There is a moment that comes close to the end of a football game that gives every emotionally invested participant goosebumps. It’s that instant when everyone on the team – players, staff, coaches, fans – are united in one sentiment. The previously wild and charged stadium goes still and there are no words spoken, just a simple gesture that unites that side of the field in acknowledging that the end – the desired end – is near. As this year comes to a close, I’m picturing that moment in my head more and more often. I know I could use that solidarity right now and I’m guessing you could too. So get comfy, cause Coach Kate has a few words to say.
Yes, I’m looking at you. The one who set the big goals for this year. The one who started 2012 with stars in their eyes and hopes beyond measure. The one who at the beginning of this year wasn’t afraid to dream big and reach high.
How’s that working out for you? Are you happy with what you’ve done this year? Did you reach those heights you planned to?
Or are you, like me, feeling like you’ve just phoned it in so far (whether that’s true or imagined)?
Or worse, did you sit down sometime in January after making your list and forget to get back up?
This is your wake up call.
This year is not over. This game is not over. There’s still plenty of time on the clock.
We have three months until the end of the year. That’s three whole months to go after whatever it is you wanted out of 2012.
And I want you to get up and get after it.
I’m not a sports fan, but I’ve witnessed my share of sports games over the years. I’ve watched those players who sit on the bench for the entire game. I’ve seen the look on their faces when the coach puts them in to play at the last minute. For at least one second the look is the same: sheer terror. And then some of them move into the “Are you kidding me?” stage, which is about where I’d imagine you are right now.
I’m not kidding you. Think about those players.
Do they come off the bench, acting like they’re 4th in line for the throne? Do they drag their feet and whine that they’d have done a better job if they’d been put in to play as a starter? Do they refuse because they know they’re only playing because the team has already secured a strong enough lead that they can finally be trusted not to screw it all up for everyone?
They get off their asses and go as hard as they can.
They come into that game like they’re carrying the whole thing. Like they stand a chance at being MVP. Like they own the whole sport and everyone else should feel honored to be allowed to play it with them.
They give it EVERYTHING they have. Because it’s absolutely ALL they have. Their only chance to make a difference. Their one shot at demonstrating they deserve to be there.
And we all know it. The fans all sit at home or in the stands and know their every weakness. We’re not excited when our celebrity quarterbacks are sidelined – we’re devastated. We start to give up on the win. We know those benchwarmers are a pale substitute for “the real thing.”
But it doesn’t keep those players from giving it all they’ve got. They’re amped to prove us wrong, ready to show us they deserve the accolades and our praise.
No one laughs at them when they take it seriously. Rather, we expect it of them. We demand it.
The stakes are higher.
There’s no going back now.
So I want you to close your eyes and picture your win.
Whatever it is you’re after this year. How will it feel when you have it?
Does victory mean getting exactly what you wanted when you wanted it? Not even close.
Does it mean leaving everything you have on the field? Walking into the locker room at the end of the day, knowing you did everything you could? Knowing you fought with all you had to get where you’ll be when it’s all over?
That’s more like it.
Because at the end of this year, there is another year. And there will be one after that. There’s time to reach your goals, and you’ll get there when you get there.
But you won’t ever get there unless you fight for it.
Maybe you’re tired. Maybe it feels like doing nothing is easier than trying again. Maybe the idea of failing is scarier than the thought of not trying at all.
I’m here to call bullshit.
Because the thought of giving up on your dreams should scare you more than knowing you tried your hardest to get there.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been trying. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve fallen down. It doesn’t mean anything that you’re not where you set out to be right now.
Remember what you want. Remember who you are. Remember you’re not alone. Remember you deserve this.
Because at the end of the day this isn’t about winning, is it? This is about dreaming bigger, making the hard choices, taking the scary risks, and ultimately coming out better for it. When you look back at this year you don’t want to see a pattern of quitting and giving up.
So break the cycle. Get off the bench. Get in the game.
And if you’ve been in the game all along, don’t stop running now.
Because this year is almost over.
And 4th quarter is ours.
So get your hands up.