Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guest Post: Ashley from The Shine Project!

This girl needs no introduction at all, we all know her and how awesome she is! So I'll hand it straight over to you Ashley!
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My name is Ashley, and I blog over at The Shine Project.
I cant wait to meet you :)
I never talk about it, but I used to be a softball player.
I started playing when I was about 9, and despite having never played before, got "drafted" into the higher league. From then on I played year round.
In high school, I thought hard about playing in college.
I practiced hard, every. single. day.
When practice was over, I'd spend time with a private batting coach. I dedicated all my time to this sport.
The last game of the season my Junior year of high school we were playing our rival school. They were good. And we had managed to keep up with them the whole game.
It was the last inning.
The bases were loaded.
2 outs.
We were only down by one run.
I was up to bat.

As I walked to the plate, the pressure of winning settled on my shoulders.
I could win the game...or lose it.
This is the moment that players dream of.
All my hard work and practice was going to pay off. I would be the hero. I just knew it.
It was as if the first pitch was in slow motion.
I knew it was mine.
I swung as hard as I could, and as I felt my bat make contact with the ball, I started running.
I got to first base in time to see that I had hit a really high ball to the short stop.
She caught it.
I had made the last out of the game.
I was no hero.

I regret to tell you that was the last time I ever picked up a softball.
As I listened to my team talk crap about me,
I vowed I would never play again. I was mad that after all of my work, I had amounted to nothing.
I try not to think about this event in my life very much. It kills me that I gave up something I loved, because it didn't play out as perfectly as I had envisioned. It kills me that my team was so upset with me (they probably don't even remember now) and more importantly, that I allowed them to affect me.
As I have grown up, I vowed to never, ever, walk away from something I've worked hard for again. In our lives, things are never perfect. They aren't supposed to be. We spend time doing things we love, and other things that we have to in order to get by. If we gave up at the first sign of discouragement, we would never amount to anything.
Almost every great leader that I can think of has had to withstand trial, after trial, after trial.
But that's what makes them so great. Their ability to conquer gives them strength. And in turn, they are able to give it to those that they lead.
Don't give up. Don't settle for second. And when it seems you are in your final inning, with more pressure that you could ever imagine, allow yourself to Shine.
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Does she rock or what?! Head on over to The Shine Project and say hi.

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