The opening window of victory often comes disguised as the closing door of defeat.
During last week’s BCS National Championship game between Alabama and Texas, a dream was broken in a very public way. We all experience broken dreams in our lives. Sometimes they happen in lonely, desperate moments and sometimes they happen on a very public stage.
For Texas senior quarterback Colt McCoy, his dream was broken on a national stage. By all accounts, McCoy passed on the guaranteed millions of last year’s NFL draft because of his desire to lead his Texas Longhorns to a national championship.
Through the course of a long season, McCoy had positioned his team on the doorstep of his dream – a berth in the national championship game. Then the dream shattered. On the fifth play from scrimmage, McCoy took a hit from Alabama’s Marcel Dareus. The All-American quarterback and two-time Heisman Trophy finalist was down for the count.
The media later reported about his failed attempts to revitalize the dream by trying to prove to team doctors he could play with his numb arm. However, a locker room attempt to play catch with his father only demonstrated his injury left him unable to control his throws.
Most of the focus went to the injury’s impact on the outcome of the big game, but a bigger question for all of us is how do we cope with the big dream going wrong?
Despite all of our confidence, determination, and positive thoughts, life does not always go our way. How do we deal when that happens? Do we give up and quit? Do we pick ourselves up and go for it again?
Here is one way to handle these situations. It should be noted that depending on the situation and the person, these phases may last varying lengths of time.
- Feel your feelings – absolutely avoid trying to hide, mask, or pretend that you’re not down about the situation. You’re a human being and human beings feel hurt when they lose something important. It’s normal and natural so let yourself feel it.
- Accept – accept what is. As important as feeling your feelings, is accepting the reality of the loss or defeat. Acceptance forms the foundation that allows you to transform the situation into something positive.
- Regroup and evaluate – after you’ve felt your feeling and accepted the situation, you are ready to think about how to move forward. Is the goal or dream something that is repeatable? Can you make another attempt? If so, is it worth the effort for you to do so? Are there other dreams that this situation makes possible because you have more time or energy to put into them? Especially, a big setback is the perfect opportunity to take stock of where you are and make some decisions about where you want to go.
- First steps forward – to this point in the process, you’ve been trying to hold your ground in the face of the situation. Now it’s time to begin moving forward again and pushing towards your new dreams and priorities. Now you begin to have perspective and you see how what seemed like a setback was really a stepping stone to things you never thought of or anticipated.
- Belief – as you begin to move forward, your confidence rebuilds and you begin to believe again. You become passionate about your new possibilities and eager to pursue them.
- New achievement – the final stage is when your hard work, determination, and belief place you in position for a new achievement. You’ve grown from your past defeats and you’re now more ready than ever to shine and to show what you’ve got. Think about it. How many sports teams jump from obscurity to champion in one year? Not very many. Most teams will make the playoffs once or twice with varying success. They take what they learn from their losses and begin again towards the dream. Then one year a champion is suddenly born.
What’s next for Colt McCoy? Well, probably the NFL millions he passed on last season. The dream of a college national championship is one he’ll have to give up in pursuit of new dreams.
Setback is part of the human condition. The key is that whether your setback is private or very public like Colt McCoy’s you can come back. You can go even further the next time.
After all, roadblocks are only shortcuts to something better than you had planned!
Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.
He is the author of the Anunnaki Awakening series (2015). Book 1 – Revelation – is now available in paperback and on Kindle. Can one woman really change the world? Can she expose a lie told for millennia? Can she make the future possible for two worlds?