Yesterday I spent some time with some cool people I hardly knew. The social factor that brought us all together? Volleyball.
You know what I’m terrible at?
I stood around awkwardly waiting for this ball to bounce from one side of the net to the other; wildly flailing around my arms hoping to hit the ball correctly, and also hoping that the ball didn’t hit my face. Which it did. Twice.
As a pretty competitive person, I feel incredibly awkward doing things that I’m not good at. Volleyball is extremely high up there on the list of things I don’t excel at.
That list is also comprised of Soccer, Baseball, running for more than five minutes without wanting to die, pretty much anything that requires athleticism and coordination are things that I’m not super fond of. I feel awkward doing these types of things with groups of people because I know that I want to be better, and that I’m just not there yet.
Volleyball just isn’t my element. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t play it when the opportunity comes my way.
I don’t even like this idea, I don’t know why I’m writing it, but here goes:
It’s good for you to be put into situations where you feel uncomfortable.
The truth of that sentence became so real to me last night when I was failing to play volleyball. I felt so uncomfortable every time I hit the ball and it failed to do what I wanted it to do. I laughed awkwardly to myself every time there was silence, partly because I wanted to fit in, partly because I also wanted to die.
Looking back though, everyone was having fun. It didn’t matter too much that I sucked, a lot of people there were in the same position as me, they sucked too. That didn’t stop them from trying to have a good time, and make connections with others.
Putting someone in their element.
I found myself admiring the people that were really good. They were encouraging, fun, and still doing their best to win. They didn’t make a big deal that others in their team weren’t very good. I admired that. That person felt comfortable where they were at, maybe due to their skill, or maybe it was just the fact that they were confident in that setting.
There’s times where I feel that way, there’s times where I don’t. People are strange like that; sometimes you can come off as a pretentious know it all, or a quiet introvert. I’ve had both said of me. Both have probably been true at times.
The reason I bring this up is that in certain situations, it’s okay to feel awkward. It helps you better narrow down what your element of confidence is. It also shows you how others act in similar situations, and will maybe give you newfound respect to people that you disregarded before.
Find your element, find your awkward spots, learn to grow in both.
Next time I play volleyball my goal is to not get hit in the face.