February 11, 2015 (original post here)
I think I had been given a rare opportunity. That opportunity is being raised by parents who told me that I could achieve my goals. Although, at times, we would joke around that I’m not smart enough or I don’t have the skill required, they continued to support me and help me explore my options. I remember the first time I told my dad that I wanted to bowl, he was thrilled. It was something that we would be doing together and it could be this whole new journey. He got me everything I needed, except shoes. I was only about 7 or 8 years old when this happened and they didn’t make shoes small enough for me, so I had to stick to borrowing the alley’s shoes.
I would practice with him almost every Saturday before his league and I would be so excited to grab my bowling bag start wiping down my bowling ball and putting it on the rack. As the months went on, he started introducing more concepts to me, like angles and how I need to imagine the ball rolling down the lane so I knew where to stand, then it was on to teaching me the real techniques of bowling. I remember one Saturday, we had a very long session on foot work and getting my swing timed perfectly with my feet. The next step, naturally, was to join a league. So Saturday mornings I would go to the league, bowl my three games, leave, come back with my dad (before his league started), get more lessons, and then wait for my dad to finish bowling. It was a lot for me, and eventually I didn’t see the fun in it anymore so I stopped.
My dad has always been there to suggest to me things that I should pursue. So when I decided to pick up bowling again, I think he thought that this would be a phase I was going through. Once he heard the potential I had and the more he saw me becoming more dedicated to it, then he started getting involved. I remember we had a conversation while we were driving home from one of our practice sessions, and he said, “I wonder what would’ve happened if I didn’t push you so hard to do well. Maybe you could’ve been the state champ, but now you have so many obstacles to over come, it’ll take a lot of work to get over them.” When he said that it hit me; when I had picked up bowling (seriously) this time around, he dedicated time and effort to help me become a better me. He pushed me during my tournaments to never count myself out because I am as talented as some of the other bowlers who have been bowling their whole lives. He picked me up when I was down and he helped me realize that I did have talent.
So why am I telling you this story?
My sister and I have been part of what I consider the lucky few. We’re the lucky few who have parents who will support our wildest dream (becoming professional bowlers) and will sacrifice their time and money to help us achieve that dream. We’ve been lucky enough to be told, “Yes, you can,” instead of “That’s ridiculous.” We’ve had someone standing behind us the entire time. When we bowl tournaments, we have either our mom, who’s saying, “c’mon throw the strikes like I see you do in league,” and our dad who’s telling us, “that was a good ball, c’mon keep it going,” or “that was a bad frame, that’s okay, jump back, you’re still in it.” My sister and I are lucky, actually we’re blessed.
Now you may be wondering, “that’s great and all, but how does that relate to me succeeding?” Before I really get into it, let me tell you what my definition of succeeding is. To me, succeeding is basically going above and beyond my expectations. When I go into tournaments my aim is to average at least a 185-190, averaging one open frame per game. If I can average at least a 190-200, I make the first cut, and I average less than one open frame a game, I walk away feeling accomplished. I walk away feeling that I did everything in my power to give myself the best opportunity to win. Now, here’s how my story relates. You need to push yourself to be the very best you you can be. Cheesy right? However, it’s true. If you can’t become the very best version of you, where: you feel great, you have the confidence, you give yourself the opportunity, you open yourself to experiences, you humble yourself, etc. then you can’t expect to succeed.
I had to learn how to gain the confidence to be able to say, “I can compete and I am a competitor.” The first tournament I walked into I was scared, afraid, and I didn’t think I was good enough; now when I walk into a tournament, I feel like I’m in the run for the title. I can literally feel that I have the same chance as anybody that’s there to win. Confidence is what’s going to give you an edge over others and it’s the only way to keep yourself in contention. It relies heavily on your own thoughts and opinions about yourself. If you don’t think you can do it, then you obviously won’t However, there is a fine line between confidence and being cocky, so here’s the saying that I tell others: Cocky is telling people you’re good, confidence is showing people you’re good.
I’ve talked about giving yourself the best opportunity multiple times on this blog, and I hope the post about what I wish I had done in college showed the opportunities that people easily miss. If you shut yourself away from what’s out there in the world, how do you expect to expand your horizon and gain new knowledge and skills? Sure, you can learn things from the comfort of your own home, but experience is the best teach, and when you have the chance to experience new things, you can start to change your own standards and set new goals for yourself. That’s basically the reason why I moved to the mainland. I wanted to create more opportunities for myself in terms of career, life, and bowling (mainly bowling).
Create A Group:
I’m not talking about a Facebook group or a Twitter group. You need to create a group of people who you know will be there for you. I suggest a mix of individuals who will be there to support you emotionally (realizing that making your dream is going to be a lot more work can be emotionally trying) and individuals who will be able to relate to those hardships (preferably someone who knows about that industry/area). For example, I have my friend back home who I text whenever I go through the emotional stuff with. I told her how sad I was when I realized that bowling could no longer be priority #1, and that I my dream may never come true. On the other hand, I have my dad who I go to with bowling related problems; if I can’t seem to get out of a rut, or my timing is off, or I want to make improvements on my game, I go to him. These individuals need to be able to help you smooth out those bumps in the road, while continuing to push you past your limits.
Don’t Limit Yourself:
This is HUGE! Don’t limit yourself by second guessing your abilities. If you think you’re sub-par in things, don’t let that stop you from putting in everything you have to succeed. Keep pushing yourself to go that extra mile. To accomplish things beyond your wildest dreams. You’re only limited by the boundaries you make yourself. **This does not apply to dietary/nutrition needs; you should limit yourself on the bad food – just had to add in that little warning** If you don’t push yourself past your limits, you’ll never know what you could’ve achieved. However, there is caution to this. Sometimes going beyond your limits can actually backfire on you. You might go just a little overboard and end up not liking the position it puts you in, so be very cautious.
Find That Fire:
You need to be able to find a reason to keep going, to keep pushing yourself. That fire, whatever it may be, is the thing that’s going to help get you up every morning when you’re too tired or sore. It’s going to be the one to help push you that extra mile, to go the distance. That fire is what’s going to help you overcome every nay-sayer you may run into. It’s going to help keep your head up, when everyone wants your to be pushed down.
At the end of the day, if you don’t think you can succeed and that you don’t have the resources to succeed, then I need you to read up on a lot of the well-known athletes we have today. They came from run-down neighborhoods, people constantly telling them they can’t achieve things, that they’ll become deadbeats, that their stupid for chasing those dreams; they turned all of that into the fire/motivation they needed to continue going. I’m here to say that you can succeed at anything you truly put your mind to. If you’ve never had anyone who said that they supported your dreams or wanted you to succeed, well, let me be the first. I know that there are hundreds of people out there who have amazing talent, who are great athletes, who have wonderful minds/creativity, but they don’t pursue it because they’re afraid of failing. Failures are a part of the road to success, and if you fail, get back up and keep trucking.