Get In The Game – Get Off The Sidelines

I had a dream the other night that I just couldn’t figure out.

I was wearing a game jersey and was walking out to the field for an All-Star game, but proceeded to stand on the sidelines.

I distinctly recall hoping that I wouldn’t have to actually play.

I stood there hoping I could just be a spectator, which I was.

When I looked down I realized that I was wearing walking shorts with my game jersey.

Now, anyone who has worn street clothes with their game jersey knows that those players are usually sitting out the game.

Perhaps from an injury, illness or other reason. These players don’t get to actually play.

Why did I have this dream?

I still couldn’t figure it out, but some reading and thinking began to show me exactly why.

As I sat and thought about it I remembered a conversation I had with someone earlier in the week.

From the outside looking in, this young person has a tremendous amount of skills, talents and intellect. This person could do a ton of different things, but was comfortable just watching and never trying.

When I asked about fears, the response was this – “I like standing on the sidelines because getting into the actual game is scary. Getting in the game means I would have to commit and –“

Interrupting I asked “And getting in the game means you might get tackled, you might get hurt, you might get injured, you might fail, right?”

“Yeah…” came the response.

I continued, “But standing on the sideline, never getting into the game and playing it safe, means you may never experience all that you were meant to be. Not getting in the game you’ll ever know what could be.”

As I sat and watched, I saw someone whose mind was going and trying to process this conversation.

The funny thing is it was like looking in a mirror.

While there are many areas of my own life where I am actively involved and in the game, there are other areas where I am not.

There are other areas where fear has played a large role in holding me back.

Is Fear Holding You Back?

As a close friend once told me, when fear comes you can do one of two things – Face Everything And Run OR Face Everything And Rise.

Last night I was reading a passage from “Book Yourself Solid” by Michael Port.

It began to reveal to me why I had this dream in the first place. Here’s the passage:

Rule #1: Learn in Action

You must learn in real time and in action. You cannot afford to wait until everything is perfect to go out and do what you want to do. If you wait for perfection to go out in the world and do big things, you’re never going to get there – or get anything done, for that matter. Many people hold themselves back because they think they have to know everything about how to do something before they actually do it. This is not true. You can and should learn while doing.

You cannot learn how to run or become a better runner without actually running. You can certainly read an article about how moving your arms in a particular way can help you stride, but until you put the tip into action, you won’t really know or experience its truth.

If you wait for the perfect time, it will never come.

Procrastination is a killer.

I know firsthand how you can set up plans and goals, create a to-do list and then get overwhelmed by everything else in life.

I’ve done it before.

Countless times.

Soon finding myself a year or two later discovering these notes, these dreams, these big plans that I had let slip away.

Not by accident (I’m sure), I opened my email this morning and found this message from Josh Turner, whose list I am on with the subject line of “What Separates The Super-Successful From the Mediocre”:

“Does this sound like you?

You go to a seminar or buy a course and get some good ideas that could take your business to the next level.

You then create a list of “to-do’s”, set some goals, or perhaps create a detailed action plan complete with deadlines. You’re pretty pumped and cannot wait to get started.

But then real life sets in. Your client load gets a little heavy and maybe family obligations keeps you from getting started with your plans. “I’ll get started next week…” soon becomes your mantra and days and months start to slip by without any progress.

Then, before you know it, a year goes by and you’re dealing with the same problems and worries, stuck at the same income, and—to be frank—a little ticked off at yourself that you haven’t accomplished those goals.

Sure, you can come up with a lot of excuses for not getting anything done. But the main reason is the lack of accountability.”

That’s what it comes down to.

If we are left to do things on our own, if we are left to do life on our own, then oftentimes we’ll let things go, telling ourselves that we’ll get into the game someday.

When we ACTUALLY tell someone of our goals, of our intentions and our dreams, we are holding ourselves accountable to ACTUALLY doing it.

We’ll often do it just to ensure that we can avoid the awkward conversation that comes when the other person asks “So, how’s that business coming along?”

With the re-launch of this site, I thought this would be the most appropriate “first” post.

I’ve had many “first” posts over the years with each new site re-design, but never one that hit home as closely as this one does today.

Left on my own, I won’t continue posting and a few weeks or months could go by before I do anything about it.

So, here I am, sharing with the world to hold me accountable.

I’ll be writing about many different things here, but mostly focused on Writing, Public Speaking and Leadership.

Your Turn

Here’s a little exercise that has helped me move past my fears.

It’s really simple.

Get a piece of paper out and draw a vertical line down the middle.

On the left column title it with “Lies,” and on the right column title it with “Truths.”

Now, I want you to think about all of the things that you have wanted to do, but haven’t.

What negative thoughts and conversations have you had with yourself?

What negative talk has plagued you?

Write it down on the left column. To the immediate right, take some time to honestly think about the statement you wrote as a “lie” and write out what the ACTUAL truth is.

Here’s an example:

Lie: “I’m not a good writer.”

Truth: “I may not think I am a good writer now, but just like anything else I have gotten better at, if I just keep trying and keep practicing, I can become a great writer.”

Try it for yourself.

Stop believing the lies you’ve been told.

Especially the ones you have been telling yourself.

Today I am telling you, as I am telling myself – Get In The Game And Get Off The Sidelines.