As a physician I have a very important role in the health of my patients and I take this very seriously. I had an experience recently that I want to share with you that changed my perspective on some things and how I believe each of us should view our roles. I hope this story inspires you as it has me! You have your own unique gifts and value to offer the world and my goal is always to help you feel your best so you can be Fully Functional® for life. It has to do with the phrase game changer. Let me start with a little backdrop….
My daughter, an incredible high school soccer player, has recently been given the nickname game changer and it didn’t hit me until recently what a phenomenal title this is. She’s been playing soccer for about 14 years and over the last several years has made the varsity soccer team in a school with incredible talent. In fact, we just won the state championship title. That being said it is very competitive and not everyone can be a starter. The starters are the first eleven girls on the field. It’s the role all the girls typically want.
Prior to this high school team my daughter played almost every minute of every game. It was not uncommon for her to start and finish. When she made this high school team we were thrilled for her. She loves soccer and is a great athlete. However, making this team meant she was no longer ‘starting.’ I often see her from across the field pacing the bench and itching to get out on the field. We always laugh because we know which girl is ours….sometimes that can be a challenge amidst the uniforms and blonde ponytails….but she’s the one that never sits, is always ready to go and we laugh and say she is like a caged animal waiting for the door to open. One of her coaches even made a sign recently that said “Unleash Emma”. This year she was the first recipient of the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Face of Sportsmanship Pin. I couldn’t understand why this girl with such drive, speed, talent, and desire to always do her best while also being an amazing teammate wasn’t a ‘starter.’ Being a ‘starter’ is prestigious. Parents and college coaches take note and you are considered ‘one of the best’ when you are on the starting line-up.
But I had it all wrong.
From a spectator’s point of view it appeared that the coaches felt that my daughter was ‘second best’ because her name wasn’t being called out in the beginning of the game. Don’t get me wrong, those ‘starters’ deserve to be there. They are amazing! This team as a whole is why we made it to finals and won. This is not an individual sport. I also understand that not all the girls on the team can be on that front line but if I am being perfectly honest, I was disappointed and confused.
I typically don’t like to ask my daughter questions about this sort of stuff (because in the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t matter) and I’d never want to make her feel badly but one day I asked her why she thought she never ‘started.’ She was so matter of fact and completely confident and happy in her answer to me about her role. She told me that her coach said she had a very important job: She is the ‘game changer.’
It was like a light switch went on in my mind. First off, how ridiculous and embarrassing is it that I was questioning why she wasn’t a starter? She plays her hardest and she is part of an incredible team! Any position on this team is prestigious. But it was more than that. It was in this moment that it all made sense. She is a GAME CHANGER! She’s tenacious, scrappy, spunky, tough and completely changes the energy on the field. It’s not uncommon for her team to score within a few minutes of her cleats hitting the field. I am not bragging, it’s true! I felt badly that I hadn’t appreciated that before. It changes the way I look at every game I attend and it has changed the way I look at my own life. I want to be a game changer too. Whether I ‘start’ or not, I want to change the game!
Merriam-Webster’s definition of a game changer is: a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way.
Here are some of the very many attributes of a game changer:
- Passionate and committed
- Brings zeal and zest
- Driven to get results
- Has grit
- Doesn’t give up
- Delivers positive change
- Creates team spirit
I am so proud of my daughter! Not because she plays soccer on a well decorated team. Not because the team won the state championship. But because she is a GAME CHANGER! She’s not only a game changer on the field but she’s a game changer in life. It doesn’t matter if she ‘starts’ it’s how she ‘plays the game.’
I don’t know about you but I want to be like my daughter. I want to be a game changer!
How about you?