If you’ve read our very first blog, you know that I have loved playing soccer since I was five. My college soccer coach taught strategy. He knew when to push us and when to lighten up. But the most important things I learned from him transcend a soccer field:
If you want success, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. He was talking to us as our legs were shaking after four minutes of wall sits, but I remembered his words when I moved to Germany without knowing anyone there; when I was seasick traveling the world; when I gave my first presentation to a room of 200 people.
I’ve had some of the best experiences of my life, because I could see the value in being uncomfortable. I knew that doing that extra set of push-ups would be uncomfortable in the moment, but it would make me a better player, just like I knew that the discomfort of moving to a new country is temporary but it would bring immeasurable value to my life.
Had I not been aware of the beautiful experiences that being uncomfortable would afford me, I would have never networked with the woman who found me my first job or tried sky diving or began a difficult conversation with a friend. And I might not have had the courage to start my own business.
Polish your boots.I grew up playing soccer on a dirt field, which in Seattle is actually mud, so using shoe polish on my soccer cleats before getting them dirty in a game didn’t make sense. But, that wasn’t his point – it was about showing up ready to play from head to toe from the inside out. It’s about attention to detail.
I remembered polishing my boots when I went into my first job interview, when I tried my first triathlon (it was a sprint – don’t get too excited), and even on days that I wasn’t feeling well but had to work. Show up for life, and it will show up for you.
As I am packing for my 10-year college reunion (gasp) this weekend, I realized that he doesn’t even know how often I have applied what I learned on his field. And he should know that. Too often teachers and coaches plant seeds but never get to see their flowers.
So, thank you, Jerry Smith. I hope you know how grateful I am for what I learned from you as a Bronco on Buck Shaw Stadium.