Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Home Court

Over the weekend I attended the NCAA men's basketball Big Ten Tournament semifinals. From college basketball fanatics like me to March Madness rookies, the energy in Bankers Life Fieldhouse was equally felt. Cheering was expected, but in this intentionally neutral location, not affiliated with any collegiate team, the level of school spirit was exhilarating and inspiring.

Most of us will never know what it's like to step out on a basketball court and perform in front of thousands, but every single day all of us are challenged to live our best lives. At times, we will live in front of a home court—in situations and with people whom we are most at ease and comfortable. In those conditions we feel supported, prepared, and confident in our ability to perform well. In those circumstances, we can sense and hear the cheers of those who love us propelling us forward. What happens, though, when we are out of our comfort zone? What happens when we lose home court advantage?

As with sports, we can go through life performing where we're most comfortable. We can practice drills and plays that show off our skills. We can face opponents with which we're familiar. We can perform solely in arenas where we have home court advantage. However, if we want to develop, get stronger, and walk in our purpose, we have to become more. We have to push pass the skills we're already performing well, stretch ourselves further than familiarity, and walk in places beyond the comforts of our home court.

Life will force us to perform in situations that are not ideal nor desirable. We have to trust after being betrayed. We need to forgive even when holding a grudge feels safer. We must take a risk even while we're terrified. We are required to open up when we'd rather shut down. We have to exercise strength when we feel our weakest. The moments when we feel the most vulnerable, afraid, and insignificant offer the opportunity for us to discover our power, boldness, and relevance. It is in situations when we are separated from what's comfortable that we learn what's possible. It is only when we are removed from our familiar home court and are separated from our idea of normal that we can see with clarity and live with the intention of being exceptional.

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