Coming Off the Bench

Whats going on everybody!? Welcome back to another installment of Carter's Call! How was everyone's 4th of July? I hope it was full of great food and exciting fireworks shows. More importantly, I hope somebody saved me a plate lol! Comment below and let me know where you went and how you celebrated, I'd love to hear about it. I did some traveling over the long Holiday week/weekend, I hope everyone can forgive me for missing last week. However beginning with this week's post and on through the rest of the summer we will continue our regularly scheduled programming. Now that we've gotten the administrative stuff out of the way, lets delve into this weeks topic; "Coming Off the Bench". Unless you've never been on a team before, you know what it feels like to "Come off the Bench" and act as a substitute or reserve for your team, group or company. Whether you are a part of the second unit on a basketball team, a member of the army reserve or the assistant to the head of a department at a corporation, you know what it feels like to wait your turn for an opportunity to add value. 

At times, this role can be extremely challenging. More often than not, your being asked to replace a member of the team, on very short notice and perform at an equal to or higher level than the person you are replacing. In addition to these circumstantial challenges, there are mental challenges that you must overcome as well. Often times in a reserve role, you are overlooked, under appreciated and under compensated. You are too often reminded of your inferior significance all the while facing equal expectations to those whom are treated advantageously. As with all of our topics, this feeling of "Coming off the Bench" is shared among athletes and professionals alike. I can recall times as young athlete in a reserve role, often feeling defeated and discouraged by my situation. I would pout and mope because I wasn't getting the opportunities that I felt I deserved. Instead of working harder and relishing every opportunity that I earned, I disengaged and even contemplated giving up. It took me missing the opportunity I had been crying for all that time to realize my perspective of "Coming off The Bench" needed to change. I was unexpectedly thrust into a starting role and I humiliated myself due to a lack of preparation and a defeated mindset. From that moment on I vowed to change my perspective of "Coming Off the Bench" in sports and in life. 

If I would've never changed my perspective about the process of "Coming off The Bench" and embracing the challenges that come with it, I wouldn't be here writing to you today. "Coming off The Bench" taught me to prepare for the job/position I wanted, not the one I currently had; if I wanted to be the starting defensive back, I needed to condition, study the playbook and lift weights like a starting defensive back. If I wanted to be the Vice President of my department in the company, I needed to communicate with colleagues, develop ideas and understand what drives business like the Vice President. Its easy to fall into a trap and feel sorry for yourself because you are being overlooked and under appreciated by your coach or boss. One of the worst things you can do is to compare yourself to those who currently sit in the positions you want to be in. I used to waste so much time and energy thinking that I was better than the player ahead of me or more qualified than the candidate who earned the position I wanted. I used to think it was me against the world, until I finally realized that it was me against me. I was competing with myself, YOU are competing with yourself! When "Coming off The Bench" and preparing for the opportunity to prove yourself, its imperative to reveal the best version of you. It may sound cliche, but providing a personal touch that is unique to you may help you take full advantage of the opportunity you are longing for. 

In this blog we talk consistently about the importance of preparation, a positive mindset and a personalized approach, the process of "Coming off The Bench" encompasses all 3 of these ideas. This may be one of the most challenging steps in your process we've talked about to date! Your confidence, self-motivation and persistence must be at an all time high, otherwise you will find yourself in the same position I was; unprepared, overwhelmed and humiliated. Use your time in a reserve role as fuel to drive your pursuit to new heights and become the best version of yourself, so when opportunity knocks you are ready to answer the call.

For those of you currently "Coming off The Bench, its never too late to change your circumstances. You never know when you may be asked to step up and perform, so stay ready and you won't have to get ready. Until next time. 

- Christian A. Carter