Get better: Half-time

By Lcid Crescent Fernandez

We’re pretty close to the halfway point of the year and some of us will be looking back on the past six months and reflecting on our journey. In sports, this would be half-time. We might be in the lead with some of our goals. We may be just barely hanging on after going through some intensely tough situations. During this time, a coach would make adjustments in our mindset and execution to enable us to finish strong in the second half, and deliver the win.

Most of us won’t have a coach, though. All we’ll have is us. While I won’t be able to talk about execution, I can talk about our mindset. And right at this midpoint – after we’ve gone through adversity in 2023 already – I want to talk about viewing further challenges and adversity as opportunities.

I tried out for our varsity basketball team back in High School. I was in my junior year, and there were about 18 juniors that tried out. A few of us treated it like a joke so none of us were accepted. It ruined the opportunity for a couple of my friends who I felt were deserving. My performance in this try out wasn’t. There was, however, a unique opportunity. I saw one of the coaches as my batchmates were leaving, and I mustered up all my courage to speak to him. I told him that I was serious about basketball unlike a few of my batchmates and I would be the hardest person in every practice every day. I told him that if there was ever a day where I was not the hardest worker, he can kick me off the time right then and there.

Lo and behold, I’m welcomed into summer camp. I was the 15th guy off the bench. I attended both the grade school practices and high school practices, and I left hours after the rest of the team. I fucking loved every second of it. I viewed every day with gratitude and pride because I wasn’t supposed to be here. Every day was an opportunity to earn my place in practice. PRACTICE! I wasn’t even concerned about playing in the games. I just wanted to be in practice, and that squeezed out every juice of effort out of me that I would be on the verge of cramping every single day. This was one of the best experiences of my life because what everyone called “hard work”, was my last chance. I made the most out of every opportunity and I never missed one practice. I learned so much about the game in how to be a good teammate, how to look at improving myself, and most importantly, how to be open to let other people coach you.

I never became a great basketball player. My crowning achievement in basketball was becoming team captain of our college basketball team in my 5th year. That experience, however, taught me the habits of getting better. Every suicide and every push up is an opportunity to prove yourself. And every day that I was allowed to come to practice was a win. So I celebrated just being able to do the work. I went to sleep excited to wake up in the morning to do the work!

And I learned life skills and habits that I carry with me even today as a student, as an entrepreneur, and as a person constantly trying to get better. And I thank Coach Jophil Cercado for giving a talentless kid a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Even today, I am filled with immense gratitude for you Coach.

Until today, I wake up every day excited to see what challenges that day brings because it’s an opportunity for me to get better. It’s an opportunity for me to earn my place in practice. The rest of 2023 is that chance for you to earn your spot. Let’s go get it.

It’s all about mindset; How we talk to and view ourselves in our journey to be better. 

Every monday, we’re going to talk about getting better.