Pow! Right in the Kisser!My full-time job became part-time last year.  Not only did my income take a hit, but the loss of benefits have increased my expenses $550 per month. My employer's told me they were going to do everything possible to return my status to full-time, while begging me not to leave.  A few months passed, but nothing changed.  I recently discovered accidentally that my position would remain part-time for at least the next year.  Not one of my three supervisors had the integrity or courage to inform me of this. 

Welcome to the school of hard knocks.  As Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) used to say, "One of these days Alice....Pow!  Right in the Kisser!"

Once their minds enter that mode they lose the ability to focus and cannot make their best efforts.

Attitude, Effort & Focus

Since I began coaching last fall I have repeatedly stressed to the girls that they need to control their attitude, effort and focus.  They have no control over bad hops, bad calls or if another team is far superior to ours, but they can control how they react to those things.  They should concentrate on giving 100% towards being the best they can be, aka Compete, and accept the outcome. 

At times this season they've retained their composure.  Other times their old habits took over in the form of Pity Parties.  Once their minds enter that mode they lose the ability to focus and cannot make their best efforts.  They are checked out for the day.  This is frustrating to observe as a coach, especially early in the first game of a multi-game day, and is definitely contagious.  The disease can also spread to coaches. 

Had I been dwelling on the mistake I just made I surely would not have made that play.

Do as I Say And as I Do

My search for full-time employment has been disheartening.  It is one thing sending off a resume for a position and not getting any response whatsoever.  It's another to get a positive response, kill it at the interview, but not get the job.  Last week I had the latter experience.  On Friday I nailed it.  I knew they loved me.  All weekend I was elated and in anticipation of a congratulatory phone call Monday morning.  Instead I received an email informing me the position was on hold until September, while confirming that they in fact did love me. 

Nothing like starting your week with the wind being taken out of your sail.  Rather than spend the day down in the dumps I got right back to the search.  I also spent time bidding for freelance web design work, which has been supplementing my income for years.  On Thursday I found a posting for what may truly be my dream job.  I diligently crafted the most unique cover letter I've ever written, attached it to my resume and emailed it before lunch.  The company refers to itself as Off-Centered.  I am now anxiously awaiting a response.

In the meantime I will continue the search and attempt to get more web design work.  I'm 47 and it's not my first rodeo.  It's a slow process that requires patience, persistence, faith and humility.  A sense of humor may be a challenge, but really comes in handy.  I also need to brush up my skill set.  I am in charge of me.  It's my responsibility to do what I need to do and hold myself accountable.  I refuse to play the role of a victim of circumstance.  I am a competitor and will succeed.  Without this attitude it would be impossible for me to focus and make any serious effort.

Relating Sports Experiences to Life

Although I did not know it at the time, I learned those lessons while playing sports as a child.  I remember how bad I wanted the ball hit to me again in a game where I made a throwing error.  With a runner on second base and up by one run with 2 outs in the last inning I got my wish.  The ball was hit to me in center field on the ground in the gap.  I got to it before it could get past me, came up throwing to home and nailed the runner at the plate.  What a rush!  Had I been dwelling on the mistake I just made I surely would not have made that play. 

It was experiences like that which helped shape who I am today.  After I made the error I quickly vented my anger with a few choice four letter words under my breath, then refocused and prepared for the next opportunity that luckily I immediately got.  There are times that you have to wait for the next game or worse yet season to make amends.  In those cases you just have to vent and let it go.  As you can see from my example, the ability to control your attitude, effort and focus is one of the most important lessons you can learn from sports that will help you for the rest of your life.