Just keep shooting

Ashly Zahn was not having an impressive game. She had missed her first six shots and didn’t have a single point as her St. Bonaventure basketball team was in the throes of a tough game with the University at Buffalo. But here’s the thing, she kept shooting. That’s what her coaches and teammates were telling her to do. So despite the dismal statistic which, to those pouring over the numbers, would indicate she should maybe take the night off from shooting, she kept plugging away.

Then she hit a baseline jumper.

Then a three-pointer.

Then another one.

Before you knew, Ashley was on her own 10-0 run. She finished with 19 points, all scored in the last six minutes of the game. She was the key cog in St. Bonaventure’s win. Why did Ashley start making those shots? What changed? Here is the golden life lesson folks. Because what changed was absolutely nothing.

See, Ashley is a shooter. That’s her role on the team. More than that, it’s what she’s good at, what she has a passion for. But sometimes things don’t go exactly the way we planned. When that happens, we tend to hang our heads, get frustrated and stop doing what we’re good at because we start to doubt that we’re any good at all.

Her teammates and coaches didn’t let her do that. “You’re a shooter. Shoot,” one of her teammates said to her. And so she did. She trusted herself. She kept shooting. And oh yeah, she keyed the win for her team in the process.

And our life lessons from this tale:

  1. Trust yourself. Do whatever you have to do to silence the negative committee that meets in your head. Kick their asses. Duct tape their mouths. Impishly change the meeting dating in their Google Calendar. You are wearing the ruby slippers. You have had the power all along.
  2. Surround yourself with good people. You don’t need to play basketball to have a team. Not every member of your family will be on your team nor will all of your 432 Facebook friends. Identify the people who will not just cheer you on, but point out the obvious brilliance and talent you possess on those days when the negative gremlin committee decides to storm your brain and hold a meeting. As you hang out with those types of people already in your life, you will begin to attract new members to your support team and see old friends show up in new ways.
  3. Just keep doing what you do. Yes, one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. But insanity and perseverance are overlapping circles. Live in that gray area. Maybe you need to make some adjustments or fine tune your approach. But give up? Stop shooting? Nope. Stay in the game and stay true to who you are. That’s when opportunities start to arrive and you generate results greater than anything you could have planned in the first place.

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