This quote by Wayne Gretsky changed my life. I spent most of my early years living out LOUD, being me, doing what I wanted, and not worrying an ounce about what others thought of me. If I wanted something, I truly believed it was mine to achieve. I could get it and I went for it.
Somewhere during the angst-y teen years of high school, I started questioning everything, including myself. What makes me so special? Who am I to think I could be the President? Who actually wants to read what I have to say? Why would anyone trust me as a CIA agent when I am 5’2”, 120 pounds, and don’t even know how to shoot a gun?! (yes, I really wanted to be in the CIA as a young child and teenager)
The inner questioning coupled with the “proof” of imperfect grades and performance, awareness of mistakes, and adults and peers telling me that “maybe this isn’t your thing” started to shift my who-cares-lets-go-for-it attitude from my youth.
I read somewhere that Michael Jordan was cut from his Varsity Basketball team in his sophomore year. Kate Winslet was told to plan on settling for “fat-girl parts” by a high school teacher. Regardless if these are truly factual stories or not, we all can relate to times when we have wanted something and were told externally or by ourselves that we shouldn’t because we weren’t…
…and so it is easy to settle and live a life of mediocrity that is far from the dreams that lulled us to sleep as a kid. Luckily for me, this isn’t exactly how it went, but I could picture how easily I could’ve been swept into this path of least resistance and a lifetime of settling.
Instead, somewhere in my 20s, I took a leadership and development course where I learned of Wayne Gretsky. I had never heard of this legendary human (I know, I know!) and his profoundly simple philosophy, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” WHOA!
In that moment, I realized that I want to ALWAYS be someone who takes the shot, who takes the chance, who goes for it. Even if it seems like an unlikely situation for success. Because if I don’t, then I have already lost.
Making the shot is not a guarantee. And really, to me that isn’t the point. Every day I hear voices externally and internally that shout doubt my way, and every day I remind myself of what a rush of energy it is to acknowledge fear and then do it anyway. If I do nothing, then nothing new will happen. But risking a miss, a mistake, or looking like a fool, gives me the potential of experiencing a victory. I will take that risk any day of the week!
So, what shot are you not taking in your life today for fear of missing, making a mistake, or looking like a fool? Are you willing to never experience the dream, the shot, the victory? NO?! Good! Then how can you get more comfortable with missing and making that mistake? When you know that by missing you have already made it further than you were, and further than many are willing to get, missing actually becomes a success. So, go for it. You got this!