In the first year, I posted here everyday with a mix of posts. For the last five months, I've continued to share every Tuesday and Thursday with a bigger focus on the professional side. With an opportunity to write about the personal side on another blog platform beginning June 24, this blog will now focus on the professional side. I will post here every Friday, and hope you will check out my dating blog every Monday and Thursday: http://www.chicagonow.com/hitz-mrs/ You can also see my sports business articles on MigalaReport.com each week.
I met Ryan Leaf in August when he was in Norman to speak to the Sooner Football team. He was in the final writing stages of his first book, “596 Switch: The Improbable Journey from the Palouse to Pasadena” so I was thrilled that he shared some insight into how he was writing his story since I had just started putting together three years of research in hopes of writing a story of my own.
I started reading his book on my way back to Chicago two weeks ago and have been taking away even more insight on how to tell a story. The whole story, not just the parts that make you look good. There’s something refreshing about the truth, which is what he puts in this book.
I remember watching as Washington State made its way to the Rose Bowl. I was working at Northwestern at the time so it reminded me of NU’s similar run two years earlier. But this story isn’t the same. And what you get out of reading Ryan’s story won’t be the same for everyone either.
The 596 Switch is the play The Cougs would’ve run if they had two more seconds to run one last play in the Rose Bowl. We can all find a time in our lives when we ask this same question Ryan (and all Cougar fans did) that day, “what might have been?”
I was on a career advice panel at the University of Oklahoma in January and one of the students asked, “What is your biggest regret?” I thought back to what I realized during that conversation with Ryan in August and told this group that everything I’ve done through the years is what got me here today. There are things that could’ve been done differently, but I wouldn’t have learned from them and then gone on to make better decisions. More confident decisions.
I’ve always been the goodie-goodie so I haven’t done anything that I’m ashamed of, but my “596 Switch” is what might have been if I had the confidence to try out again for the high school soccer team. I got cut when I tried out my freshman year and didn’t have the confidence to try out again the next year. Instead of practicing and getting better, I gave up.
If I had focused on athletics, I wouldn’t have spent so much time writing. I wouldn’t have gotten a job at the local newspaper when I was home on breaks from college. I actually got this job after I lost out on a journalism scholarship I had applied for through the newspaper. Instead of giving up this time, I took a second chance and asked them for a job.
I wouldn’t have had the experience to get the job at Northwestern when I graduated if I hadn’t worked at the newspaper. Without NU, I don’t know who I would be today so being cut from the soccer team turns out to be a good thing. It not only put me on the writing path, but it also taught me (years later) that just because one person doesn’t think I’m good enough doesn’t mean I can’t get better. It taught me to try again. I don’t have a game clock like Ryan did determining my next move.
Looking back, it’s weird remembering how timid I was growing up. I’m appreciative of everyone who helped me gain confidence through the years and those who continue to remind me. I think this is where my passion for helping young professionals comes from. I don’t want them to miss opportunities because of one person or one situation. How you deal with rejection, and even praise, can affect the person you become.
One single moment can change everything, which isn’t always a bad thing. What’s your 596 Switch?