“How can I be seen?”
I get this question a lot from younger basketball players (or their parents). They want to be noticed. They want college coaches to see their ability. They want exposure on the recruiting circuit.
Too often, however, they don’t end up getting exposure. They get exposed.
They’re not ready. They’re striving to prove themselves when their focus should instead be on improving themselves.
I get it. I was once in their shoes. I missed my entire sophomore year of HS basketball and nearly all of the AAU season because of a foot injury. I had more attention from college coaches at the end of my freshman year than at the beginning of my junior year. I wanted to be seen, but the truth was I needed to get healthy and get in the gym. I needed to put in the lonely work necessary in order to be ready for when opportunities came.
I can relate now as well. Professionally, I’m in a new field — financial services. I’m studying for exams. I’m having discussions with prospective clients and business owners and others who are more “successful” than me. It’s a new arena for me, and I want to prove myself. I want to show I belong in this new industry with new jargon and new metrics. Of course, I need to take action. I can’t wait until I know it all because then I’ll never make progress. My focus, however, should be on developing as opposed to proving I belong.
I don’t believe the desire to prove oneself is all bad, but I don’t want just the appearance of success or the recognition of others. I want a meaningful life, one full of significance.
I don’t want to just sound smart. I want to learn. I need to ask questions and seek to understand before being understood.
I don’t want to just show off my skills. I want to welcome coaching. I need to accept feedback, including criticism, in order to get better.
I don’t want my marriage to just look like it’s strong. I want to prioritize my relationship with Theresa. I need to be intentional daily to connect with her. I need to protect our covenant.
I don’t want to just appear like I have it all together. I want to be a man of high character regardless of how intact life is. I need to be vulnerable in order to heal and do the dirty work necessary to mature. I want my life to be more meaningful than my social media messages.
Would you be ready if that breakthrough happened? When opportunity comes, will it bring exposure to the training you’ve endured or only expose your lack of preparation?
I love this verse from Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.”
I want to get “there.” I want a bigger platform. I want to level up. But the best path there has always been in being the very best right where we’re at.
Keep improving…and you’ll prove your point in the process.