Just before my senior season of high school football, I left the team because of an injury. I decided to move on, reasoning that I would rather enjoy free afternoons and a chance to focus on college admissions. My decision could be seen as giving up prematurely or logically moving on, the difference being whether I had anything left to give to the team. The concept of giving up prematurely vs. expending all of one’s effort is especially important in the context of working in college athletics where fluidity is the norm. How often do we set ourselves up to fail subconsciously by saying we tried, leaving effort on the table?
How often do we set ourselves up to fail subconsciously by saying we tried, leaving effort on the table?
Anyone can wake up and go for a run every day for a week and say “I didn’t lose any weight” then give up after convincing themselves they tried. I consider trying to be planning a time to run consistently, going to bed at night before, eating after to stay energized, stretching, etc. If all the prep work has been done and the intended results aren’t there, then yes the next logical step would be reassessing your methods for achieving a goal.
There is no fine line that will determine the right time for reassessing your situation, and there probably never will be. Whenever I do take the time out to reassess my varying circumstances, I ask myself a few questions to differentiate whether I am really giving up without giving it my all or not.
Am I getting what I signed up for?
Can I still get what I signed up for?
Why did I do this in the first place?
How can I change to make things better?
I think through these questions in the third person to give myself a bit more detachment and be a better self-advisor.
In the case of football, I was no longer getting what I signed up for because I couldn’t play anymore regardless. In the first place, I played to prove to myself that I could. It was an experience I wanted to try in life. I played for years achieving my goal so I had no problems with hanging the cleats up a few months early. I have of course made many more difficult decisions through college and interning and now with graduate school. Our analysis won’t often come with chances for such detachment, but trying to think about the situation as objectively as possible and thoroughly is the best way to try and make the art of moving on or giving up into a science. Ultimately, only I can answer whether I gave my all to a situation, as much as anyone else is responsible for living with their assessments. However, fearing failure is the enemy of striving to succeed. Athletics will not give us a full proof method to succeed so we must be willing to explore the varying opportunities earnestly and not allow fearing failure to stop us from growing.
Erick Taylor is an aspiring college sports professional and MPSA candidate attending Texas A&M University. Originally from the Greater Atlanta area, Erick received his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University, where he also served as a development intern for the Panther athletic department. A young, relatively inexperienced prospect in this industry, Erick is in search of the tools and skills required for success. By sharing his journey, he hopes to help others achieve their professional goals as well.