There are few experiences that repulse me in my life more than the day I had three fielding errors in one
inning as the starting shortstop on my high school baseball team. Mercifully, my coach pulled me out of the game after the third error.
Words cannot describe the embarrassment, shame and utter helplessness I felt that day. To this day, I still feel some shame and inadequacy even in sharing with all of you; and I'm still sad that the 15 year old Rodney didn't feel like he had anyone to lean on after that game.
However, I want to share it because I believe it is fundamental to learning about how we sabotage our potential and our power.
As a kid, I became so obsessed with my performance, especially in baseball (because I didn't want to disappoint the coach or other dads' watching) that I was no longer playing baseball. I was constantly performing baseball and using it as a way to prove I was worthy and lovable. Perform well meant I'm okay for now, perform poorly meant danger, being shunned, being a disappointment.
Every play and at bat became about not screwing up, for fear of being rejected or realizing that I truly was unlovable and unworthy.
Consequently, with all of the pressure, self judgment and criticism I put on myself, I began to play poorly. After all, how could you play with all that fear. Play is fun and easy.
I had all of the skills, fundamentals and work ethic. I could hit, field and hustle, but I couldn't just PLAY any longer. It was like walking through a constant crucible and any man would eventually fold under that level of pressure, much less a 15 year old boy without a dad to tell him it was okay.
It goes the same in our professional lives. You can only perform under intense pressure for so long, before you crumble, stumble or breakdown.
We all know that we perform our best, when we give ourselves permission to play full out, without apprehension or fear that we won't do well. Watch any great athlete, watch how they play the game. They do it with a sense of freedom and recklessness. They aren't worried about the last bad shot, or the last season, or how much they practiced.
They are PLAYING in the moment and that allows their highest and best to emerge, or not, and it doesn't mean anything about their worth, value or lovability, which means they can come back the next day and play at their highest and best.
I recently moved to Mexico and have gotten the opportunity to play on an adult baseball team here. I'm the only "gringo" on an all Mexican team. This has given me the opportunity to learn to PLAY baseball again and to get that in order to perform something well, you have to PLAY.
Consequently, bringing an attitude of playing to the baseball field 16 years later in Mexico, has me enjoying and playing the sport better than ever.
Where has your life become a constant performance, a crucible to determine your worth or value? Take a look at your career, or how you stay "busy," or your romantic relationship, or how you are constantly trying to catch up.
The thing I want to tell you all:
"You are worthy because you breathe!"
Practice playing the game of life. Stop relating to yourself as having to prove your worth or value.
"You are worthy because you breathe!"
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