While it is true that we sometimes experience success in life purely by chance, in most cases the exact opposite occurs and successful people tend to do this one very important thing: They put themselves in a position to be successful. Drilling deeper, we may not know when opportunities in life will emerge, but we do control being ready when it’s our turn. For example, an athlete who doesn’t see much playing time can be “in position” for his eventual opportunity by staying in great shape, learning the plays, and being a supportive teammate by bringing a great attitude every day. Before you can score, you have to first be in a position to score.
Direct energy toward positive outcomes
Rather than sitting back and feeling frustrated about a situation, instead try thinking about what you can do to change things for the better. Many athletes reading this right now are upset about lack of playing time, or being played out of position. Instead of wasting energy thinking about how poorly the coach makes decisions, isn’t a better use of your time to learn the specific things you need to do to improve your chances for the future? Remember, it’s a choice when it comes to how you want to handle situations — choose wisely and you might be surprised at how quickly things turn your way.
Ask the right questions, get the right answers
When thinking about how to be in the best position to experience success, a good place to start is by asking the right questions. Having a conversation with your coach is a great starting point, and the feedback you receive can be used to set future goals. Some additional questions to think about might include:
- Where are my weaknesses, and what specific training do I need to do to improve in those areas?
- What ways can I be of help to the team, even when I’m not in the game?
- What options do I have if there doesn’t appear to be a role for me on this team?
- How do I learn and improve my mental toughness so that I can better handle stress and adversity?
Opportunities happen every day, are you ready?
About the only thing that’s certain in sports is that things will always be uncertain. While the future might look bleak in this moment, you never know when you will be called into action because of a teammate dealing with a slump, injury, academic issue, or even off-field problem. Will you be ready when your number is eventually called? Remember, you have to be ready for success in order for success to occur.
While it’s easy to become frustrated, pessimistic, and point the finger toward others, the healthier way to handle adversity is to do your best to stay ready for when “the lights come on.” Countless athletes over the years have gone on to have great careers by being ready for when their number was eventually called, will you be the next success story? Remember, you can’t change what has already happened, but you can prepare yourself for a future opportunity for success.