All year round, I get messages from young athletes who just got cut from their school basketball team. It’s a devastating experience — happened to me 3 out of 4 times in high school (and I sat the bench the one time I succeeded). I know exactly how players feel: You’ve put so much stock into making the team, you’ve pretty much tied your self-worth to whether or not your name is on the list posted outside of the gym Monday morning. All your friends and family know when tryouts are, you’ve been talking about it so much for months. Everyone is asking you what happened and how things went at tryouts. You’ve Worked on Your Game all summer to be ready. Today is your day!
Then you get cut.
You’re ready to cry — and maybe you do, in private. You’re ready to kill — the coach, or yourself. Your entire word is collapsing around you. But the world will go on, and so will you.
We, humans, do not value things we receive for free or anything we get without hard work and struggle. Am I saying that you didn’t work hard enough to make the team? No, what I’m saying is sometimes we value things a lot more when we’ve experienced heartache in trying to acquire them.
If you called a local Holiday Inn to reserve a conference room, they would be happy to accommodate you — as long as you put down a $250 deposit right now. You can pay the balance of the $500 reservation on the day of your event. If you could reserve and cancel rooms or just change your mind and no-show as you pleased with no penalty, Holiday Inn would have a lot of nights with those rooms going unused.
When you got cut and felt like collapsing on the floor and your friends laughed at you and you cried yourself to sleep and you didn’t even want to look at a basketball for a month, you weren’t failing at all: You were making a deposit. The emotional pain is your down payment on your future success. This down payment pretty much guarantees you’ll show up for your reservation in the future.
The paradoxical thing about this is that your resilience, positive thoughts, and decision to make this circumstance work in your favor — the only three things you need to turn this situation into anything you want it to be –are all free to you, available at your disposal at any time. And they have a higher ROI (return on investment) than any tool you could buy.
You may feel like shit right now, but you’ve just made a reservation for success. Your deposit is non-refundable, which means the payment (of emotional pain) you’ve made still exists whether you show up for your event or not. And when we make deposits, we show up.
Put it on your calendar.