the win of a lifetime.