You’re at the plate. It’s finally your turn. You’ve been preparing for this moment with intention, purpose, and a singular focus. The possible outcomes range from a “hero crowning” grand slam to a “loser labeling” strikeout. It’s your time. And then it isn’t. You swing for the fences and miss the ball. Your goal slips away. All eyes watch you as you walk back to the dugout. Your teammates, your coach, your family, your supporters – all eyes are on you. Are you studying your shoelaces, or walking with the confidence that comes because you earned a spot on the roster?
When you play hard there are bound to be disappointments, especially once you reach the “big leagues”. It is quite easy to let the hurt and the loss show in very apparent ways, and to let those emotions rule you over the coming days and weeks. Depending on the scope of your “miss”, it might even be understood by all who are watching. But what opportunities are you missing by focusing solely on yourself?
Striking out gives you the chance to model humility and grace and to show the true character you possess. Every person watching you will one day deal with a loss equal to what you’re experiencing. Let your steps off the field, and the actions that you demonstrate, be a model to them. Acting in anger and frustration is only going to sow seeds of those same emotions within them.
My organization has a fairly well known motto of “Be Prepared”. It’s in times of struggle and loss that I find those words the most profound. I reflect on how I have been prepared for those moments by all the people I esteem and have watched in similar circumstances. And most importantly, I reflect on how my failure is preparing me for my next at bat. Because I will be back to the plate again and again.