MyVegas 421 - Acamea Deadwiler

Page 98

No amount of success can make up for failures in your health and home.


Be Better at What Matters

I left my prestigious Chicago film school. Along with the hour-long train rides to and from my northwest Indiana home, and the mile-long treks through rain, snow, and freezing temperatures necessary to get to class. I’d chosen to instead enroll at a local university that had a basketball team I could join.


was a novice in the sport aside from some intense driveway battles with my brother. Those college girls who’d been playing organized basketball since they were toddlers wiped the floor with me. Mopped it clean.

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Playing basketball taught me what it’s like to feel incompetent. But you don’t feel that way without also learning to be vulnerable. Without trying new things and opening yourself up to potential embarrassment, criticism, and the exposition of your failings. It’s much like joining the world of professional writing. I remember early in my career I was covering the Chicago Bulls for Yahoo Sports. There was one article where I made a silly, cringeworthy grammatical error. Something like using “they’re” instead of “their.” I was mortified when someone addressed my blunder in the comment section.

“You’ll be back flipping burgers soon making those kinds of mistakes,” was his reply after pointing out the rudimentary oversight. Interesting how the remarks of one naysayer can tear down mountains of praise. How it feeds our disease of chronic perfectionism. That comment left me overwhelmed by the fear of inadequacy every time I published a future story. Then, a couple years later I released my first book. A now out-of-print memoir about overcoming adolescent struggles. The book got me invited to appear on a local FOX network talk show. After the show, I looked at my phone to find a bunch of emails, texts, and social media messages from people who saw my segment. They told me their stories and how hearing or reading mine made them feel seen. It was the first time I ever cried happy tears. Because in that moment I knew I was good enough for what I considered most significant—to be of service with my words. I was doing what I was meant to do. This story was intended to be about how I transitioned from basketball to writing. I was supposed to tell you how I got cut from the team on my first try and came back to earn a scholarship on my second. My goal was to detail how the experience nurtured my confidence to meet with both triumph and disaster—and treat those two imposters just the same. But like much purpose-driven work, the story started as one thing and turned into something else. I’ve surrendered to not knowing exactly where I’m supposed to go or how I’m supposed to get there. In letting the work lead me instead of wielding rigid guidance, I’ve discovered that it always becomes what it’s supposed to be. There is no “right” path. There is only “your” path. Let it find you. MV By Acamea Deadwiler


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