We started basketball last week. In the gym of the local YMCA, Carter and eight other boys run around, dribble, pass and shoot. A good number of the kids on the team were in the spring’s baseball league, so we aren’t too far outside our comfort zone. Carter loves the game. Anything that allows a constant flow of movement is paradise.
Tonight, near the end of practice, Carter slipped and lost the ball to another player. He fell and, as he stood up, started crying and saying he hurt his arm. I walked him over to the side where he got a drink and rested for a minute. The coach (a friend of mine) came over to try to get him back into things.
It took some convincing.
I sent the coach a text message afterwards to get his opinion on practice in general. He said that Carter is great, if he could only figure out a way to change his mindset.
My son, blessed with coordination and athletic ability at age seven, can’t take conflict and failure.
As I typed that sentence, I realize he sounds a lot like his old man.
As writers, failure and rejection is a part of life. Google famous authors and you’ll find their rejection stories, grand novels passing through a hundred publishers before finding the right one. Writers in second and third careers before their break and release onto the market.
Failure and rejection has meaning.
The story of Peter is one in the Bible that always fascinated me. He was told, by Jesus, that he’d deny him three times. Imagine the one you would die for telling you that you’ll turn your back in a time of trouble. The accusations fly and Peter, as predicted, makes his denials.
In the midst of pressure, he walks away. He takes the route of believed safety. When he life goes sideways, he chooses to walk away rather than stand firm. We know it doesn’t end there, though, as he is reinstated by Jesus and lives out his life to face a martyr’s death like each of the other apostles.
The tipping point is the choice to get back in the game. When Carter cries, he’s reacting to failure, to the fear of not meeting expectations or making someone happy. When he wants to walk away from the game, the shame (and shame must be strong at seven) wins.
I know that feeling, every time I put off editing another chapter, writing another post, or crafting another email.
There is nothing as exhilarating as living in your flow, playing the game, moving towards the end goal. This week, consider your mindset and make a change. List out those things you are putting off, whether in business or personal life. Start getting them done one task at a time.
It is a gift that can change your 2016 for the better.