Be a Definite Article

Salisbury 1994
Salisbury 1994

In my freshman college dorm, I was known as “Soccer Pete”.  The reason for the name was pretty obvious.  There was another guy named Pete who lived in Pocomoke Hall and it cut down on the confusion.  Since I was on the soccer team and mildly obsessed with the sport, it stuck.  The nickname spread to the point that when I would meet new people, I sometimes heard “Oh you’re ‘Soccer Pete'”.  This all happened organically and through no influence of mine.  However I knew the importance of standing out from one of my soccer coaches earlier that summer.

My coach, Tom Zingale, had a successful soccer career and was trying out for the United States Olympic team.  On the first day of tryouts, each player was given a white uniform and a red uniform.  Tom knew the competition was going to be tough on the field, so he did something to make himself stand out on  the field.  He did his laundry right away!  This was a stroke of genius!  The reason that it was brilliant was that he washed his red uniform and white uniform together.  His red uniform’s colors ran and turned the white one pink.  So when Tom stepped out on the field, he looked like walking cotton candy.  The other trialists  gave him plenty of inventive nicknames but at the end of the tryout he had the last laugh.  He made the team and in a conversation with the coach it became obvious to all that his strategy had worked.

Coach: “We’ll need to find someone to help you with your laundry.”

Tom: “I know how to do laundry.”

Coach: “Yeah right!  Then why is your uniform pink?

Tom: “What’s my name?”

Coach: “You’re…..”

In that silence it became evident that Tom had made himself standout.  Now obviously if he had no soccer skill, then his plan would have failed.  However with the right combination of skill and individuality, he was able to get exactly what he was after.

So my suggestion to you is to be a definite article!  Be THE one that people think about when they think of your thing.  This should be a combination of skill and individuality.  Make yourself the undeniable choice for one reason or another.  DO NOT JUST DRESS UP IN PINK unless that’s you’re thing.  You can stand out by being the definitive best in your field.  Being the only one who is using technology to solve problems in your industry may be your way to standout.  Own it completely and be comfortable with the choice to be you.  This may include having to say “I’m not for you.”  Punk rock is my favorite type of music.  When given the choice, it is THE one that I pick most often.  However it’s not for everyone and embracing that fact is better than being a watered-down version of everyone else.  So go out today, in your work, in your relationship and in your life and be THE YOU that you want to be.  The world won’t know that they were looking for that you until you’ve shown up!

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The Reason You Cry

This post is meant for one particular person but as I usually do, I’m putting it out into the world just in case someone else needs it.

tearThe reason you cry is that the words are hard to hear.  They don’t sound right because they’re the opposite of what you’ve said a thousand times in your head and in your heart.  It seems so foolish that these words would cause you pain.  They are, of course, what you’ve wanted for someone to say for so long.  To tell you about the beauty that lies inside you.  The special things that so many people have overlooked.  The reason you cry is that this moment is fleeting and you’ll be back on your own soon.

There’s no reason to cry because if you look deep enough you’ll see.  The only thing that has happened is that you’ve forgotten.  Forgotten that you are special in everything that you are.  You’ve forgotten that those who have called you ugly are only projecting their cold hearts onto you.  It’s nothing more than a lie that you were told but you believed it.  You took it and wore and made it your own.  Now it is time to shed it and remember.

Remember that this is your life.  It belongs to you and you will decide.  Decide to want for more.  Decide that your value is not in the eyes of those around you but inside of the very fiber of your being.  You are more than they’ll ever realize because they can’t see you.  They can’t see through the reflection of their own hatred for themselves.  Today you will decide to shed the cloaks that they’ve put upon you because you are so much more than they can see.  Now you can decide that your tears are not for you but for them.  Because you know that they could be beautiful too but they have chosen to be ugly and tried to put it on you.  And their unaccepted gift will stay in their hands and their hearts as you walk away.


You’re Not Special

BoltThere is very little that is inherently special about any of us.  Most of us are of average height, income, etc.  Even if you are an outlier in height or something else, you’re most likely average in other ways.  Special is not a divine right handed down through genealogy.

Special is a choice.    It takes a different mentality to do the things that other people will not or cannot.  Showing up is not particularly special unless the place that you show up is the top of Mt. Everest.  In each moment, we have a choice to be special or be like everyone else.  Being special yesterday gives you no guarantee toward being special today.  You’ve got to put chips back on the table, double down if you can because the world owes you absolutely nothing!  The word ‘deserve’ belongs exclusively to those that have chosen to do more.

So what will you be today?  Will you choose to be special or be just like everyone else?  Special is a choice that you can either make or be disappointed in the thought that it wasn’t your day to be chosen as ‘special’.  It’s not a gift, it’s a choice!