Up through the 9th grade, I was basically a skinny kid that wore glasses and stuttered. I was the kid that always hung back on the sidelines of life and I was clearly not popular and I was never “one” of the guys. I always shied away from the casual conversation and hated to be called on to read out loud.
Elaine and I were eating breakfast at a restaurant this weekend and there was a little league baseball team on the way to a game. I knew they were on the way to the game because their uniforms were clean. Ha. I would say that the boys looked about 12 -13 years old. While I was eating and watching those boys, all the memories of that time in my life came flooding back. I remembered being cut from the little league baseball team in the 4th grade and walking off the field while all the boys who made the team, were happy and lining up to play ball. I could take the next 3 paragraphs and tell you up to that point in my life the teams I made, didn’t make and the benches I rode the whole season while watching the talented kids excel on the field. I could do that but it is not the main point of this blog. The main focus is what the turning point was for me and recognizing the need in each of us to feel like we are part of something. The need to belong is buried deep within each of us and in my opinion it doesn’t change with age.
For me it was high school varsity football. For you it may me some other sport, chorus, making good grades, an association, a club, church group or any other such areas when you realize for the first time. I can do this. It is the realization that, “I can do this,” that I believe is the element that kids and even adults most need to experience. I call it the “I can do this moment.” In my sophomore year of high school, I had a good friend Ray Leake that was on the football team and he talked me into to trying out. In the spring varsity game I made an interception and that one play changed my life as a young person. I got on the bus after that game and knew I had found something I could do. I wasn’t a 4.5 second 40 yard sprinter but I did like to hit people and that little talent landed me in the middle linebacker position. I have wished many times that I had my old football helmet because it didn’t have any paint left on the front. That period of time was before anyone worried about head injuries to kids and in fact the coaches taught us to tackle leading with our face mask. Ha, hence the reason I didn’t have any paint left on the front of my helmet. I went on to become the captain of the football team and the senior class president of Morrow high school but it all started when I found that place or that thing I could do and felt like I was a part of. For young people and adults alike, we all need that moment when we began to believe in ourselves.
For many people this happens in college or late 20’s or late 30’s before you find your place. For the founder of Chick-fil-A, he was in his in late 40’s. For Colonel Sanders of KFC, he was in his 60’s. For Abraham Lincoln it was after he lost 9 elections before he realized, I can be the president of the United States.
I believe in life each person there are two graph lines, ability and opportunity. Those two graph lines cross several times in a person’s life and with each time, I believe it is an “I can do this” moment. In 1990 in hotel brokerage it happened for me again when I sold my second hotel. When I closed that deal, I felt just like I did when I caught that interception in the spring football game and I knew that this was something I could do. The first time the graph lines crossed for me was when I was 16 years old and the second time I was 32 years old.
What is the point to this blog? The point is to be on watch for those rare moments in our lives when we realize “I can do this.” In real life it is less about our personalities, looks and talents and more about experiencing an “I can do this moment.” I hope you have had many of these moments in your life but if you haven’t, that should be your prayer, that God puts you in position to see and realize that you can do something and do it well. KT