That Gopher Game

"You only get one chance to live today, Don't let your shadow outshine you."- Kai
“You only get one chance to live today, Don’t let your shadow outshine you.”- Kai

One of the amazing things about living in San Diego is obviously the weather. So many times during the last two weeks, I found myself mindlessly driving toward the beach with no intention.

For me, my happy place is anywhere that finds me near the water. Be it the ocean, the bay, or a lake. There is something about looking out over that body of water that makes me feel at ease.

Due to this, I often head to one of those places to do my thinking and my writing.

As I was sitting on my bench today, I spotted a gopher out of the corner of my eye playing a fun game of what must have been shadow tag.

In. Halfway out. Dart back in. In. Halfway out. Look around. Dart back in. Repeat.

The little guy must have popped his head out of the hole 20 times in the first few minutes I was watching him.

He was so scared to fully come out of the hole. Afraid of what might be around him.

Funny thing is, there was no danger even close. No kids running. No animal waiting to eat him. Nothing.

Made me stop and think about how we as humans do this also.

We all have a fear. Fear of whatever it is we don’t know. We think the worst before the best. We protect ourselves before we are given a reason.

We act just like the gopher. In. Halfway out. Dart back in. In. Halfway out. Look around. Dart back in. Repeat.

I am completely guilty of this myself.

This is how I started my coaching business. I had to test the water first to make sure I could do it right. Because I was so afraid of what would happen to my ego if I failed.

This is how I started this blog. I wrote and wrote and wrote. But never posted any of my writing.

This used to be my only approach to everything.

I was so scared to live life.

Always looking over my back. Always afraid of what someone might be saying about me. Always scared to try because the thought of failing was so crippling.

Over the course of the last few weeks,  I have had some amazing conversations with my coach. During this I realized that when I was an athlete I failed ALL the time.

I turned the ball over and missed shots.

I practiced specific moves for hours on end.

I went left to steal the ball and the other player went right only to go right around me and score.

There were so many games that we lost. Sometimes they were in a row. But I was always excited to get back on the court to try to win the next one.

I made mistakes and from each one: I grew.

But the difference was that I actually allowed myself to make the mistake. To come out of the hole and explore.

As an athlete, I approached the game will an open mind full of possibility. Each trip down the court was a new turn. Each mistake gave me an opportunity to make an adjustment.

I played that sport with my heart and danced in the moment with whatever came up.

There was no fear inside those black lines.

I knew I was a great player and refused to allow anyone to take that away from me.

Somewhere once I jumped into the grown up world, I forgot how to dance in the moment.

I forgot that hard work and flexibility create success.

I forgot that making mistakes and trying new things was completely ok.

I forgot that practice makes perfect.

I forgot that fear and pressure are things that you put in yourself.

Now that I have remembered, I refuse to be that gopher. I am determined to not spend my days peeking out of a hole and going back in.

I’m ready to play this game of life and business just like I played the game of basketball.

What has your fear been holding you back from? What would you like to do to get out of your own way?


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Stop waiting to live your life! Make the choice today, to start CREATING the life you want. The DYD blog has been created to inspire you by sharing the lessons that I have learned in life!

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  1. nanor

    Beautiful analogies Kai! Made me think of when I played basketball or any sport, how I missed so many baskets & still I played & played. Hmmm??? Thank you.

  2. Tom

    Nice Kai!!
    So true…the faster you make mistakes, the faster you learn.
    Thanks for keeping it real!

  3. Nancy

    Beautiful analogy Kai. Love the gopher. That will forever be imprinted on my mind. What can I replace the gopher with? A squirrel? A snake? naah? A lion? I need another courageous animal!

  4. 4/16/2015

    Great post! This brought to mind so many memories as a kid playing basketball and football. Even more so of the present day limits I put on myself because of fear. Thanks for the motivation!

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