All I wanted to do growing up was to play Major League Baseball. I always knew this was a tall task, but that never bothered me. I knew that if I put in the work I would get to where I wanted to go.
I realized early on, that if I was going to make it, I needed to eat, drink, sleep and breathe baseball. I had to go all in and that is exactly what I did. Everything in my life was geared toward making me a better baseball player all with the end goal in mind of reaching the major leagues.
This laser-focused ambition began to take its toll on me when I got to college. It wasn’t so much the work and effort that was exhausting, but instead it was the fact that I felt I had to focus on baseball and nothing else. I believed that in order to make it I had to be baseball and baseball had to be me.
For the majority of my college career, I identified myself as a baseball player. That is all well and good, but it comes with a price. When you identify yourself with what you do, then if you fail at what you do you are a failure in all aspects of your life. That is exactly what was happening with baseball for me.
Because I saw my entire self as a baseball player, when I struggled on the field, that struggle leaked into other aspects of my life.
If I went 0-4 in a game or if I didn’t start, I felt that I wasn’t good enough and that attitude was present even after I left the field.
The “all in” mindset is great, and it is a huge factor in why I was able to accomplish what I did in my baseball career, but like anything in life it is best in moderation.
While moderation with, let’s say, dieting looks like having one slice of cake instead of the entire cake, moderation in my “all in” mindset looked like understanding that baseball is something that do and not the entire picture of who I am.
I like to draw the analogy to a quilt. What you do, whether being a baseball player, being a student, owning a business, etc., is just one square of your quilt aka your life. If you believe what you do is entirely who you are then your quilt will only have one square. Not only will your quilt be boring, but it will be ineffective in its job of keeping your warm.
When you understand that what you do is just that, what you do, and it is not who you are, you allow yourself to open up to all of the other squares that make up your quilt. These squares can look like your family, your hobbies, your friends, your dreams, your passions, your side projects, your other life experiences, so on and so on. With this mindset you will see that your quilt is made up of many different squares. Your quilt is big and beautiful and is able to keep you nice and cozy.
When I opened up to the other squares in my quilt; being an RA, being a filmmaker, going bowling, doing photography, and even being a college kid, I made a major discovery. I saw that the more well-rounded I became the better I performed on the field.
Beginning to see myself as more than a baseball player didn’t take away from anything I was doing on the field, instead it added to it. I began to feel less pressure to perform because I knew there was more to my life than just baseball.
Baseball, and reaching the Big Leagues remained at the forefront of my goals and ambitions, but it was no longer consuming me. I was freed from the artificial pressures of needing to be perfect to make it.
While I am done playing baseball and while I did not reach the major leagues, discovering all of the different squares in my quilt has allowed me to seamlessly move on to the next phase of my life with nothing but excitement.
I am extremely proud of what I accomplished as a baseball player; I became the best version of myself. It is because I allowed myself to see all of the squares in my quilt that I was able to accomplish all that I did. I know that this same philosophy will allow me to continue to accomplish all that I want to in the future.
I hope that you allow yourself to see all of the beautiful, amazing, warm squares that make up your quilt. I promise you they are there, you just have to let yourself look.