There is something to be said about showing up. There is more to be said about showing up on a daily basis and finishing the game, win or lose, no matter what.
There is something to be said about the willingness to compete and the drive to stay motivated, even when the outcome is lost.
I admire this.
There is something about looking at the scoreboard and seeing how far down the team is, but yet, the heart of the player is still alive, still beating, and still playing as if victory was well within reach.
There is something about the fighter that answers the bell when the fight is seemingly over. The scorecards are in the other direction. Nothing except a miracle could salvage the fight, but yet, when the bell rings, the fighter comes out to answers for another round.
There are times when life is this way. The scorecards are in the other direction. There are times at work when projects go wrong. We cut a few corners or we connived something and then we were caught.
There are times when we make costly mistakes. This happens.
The truth is we lose in life. Even the undefeated athlete has lost before. Everyone loses at one point or another.
Champions lose all the time. They lose sweat. They lose sleep. They lose their free time because their sport demands their attention.
I knew a successful businessman that once told me his business cost him a lot. He lost two marriages to his business. He lost partners and time with his family. He lost plenty.
Just because there was an outward exterior that suggested he was wealthy and successful; this does not mean that he was never subject to losses or failure. Quite the opposite, actually, he lost plenty.
Life comes with humiliation. Anyone that says otherwise is either lying or selling something. Everyone makes mistakes. This comes with the territory.
There are times when we give in or allow our thinking to get the better of us. There are times when the clock is against us. The scoreboard is not in our favor and we are faced with one of two options; either we forfeit or we play through.
This is what makes champions great. Celebrating a win is easy but fighting through a loss and refusing to give in is absolutely heroic. This is what champions do.
I believe they call this tenacity. This is what it means to have something called stick-to-itiveness [stik-ˈtü-ə-tiv-nəs]. This means to be dogged; to have perseverance, and to continue without breaking stride and to endure, no matter how that pain grips us — no matter what happens, we stick to it.
This is a drive that comes from within. There are times when the drive to pursue is easy to have. There are also times when the spark in us is dim and weak. But this is when we have to rise. This is when we are tasked and have to come up with the fortitude to fight through.
This is when we have to stand the tallest. No matter what the score says or the outcome will be, no matter what we’ve lost, this is when we are truly tested.
As a man that is guilty of sins from my past and as someone with a long list of mistakes, I can attest to the feelings of humiliation and fear.
I can attest to concerns of public exposure or the worries that past mistakes will have a way of pushing into my current affairs.
I believe they call this ego because God forbid I appear anything other than human and be vulnerable.
This is where humility comes in. This is when strength comes from. This is why there were times I decided not to involve myself because I was uncomfortable with what could happen. “What if I lose?”
Or “What if I fail?”
Then again, what if I don’t?
What if I rise above and create a whole new scene?
Years back, I was out with a few friends. I saw some old familiar faces from the neighborhood. One of them was leaking out old secrets about me. He said a few things about me to a girl to earn some points and make his way. Unfortunately, the young woman reported the news to me. Of course, this brought on a few stages of humiliation.
I approached the person about his opinions of me. I asked about the things he said, to which he denied saying anything.
But I knew the truth. I knew the truth because it was impossible for the girl to know about my history without anyone telling her.
I didn’t argue the point. I didn’t argue about the stories. I agreed with them. When approaching the person that spoke badly about me, I said “You’re right, that’s who I was. But just so you know, that’s not who I am now.”
I didn’t yell or argue or threaten. Instead, I kept my chin up, pointed out the truth, and then I walked away because the truth is: yes, I’m aware of my yesterdays. I just don’t live there anymore is all.
We all go through trying times. Some days are more challenging than others but no matter what the scoreboard says or what judgement awaits, there is something to be said about showing up and finishing the game, no matter what the outcome will be.