Day 105: “What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?”
My favorite meerkat from my favorite movie, along with his BF4L (best friend for life), proceed to do just that, while proving to be courageous and taking one for Team Simba. If like Timon you are ever presented with the opportunity—yes, opportunity—to perform a diversionary hula, your answer should always be yes.
Alec Martinez did it. Kawhi Leonard did it while juggling fire torches. Marouane Fellaini, Dries Mertens and America’s newest hero John Brooks did it. In fact, substitutes and the unusual suspects have been doing it from the NBA Championships to the Stanley Cup to the World Cup.
Ok, so they didn’t quite do the hula in drag, but what they did do was shine when they weren’t the stars. They made the difference for their teams not as kings but as hard-working knights—the non-hereditary kind. Knowing how to shine when you aren’t the star and knowing how to flip the script as an underdog is something you should have in your arsenal.
But how exactly, do you shine when you aren’t the star? Well it comes down to one thing: mindset.
First of all, let’s make one thing very, very clear. You are on your team, you are in your department and you’ve made it thus far because you have the prerequisite skill and talent. What this means is that you can shine at any given moment, may be not consistently, but man, when it happens the world better watch out.
Nonetheless, there is someone or there are a few someones who are more consistent and more talented. That’s ok. But there’s a reason superheroes have sidekicks; there’s a reason why Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen.
Here’s where mindset and mentality kick in. First things first, leave the ego behind—I promise you’ll be the better for it. Some of my teammates might even be screaming HYPOCRITE right now, but I promise you they’re wrong. There’s a difference between being an unyieldingly, fierce competitor and being egomaniacal. Second, you need to see coming off the bench to play a role as fulfilling and as a tremendous occasion.
I know it’s hard and admittedly, there was once a time, especially when I was younger, where coming off the bench felt insulting. With maturity, I’ve learned that coming off the bench has its advantages. Every single one of your opponents is underestimating you. Every. Single. One. Therein you have the upper hand and the element of surprise—they have no idea what you’re capable of and they think they’ve seen all that your team has to offer.Oiseaux-videur Angry Bannière
Believing you have the ability to change the tide and change the outcome will influence how you play and it will influence how your teammates play. Your teammates who have been playing several quarters or a half already will catch your contagious energy and effort. Your teammates always know when someone is “feelin’ themselves” or are “locked and loaded”—all they can do is jump onboard your express train.
So, Dear Life, here’s to the bench!