Sometimes you have to learn a lesson a hundred times before it finally sinks in. Before you finally feel it in your body.
I had that last week when I played Padel for the first time. For those of you who don’t know what padel is, it’s a mix of tennis and squash, and very fun to play!
I walked away from the game not only having had an amazing time with friends, but with a very real lesson and greater understanding as to why commitment is so integral to success. Not just success in business, but success in all areas of our lives.
So how did I have this epiphany during a friendly game of Padel?
It was my first time playing and I realised a part of me was holding back. I really wanted to go for it; to dash after the ball, slide on the ground and throw myself head first into the game, but this other part of me was worried.
I was worried that I would embarrass myself. That by fully committing I was making myself vulnerable and I could get hurt. Not physically, but emotionally. I could make a fool out of myself.
So instead of throwing myself into the game, I was holding back and I kept missing the ball.
I watched my friends on the opposite side of the net and I noticed that whenever they missed the ball it was mostly because they weren’t committed to their attack. They were also holding back.
I thought to myself “this is ridiculous, stop being so afraid and just go for it. Fully commit and just see what happens.”
What Does Commitment to Success Really Mean?
As soon as I made the commitment to succeed at the game, not only was I playing better, but I was also having more fun.
And I realised this is true of all aspects in our lives.
We hold ourselves back because we are afraid of looking foolish. The child within us is raring to go. It doesn’t think about all the possible ways it could fail. The child in us has full faith that we can succeed.
However the adult within us is not so keen. The adult is assessing all the possible ‘dangers’ and putting the brakes on. So you end up with half hearted attempts, and half hearted attempts can’t succeed.
It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
There have been so many times I wanted to put my hand up, but the fear of embarrassing myself held me back.
I have learnt over time that the fear of failure is nothing in comparison to the pride you feel when you fully make a commitment to succeed and back yourself. Even if you do fail, it won’t matter, because you’ll be so proud of yourself for trying.
Starting my own business was one of the proudest days of my life. I didn’t know what was going to happen, if I would succeed or a fail, but I didn’t care. I was just ecstatic that I backed myself and made a commitment to succeed.
Making a Commitment to Success
So what did I learn from my Padel session about commitment?
- No-one is looking at you, because they’re all too preoccupied playing their own game. We fear looking foolish or failing in-front of others and to protect ourselves from this we hold back. But no-one is watching and all that ends up happening is that we don’t have as much fun and we don’t allow our true brilliance to shine.
- You need to make decisions quickly and follow through with them. If someone throws you a curveball, decide quickly what you are going to do and then commit. If you don’t you will lose out, because by the time you’ve decided what to do, everyone will have moved on. Commit to those decisions and follow-through.
- Be willing to fail. You have to be willing to go after that shot and fall short. However, also know that in going after that shot you are going to learn what to do differently next time.
- Back yourself. You can’t stand on the sidelines judging everyone else because you are too scared to go for it. Jump in with both feet and have fun.
- The quicker you fail the better. The idea of ‘failing’ or looking foolish is a big part of what holds us back. The sooner you do ‘fail’ the quicker you can get over it. In starting my business I’ve had posts that have bombed, and calls with potential clients that have gone no-where. Great, because I no longer have to worry about that anymore, I can move on to the next thing.
Ask yourself where you have been holding back and see what is beneath that feeling. Decide today that you are no longer going to doubt yourself, instead you will back yourself, you will make a commitment.
Decide what commitment means to you, because that feeling that you didn’t try and that you didn’t back yourself is far worse than the idea that you might fail. I missed out on far too many opportunities because I wasn’t willing to commit, because I was afraid of looking foolish.
I wish I had learned a long time ago that no-one cares, everyone is too preoccupied with their own game to be looking at mine.
So next time you feel you are holding back, just remember; in order to succeed you’ve got to make a commitment and you deserve to back yourself.