Anytime you start a new venture it’s always a little intimidating and stressful. You are going to wondering if you will fit into the already established dynamic of a team or office environment. You can also run into a situation where you start to become fat and sassy (that’s a Coach Izzo phrase) and you aren’t separating yourself from the group. You have to find something that you can do better and more effectively than any other person on your team. You should try and become the best at one thing and then you will have created a niche for yourself and have something to hang your hat on.
I had this exact situation my sophomore year at Michigan State. I was coming off my red shirt season where we had won the Big Ten Championship and made a run to the Final Four. We had great team success that year but with that success we graduated 5 seniors and lost 2 guys to the NBA draft. Our team was completely depleted and it looked like I was going to have an opportunity to play some minutes. Now I was nowhere near as talented as some of the players we had on the team that season so I wasn’t sure what my role would be on our team.
That’s when I got some advice from one of Coach Izzo’s old coaches “Captain Kirk” (that’s what I called him). Every year “Captain Kirk” would come and watch practices and give us an outside opinion of how we could improve. We were in the middle of practice one day and he pulled me aside and said “Tim, the only way you are going to play on this team is if you play harder than everyone on the court and find a way to get every loose ball and rebound you can.” Now I was a little upset he was dogging my other skills but I took it heart and made it my main focus to try and play harder and scrappier than my teammates and opponents every day.
So I challenge you to find what you’re good at and how you can apply it to the team, don’t become fat and sassy.
Coach Izzo told me something once that has always stuck in my head; he said “Success is a lot harder to deal with then failure. When you have success you separate yourself from majority and you become part of the 5% of people who are doing something great.”
Don’t be afraid to be in that 5%!!!