My high school team was one of those squads that always seemed to flirt with success. Oh, we had our share of good athletes, and a few went on to play at the college level. However, as a team we could never quite get over the hump, because the hump was always just a little to steep. Therefore, since the inception of my high school, there were no championships to brag about and very few winning seasons.
Mediocrity brought changes, the most notable being the hiring of a new coach the summer before my senior season. He was young, energetic and ambitious with a lot of fresh ideas.
I can still remember that first meeting. He spoke to us and said:
'Men, you have not been winners for one reason. You don't believe you can be winners. Let me illustrate this point'. The new coach paused then continued,
'If I were to lay a fifty foot two by four on the floor of this library, and ask each of you to walk it's distance without stepping off, could you walk it?' All the players nodded in agreement. As if to say yeah, so what?
'Good', he stated.
'Now, if I were to take this same board and I laid it across the top of two ten story buildings and I ask you to walk it again, would I have any takers?' A silence fell over the room as each player reassessed the coach's offer.
'I didn't think so', replied the coach.
'Now,' he added, 'you have doubt and fear to deal with, and that changes everything. Doubt and fear affects your believe level to a point where it is improbable that any of you would make that walk, because now you don't believe you can and the consequences are just to great'.
This made perfect sense to me then and it still does today. Doubt and fear steal far more dreams than they should, allowing people to get sidetracked, skewing their focus and taking their minds off the goal.
What a powerful story I was set to ponder. I think about that experience from time to time and wonder how something so simple could mean so much.
And if you're wondering how we did that season, our new beliefs' took us all the way to the state championships. while posting the best won-loss record in school history.
Bio: Jeff Jennings played Division I football as a linebacker and has also run the New York Marathon. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 35. He writes a popular and inspirational blog http://elcid82.blogspot.com/ --the preceding was reprinted with permission from his blog.