“You were born to be a ballplayer. You were meant to be here at this moment. You were meant to be here at this game.” These words came out of my mother’s mouth with a harmony, an emphasis, an inflection that I can only describe as powerful. There comes a time in all of our lives when we experience self doubt. We retreat from the things that we believe in. I am entering my 3rd full season of professional baseball, and I have doubted, I have retreated, caved….mentally…because of my performance on the diamond. It was only a matter of time before I shared a story like this. I just needed to “break bread” with all you readers first. I want to convey a message of mental toughness and instill confidence to all the ballplayers, musicians, underwater basket weavers, and future titans of industry.
You will succeed, you will feel accomplishment, you will experience joy and elation, but above all, you will fail. How you recover from that failure or failures is what makes you who you are. It is the story. The story that makes the story, YOUR STORY is what gives you that ultimate confidence. (take time to read that last sentence carefully in case it seemed redundant to you.) We have all taken a different path to become who we are today. I knew at a very early age that I was going to be a ballplayer. ( I wanted to be a cowboy, but dressing up like one suffices.) I knew that was my purpose. As hard and trifling and punishing as this game is, I love it and always will. It’s the most beautiful game there is. Now, as I said, we’ve all taken a different path, your journey to where you are right now, is what gives you the peace of mind with yourself. Yes of course we can all be satisfied with “where we are,” but by no means have we made it. We all strive to climb the ladder to the top, collectively as ballplayers, and probably for about 95% of humans. No one wants to “level off” and just be mediocre. Granted, some of us will never make it and that’s just life and the game telling us that it is time to forge out a new one. I know that it is a legitimate possibility for myself as well, but I will pursue this dream as long as my mind, body, and the game tell me I can.
I promised to talk about confidence though. We all have it in different forms and personalities. Our egos dictate how much of it we have. Some like to announce it, some like to keep it concealed from others. Point being, confidence comes from within us. “We can be praised countless times by persons other than ourselves, but ones true confidence, and happiness comes from within.” A person very special to me told me that. What makes you, you? What journey, what story, have you had to tell to come as far as you have? What were the battles you faced outside of baseball or work, to make you yearn to reach the top. It could be injuries, or loss of family, or illness. But whatever drive is inside that told you to get up and keep going because you knew you had it in you, is your confidence. It is your self esteem. Tony Robbins said, “by definition esteem comes from within oneself.”
We are all faced with challenges. You will succeed in some because you were prepared, and focused, and determined and executed the plan correctly without any deterrent. Then other times you will fail because of the unpredictability of what is next. I heard someone say once, “fake it til you make it.” I completely disagree with that. You can fake something as long as you want, but if your heart is not in what you truly want, you will in fact “level off.” There has to be a burning desire to exceed expectations, to reach up with every last ounce of courage and do what is necessary to achieve what you want. You can’t fake it with “swag.” Swag? Its just a slang term for cockiness or confidence. A cool thing to say. The dictionary defines it as follows: swag n.
a. An ornamental drapery or curtain draped in a curve between two points.
b. An ornamental festoon of flowers or fruit.
c. A carving or plaster molding of such an ornament.
Of course, maybe my “old school” personality and desire to be a cowboy makes me ignorant to today’s vernacular.