When Opportunity Knocks… Will You Be Ready?
By Coach Jimmy Hays Nelson
I have always been one of the most avid sports fans I know. From a very young age, I loved the drama of a buzzer beater or a last second Hail Mary to win a game! Athletes were larger-than-life figures who allowed me to play out my sports fantasies in my front yard pretending to be Troy Aikman, Michael Jordan or Nolan Ryan.
I have also always been fascinated with the story of the under dog. The player the ‘experts’ said didn’t quite have the size, speed or athleticism to play in the big leagues, yet overcame the odds to shine their brightest on the biggest stage.
The history of sports is covered with them. Names like Rudy, Doug Flutie, Spud Webb, Kurt Warner, and now the latest sensation… Jeremy Lin!
For those of you who don’t get your daily dose of ESPN or Sports Center, Jeremy Lin has taken New York City, Madison Square Garden and the NBA by storm. This little known point guard from Harvard has bounced around the NBA from team to team, sitting on the bench, reduced to playing for lesser teams in the developmental league. That was until a couple of weeks ago when, due to another player’s injury, Lin got his opportunity to shine on the biggest stage, playing for the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden.
Will you be ready when opportunity knocks at your door? Jeremy Lin was…
Prior to this game, Lin only played 55 minutes of the Knicks first 23 games. But that didn’t keep him from seizing the moment when opportunity knocked. On February 4th, Lin had 25 points, five rebounds, and seven assists—all career-highs—in a 99–92 Knicks victory over the New Jersey Nets.
This sparked a five game winning streak for what had been a struggling Knicks team. In that stretch, Lin became first player in NBA history with 20 points and at least seven assists in his first four starts. Then last night, Lin capped a win over the Toronto Raptors with a 3-point bucket with less than one second remaining in a game! He surpassed Shaquille O’Neal’s league record for the most points in his first five games as a starter!
Stories like this really touch my heart. They are a great reminder that you might be struggling in your current day to day. You may feel like you deserve better than how you are currently living. Maybe you were passed over for a job that you were the most qualified candidate. Or you find yourself picking up the pieces of a nasty divorce after you took a life long vow of love and devotion. I don’t know your specific situation, but I do know it is easy to feel sorry for ourselves, blame others for our struggle, and think that life’s not fair.
I’m sure Jeremy Lin felt that way at times as he sat on the bench watching other players. He wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school to play at a big name basketball school when he knew he had the skills to not only play in college, but to go on to be an NBA Star. I’m sure that stung as well.
I know there were many times in my life I felt like I was dealt an unfair hand. Why did I have to be the fat kid growing up? I can’t afford to go to a gym; it’s not my fault I’m 100 pounds overweight! Why did I drop out of college three times due to lack of money when other kids with lesser work ethics got all their education paid for? Would my life be different if I didn’t grow up in a family with multiple divorces? Who is going to love me looking like this?
I look back on my struggles now and, oddly, I am very thankful for them. Without experiencing the frustration, I wouldn’t be the man I am today. We truly are molded by the adversity in our lives. The same trials, frustrations, and setbacks happen to us all.
It’s not what happens to you that define who you are or who you’ll become, it’s what you do in the face of adversity that shows your true character.
Jeremy Lin chose not to let his circumstances define who he knew he was. Even when others said that he wasn’t talented enough to play professional basketball, he continued to work on himself, his mindset, and his skills so when the opportunity presented itself he was ready.
"I've surrendered that to God. I'm not in a battle with what everybody else thinks anymore," Jeremy Lin.
I challenge you to not dwell on your current situation. It may seem bleak. It might be worse than anything or anyone else could imagine. But what seems like a negative to you could very well be used to bless someone else. I would not be as effective as a Coach, helping others reach their weight loss and fitness goals, had I not had to battle my own demons first.
I could have just blamed outside circumstances for my physical health. But I chose to take action and put more energy into improving myself instead of blaming others. I didn’t wait for some magic lightening bolt of motivation to come zap me off my couch. Because of that, God has more than matched my effort and blessed me to impact others lives through health and fitness.
The current chapter in your life is NOT how the story has to end! And guess what? You don’t have to do it alone. I am more than happy to partner with you! I want you to learn from my mistakes so your success rate is faster and greater than anything I have ever done. I believe in you. The question is: Do YOU believe in YOU enough to take the first step?
I invite you to follow me on Twitter so we can connect!
May my failures be the Springboard to Your Success! - Coach Jimmy