Sounds a little funny right? Seems like opposing themes when you think about it. But, when I start reminiscing about the most important and satisfying experiences I’ve had in my life, they’ve almost all come with difficult or uncomfortable situations.
When you’re pushed to your limits, focusing on the ultimate goal can be difficult. Each stressor you experience can feel multiplied 10x from the pressure of the moment. At this point the weak will shy away from the pressure. They fade, change their mind, adjust their goals to something that is easier to accomplish. They quit. DONT!
Adversity will strike when least expected and how you respond speaks to your true character and desire.
In 2010, Boise State ranked #3 in the polls opened up the season with the College Kickoff Game against #10 Virginia Tech. It was the first official college game of the season. Monday night, under the lights of Fedex Field in Washington DC. All eyes were going to be on us as the season got underway.
Since the end of the 2009, season, an undefeated 14-0 record and Fiesta Bowl victory over arch rivals TCU, our coaches were preparing us for adversity. How will you respond when adversity strikes? They would throw everything at us to test us. Pushing harder in workouts and practices. Add reps to spring workouts when players may or may not have touched the line. Changing the schedule from meetings to workouts last minute to see who would get it done.
As the buses left the hotel we were staying headed to Fedex Field we were prepared. Rolling down the road, most people had their headphones on and were in the zone. Not far from our hotel there was a loud clunk and the offensive bus shuttered and then crept to a halt. Transmission gone, we were stuck on the side of the road with game time quickly approaching.
The offensive coaches immediately started making calls and figuring out how we were going to get to the game. Luckily, the defensive bus had seen that we had stopped and had come back to provide any assistance they could.
After a few minutes, it seemed like no progress was being made on a new ride. Later we found out that the company was scrambling to find a new bus, but it was a ways out and we weren’t going to make game time.
The players and coaches were getting anxious. All of sudden, Austin Pettis, senior Wide Receiver and offensive leader stands up and yells, “Adversity Monday!! Come on y’all, this ain’t no thing. Let’s go!!!”
The bus erupted with cheers and yaaaas!! We all got off the bus, grabbed our travel bags and started loading the defensive buses. The coaches must have not had any better plans because they were right behind us. We piled all 70 something guys, plus coaches, onto 1 bus and arrived at Fedex Field just in time for pregame warmups.
The game was one for the books. A 33-30 victory for the Broncos that had the emotional highs and lows of the National Championship game. We battled through a remarkable comeback from the Hokies. Down 4, 1 minute left to go, in a stadium filled with 65,000 VTech fans, we took the field and once again faced adversity. That drive ended in with a TD catch by none other than the adversity destroyer himself, Austin Pettis.
I remember being on the flight back home after the game. Exhausted and sore from the game I was thinking about AP’s play and how calm he was facing such great odds. We all felt confident heading into that last drive, but AP had a different demeanor. His air of confidence was strong. He was so comfortable in that moment and he delivered.
Comfortable being uncomfortable means more than getting through a tough situation. It means owning the situation. It’s standing in the face or fear and adversity with a smile on your face and attacking it. No matter the situation, when adversity strikes, you can act and respond with grace under pressure.
Adversity strikes us all in different ways. Grinders know that the most uncomfortable situations can set you up for life’s greatest achievements and they push for those moments. Next time things get uncomfortable, look inside yourself and see confidence. You will deliver, no matter the odds.