Taking Big Shots (and the upside of missing)

My dad played for Naperville High School’s basketball team. They were in the state finals. He had the opportunity to make a game-winning shot. As a man with deep faith, he made a promise to God: If I make this shot, I’ll become a priest.

Thank the Lord he missed.

What my dad couldn’t have realized at that time is that he was destined to have a much different legacy. He would marry a stunner of a redhead, raise six children with her, leave the stability of a corporate job to start a successful business, and so much more.

The moral? Missing the shot—while devastating at the time—can turn into the best gift of all.

Take, for example, the rejection letter I got from Miami University—the university all five of my older siblings attended. While humiliating, it was a gift I didn’t know I needed. Attending Ohio University allowed me a different college experience than my siblings—one that led to an internship on Capitol Hill, a semester abroad, connections that landed me my first job in Manhattan (which in turn led me to world travel) and, 20 years later, the closest friendships a girl could dream up. The lesson? That rejection letter was life redirecting me to the right path.

Being laid off during the recession of 2008 paved the way for reflecting on what I really wanted to do with my next chapter: work for the greater good. What an honor to have been able to say yes to being the Chief Storyteller at Flying Horse Farms, a camp for children with serious illnesses that hadn’t yet opened. Helping get camp up off the ground is one of my proudest accomplishments. The upside to losing my job? Finding what was, at the time, my calling—which eventually led me to this one.

Some of you may recall when I set a lofty goal and tried out for something called 15 Coaches (you can read the full story here). It was scary posting my dream for everyone to read. I felt in my core that this opportunity was destined for me. So, when I was rejected, the blow was that much worse. Instead of wallowing in my sorrow, though, I bounced forward and reached out to people I wanted to learn from. The effort led me to Denise Restauri, who featured me in Forbes and opened doors for me to become a contributor myself. Best of all, this mentorship has turned into a friendship and one highlight of my 2017. My takeaway? Expect to love the unexpected gifts rejection has in store—they are better than anything you could dream up.

Of course, here’s the rub: To miss shots, you must first take them. Here, then, is to taking big shots this year—wherever they end up.

What shots have you missed, and where did you land as a result? Send me an email, I’d love to know. (Or if you’re about to take a big shot, let me know that too, so I can root for you!) Need help figuring out what your next shot is? I’m an executive coach and life coach who works with clients worldwide.

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