Personal benchmarking…redefining success

The boys played with intensity, few errors and as always, played above themselves. The team I coach struggles for lack of height and by the end of the game not only could we not buy a basket, we simply couldn’t hold their three talls out any longer. The scoresheet shows we lost. Though narrow, an L is an L. Yet for me, the team played a fantastic game. As ever, sport teaches valuable life lessons: we can’t always win, we do make mistakes and even when we play well, “success” must be measured in other ways.

As a basketball coach I’m constantly encouraging my team and developing them to evaluate their individual contribution and their own improvement. There is no doubt the best learning comes from reviewing games & performances when we don’t do so well.

“Success is not measured by quantifying what we’ve achieved, but rather by acknowledging what we’ve accomplished in overcoming adversity.”

After what’s been an incredibly frustrating year littered with grief, apparent failure and moments of introspective questioning of my values and decisions, I am reminding myself that success rarely equates to significance, so as I pause and place things in perspective, the horizon reveals new light on the costs and risks taken to step out of what was into what might be.

Ten years of advocating, educating and fundraising for causes of poverty, persecution and global problems is well behind me and I’m glad that I no longer fill that space. The truth is that space had taken it’s toll and my soul needed liberating; the bonus of a payout paved the pathway forward. Alas payouts only last so long!

I cannot deny that the limbo-laden present is over-shadowed by recognition that in reality some things could hardly be worse. Cradled mysteriously is an undercurrent of peace that prevails beneath the fog-covered landscape of what’s known, a landscape of life that resembles little of what I thought it might some 12 months ago, yet somehow the silhouette of possibility brightens the skyline through the lifting fog…and I await the dawning of a new season.

In my hands, my head, and my heart are the grains and strains of a stressful year. Navigating a penniless business venture and picking up some much-needed painting work seem far-removed from days of speaking to thousands about social justice related topics and calls for involvement and contribution. Yet fulfilment in seeing a completed job has reigned as I’ve somehow navigated yet another turbulent study-focussed year, and my Masters is near completion! Oh what a satisfying day that will be…’til then I hope.

I hope that survival continues and the skills and resilience built after rebuilding from brokenness and burnout a decade ago continue to provide the framework to see me through the financial juggling of another 12 months. I hope that the affirmations of others about life insights and wisdom I share hold true for myself as much as they do for others. I hope that amidst the circling vacuum of uncertainty the undeniable peace persists and holds anxiety and fear at bay. And so I hold onto hope and allow myself the space to rest and find joy amongst lifes’ simple pleasures.

What do you hope for? How are you evaluating your year? What personal benchmarks influence your sense of worth and value?

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