I was listening to Kevin Hart on the Joe Rogan Experience today and he was talking about how he views his life and his responsibility to set up the next generation for success. One of the key components of this, which he felt very strongly about, was the fact that he has “been there, done that, and made a ton of errors along the way”. Now he wants to shorten the learning curve of those who are also on their own journey by sharing those experiences, including the mistakes. I feel exactly the same way…
When I first really dove into the process of becoming a Public Speaker, I had several personal mental obstacles to overcome. And then it hit me:
I’ve finally made enough errors to know what I’m doing
I wondered if anyone would want to listen to what I had to say. I was not a famous athlete in a major sport that afforded me a built-in platform from which I was speaking. I didn’t come from the inner city nor did I grow up with an abusive father or an alcoholic mother. Most of the people that I had heard speaker in stage had stories like this, and I just wasn’t sure mine was good enough. I didn’t overcome those kind of life obstacles. I had what most would consider a normal middle class childhood; I grew up on a farm in rural PA, and then I moved to Phoenix when I was 12. I got the best of both worlds in terms of experience in my childhood. My father and I spent lots of time together in the outdoors, and I have learned a lot from him. My mother and I are close, as I am with my sister. Nothing to see here folks, keep moving along….
I had ambitious dreams and goals, and anytime you are willing to step into the proverbial arena, you are open for failures, miscalculations, judgement and criticism, and much more. I chose a sport that no one else in my family played or knew anything about. I was truly on my own in this endeavor. And to really complicate it, I chose Professional Racquetball as my sport of choice, knowing there was no fame and fortune waiting at the end of the road if I made it that far. I weighed 135 by the time I made it to the Pro Tour at age 25, making me the lightest guy on the Tour. I got a really late start compared to my peers, and was constantly under-funded, and had to scratch and claw for everything I ever got. I worked at the Pro Tour events stringing racquets and doing other things like taking photos for the magazine and writing articles about the tournaments. None of the other Pro’s did this, even though some of them needed the money too. I was willing.
It was a struggle, for most of that journey. I overcame just about everything that life threw at me to get there, and I learned a lot along the way. I made it to the Top 20 in the world at my chosen craft. I got to travel all over the US, and to Canada and Mexico as part of this adventure. I met some very famous athletes during training and other facets of that endeavor. I have caught passes from Donovan McNabb, ran 40 yard dashes against Aeneas Williams, Steve Bush, Frank Sanders, Andre Hastings, and many other pro football players (and finished way behind every time) I have done ab workouts side by side Olympians, professional and college athletes alike, and am extremely proud to say that I held my own. One of the biggest takeaways I learned from this was not to truly compete against those guys, but to compete with them against the “me” of yesterday. And I can ASSURE you of this, I learned way more from the errors and losses than I ever did from the wins.
And that is the part that I want to share…not necessarily my successes, but the journey itself. That ten year struggle getting to the top level, and then the six years spent there, have been so formative for me as a person that I feel almost obligated to share that knowledge. I am sending the proverbial elevator back down so others can join me. I deeply hope that in some small way I will be able to assist someone in their own journey, to overcome or work around their own hurdles, and to achieve the things they set out to do. Imagine a world where more people set high level goals and then achieved them. The world would no doubt be in a much better place than it currently is. But that is not an easy thing…
Developing a winning mindset is one of the most important thing a person can do for themselves.
Everyone wants to win, but few:
–Are willing to do the work to prepare
–Work hard when no one is looking
–Fall down repeatedly and still come back for more
–Have the stomach for the roller coaster ride that adventures like this are
–Ever start to begin with
I have a couple of assets I have developed over the years, and all of these are within your capacity to do as well. I have a very good work ethic; I am willing to pay the price in blood, sweat and tears to achieve a goal. I developed more and more capacity to endure ups and downs, curveballs and full-on belly flops, mainly by repeated exposure. The more you take, the more you CAN take. Once I hone in on a goal, I am going to see it through to the end. Anyone can do the same; start small, and chip away at it. Once you check that goal off your list, pick a larger, more ambitious goal and repeat the process. Aim higher each time, and before long you’ll be building a rocket ship to get to the moon where your next goal resides.
So this is why I feel “qualified” to tell my story and dole out advice. I have been there, and I have done that…in my own life, of course. My path is not yours, nor should it be. But the PROCESS is similar enough that I think I can save you some time and trouble, and that is why I continue forward.
You learn way more from the losses than the wins in most cases
Your real competition is against the “you” of yesterday, not anyone else. Think of others as pawns in your own self improvement game
Making enough errors in my life finally led me to the conclusion that I had something of value to share with the world.
When you reach a certain level, you need to send the elevator back down for others
The process is the same, each of us just needs to apply the basic principals of discipline and hard work to your own story.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.
by Darrin Schenck
by Darrin Schenck
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