I sat there patiently, my heart about to jump through my throat.
Tying my Converse shoelaces over and over, trying to keep from throwing up from anxiety.
Standing up as quickly as I possibly could, a smile radiating across my face.
Just before I could jump for joy into the air, the coach looked me dead in the eye with of disdain.
"Not you. The other Jackie."
That was my first team try out in 7th grade. My dreams of playing basketball were shot dead right then and there. The rest of that day is gone from my memory, but I can imagine a lot of tears were shed and feelings of failure probably flooded my entire body.
Two years later, I put myself in the exact same position.
Instead of basketball, it was lacrosse. There were 150 girls trying out for both the JV and the Varsity team (we didn't have a Freshman team) and 75% of them weren't going to make either.
Tryouts were an absolutely grueling experience. Five days of brutal workouts, exercising, and anxiety.
I pushed myself over those five days harder than I have pushed myself in almost anything.
Then came D-Day. I stood there holding my stick shaking from head to toe.
Did I mention tryouts were in the beginning of January? In Michigan? In single degree weather? Yeah.
I stared at the coach wide-eyed. "Me?"
"Uh, of course you." (She gave me that "Duh, asshole." look... Coach Gabby didn't fuck around.)
Not only did I make the team, I made Varsity and stayed on Varsity for all four years.
So, what does this have anything to do with being a writer or a business owner?
Imagine if I had let that original tryout lay the entire framework for how I saw myself athletically? What if I had quit sports forever right then and there? What if I let this define not only myself as an athlete, but my worthiness as a person?
But that is what happens when you quit the first time.
Don't think this is common? Think again. For over a year, I worked as a personal trainer. You cannot imagine the amount of people who I worked with who were 20+ years out of high school and were 100% convinced they were horrible at anything athletic, and they were actually just fine. Most of these people were now heavily overweight and faced serious health risks due to that weight. They would talk about how they were never on an athletic team or were always picked last in gym class.
I hear it all the time now in my 20's from my peers: "Oh I didn't play sports in high school," "Oh I tried out for a team once but I sucked," "Yeah I wasn't a jock," "Nobody picked me in gym". Half of these people can't even imagine going to the gym now because of some traumatic experience in high school involving either sports, gym class, or the athletes themselves. It doesn't matter how much exercise can improve their lives, they still use those past moments to define who the fuck they are as an adult.
Funny thing is: If you have the ability to pick things up and put them down, and get yourself around your house, YOU CAN GET IN DAMN GOOD SHAPE. Being on a team in high school or being picked first in gym is not a prerequisite.
Here is the question you need to be asking yourself: What failures in your past are you letting define you now?
Don't think you're a good athlete? Well get a trainer and test that theory.
Think you'll fail as a business owner? Start a business! Do work for your friends if you have to. If that doesn't work, DO IT AGAIN because sometimes it just doesn't work out the first time.
Think you're bad at art? Draw some shit and find out!
Think you are a bad fiction writer? Write 1,000 pages every day for a year and find the fuck out.
Think you're bad at social media? Get a Twitter account and talk about what you're passionate about.
Sometimes it is also just a matter of being in the wrong arena.
I wasn't a bad athlete, I just happened to suck at basketball.
I tried to be a fiction writer when I was younger. It didn't work out. I then found journalism and fell in love at 20. I wasn't a bad writer, I just wasn't in my arena.
I suck at finding clients on Facebook. I rock at finding them on Twitter.
But here is the thing: You won't know if you're in the right arena or not until you shut up and try.
I didn't know any of these things about myself until I tested them myself.
It doesn't matter how many years it has been or what you failed at in the past. Your past does not define you, the decisions you are going to make RIGHT NOW, IN THIS MOMENT, do.
And until you try, you won't be able to narrow down what makes you happy.
And until you look those false fears in the face and test them, you will always be limited by your self-limiting beliefs.
The only thing holding you back is you.