They always say shoot your shot; there are not many sports movies that talk about when you miss your shot; what next? The obvious answer is to brush off the loss, shake the defeat, and try again. Put your head down, steady your emotions and mind. Try, try, try again.
The thing about life is we have an infinite number of attempts, but also a finite amount of attempts. You only have one chance to be Validetvictorian or Prom King/Queen. Yet you have unlimited chances when it comes to getting into University. You only have so many years to go ‘pro’ in your sport, but your whole life to practice and improve.
What Was The Shot I Took? How Did I Miss?
Spending my morning reflecting, I realize my time in New Zealand has been a bad sitcom of me failing any sizeable opportunity presented. The first was my connection at Otago University. The owner of Whanua, Chris, told me in our interview last year he had friends in the facility of Otago. He knew a guy in the Marine Science Department, who might take me on as a research custodian.
My parents urged me to keep in touch with Chrs while I traveled to British Columbia and Alberta. I didn’t want to appear disorganized and aloof, so I waited until I had accommodation, banking, and a cell plan in order. I reached out to Chris once, asking for his contact details after the season. It was important to have everything organized and ready before I pestered him. He never returned my email. I dropped it, as the Marine Science department was cut in half so the school could further focus on Medicine and Health Sciences. I figured I could try again, but I didn’t want to sour our relationship and appear annoying. Besides, with the department cut in half, I seriously doubted favours and opportunities would be handed out willy-nilly.
So I decided to focus on improving my sales skills. Make a ton of money, buy a car and break into the Kiwi high-life.
Then there was the interview with Shay, to work as a Business to Business salesman for advertisement space. I wasn’t firm on when he should have called me back. “Just call me when you have time. I’m free all day.” It wasn’t until after the fact, that I realized my follow-up phone call to him was the 2nd interview.
Head Down. Try Harder. Push Forward.
When you shoot your shot and miss; what next? I got work as temp to pay bills and give my Canadian bank account a break from international transactions. The crew was great, and the work was easy. Tiring, with a shit commute. But it was easy.
When you fail, try harder. That’s what everyone will say. Its basic advice, and sound advice. I packed up, moved to Christchurch, ‘The Gateway to Antartica’. Unfortunately, the Covid lock-down was declared the day after my arrival. Though I must admit, it was a pleasure to spend lockdown with Julian and Clair in their palace on the hill.
Coming out of lockdown, I had a door-to-door comission job, with a travel opportunity, and sponsorship offered. It wasn’t work at university, and Antartica wasn’t in the picture. Yet it was everything else I wanted.
And Then You Fail Again
I’m not good at my current job, in fact. I suck. This isn’t to be self-defeating or looking for pity. This is me being honest with myself, and the situation at hand. Callum, an old work mate offered me a job at his office. Hourly rate plus bonuses. Inside, with a coffee machine.
I declined. It was my third, week as a marketer. I wasn’t good, but I was improving. Stick it out, you’ll get better. Instead I got worse. New guys joined the team and hit it out the park fast. Some guys are approaching thousand dollar paycheques. I can barely afford rent.
Not wanting to be life’s favourit victim, I hit the job boards. And got an interview with an R.V company. I was in over my head. They called me while I was at work; told me I’d be getting dinner with the CEO at some airport hotel resturant… It was pising rain at work, and I didn’t have time to get changed.
I did a suit and tie interview for a senior sales role in soaked clothes without even knowing the companies during the said interview. I had notes on my computer. But they were on my computer. All the plans were last minute, and I blanked on everything upon being overwhelmed by the experience of an interview over dinner. Shoot your shot; use the gift of you’re gab. Fake it till you make it. Somehow I passed the interview.
You’re A Wild Card. I’m Taking A Chance On You
He told me his wife had an extensive corporate sales background. I had the weekend to prepare a sales pitch and blow her away. Sadly, my tablet was on the fritz for the better part of the weekend. I didn’t see their email until Sunday night. Interview Unsuccessful; We’ve found a successful candidate. Thanks for your time.
And so I laid in bed. I had a shot during the first interview and I took it. I laid in bed for several hours thinking when you miss your shot; what next?
Keep trying I guess.
At what point do you stop and say “Hey. Maybe I should stop chasing that thing. Maybe I’ve lost sight of the mission, and my purpose. Perhaps that’s why I’ve failed so consistently.
Today was a bad day. The kind of day where I wanted to throw my phone at the ground and cry. “Rerouting” my phone’s catch phrase of the day. I ran in the wrong direction four times trying to get ot work. I showed up sweaty, winded, and 30 minutes late. Then it took me down the wrong way coming home from work, and again coming home from the grocery store.
The obvious solution is to watch my phone while I go places. It sounds like a weak excuse, but I’m really trying to limit my screen use after lockdown, and each time it said I was going the right way originally.
And then it said “Rerouting”.
Needless to say, I did a lot of walking
I Think A Lot While I Walk. Its Why I like Hiking So Much
When you miss your shot; what next? I could give up. Walk the Te Araroa Trail, and hopefully decide what’s next while lost in nature and away from people, screens, money and all that jazz I seem to be failing at. It was a nice thought. One I kept coming back too.
But that IS failure. Sure it’s a challenging hike and an uncomfortable experience. But it’s shit I’m used to. I love that stuff! And while I haven’t done a month-long hike, let alone three; I’ve spent months working and living in the bush. Work is harder than walking in a line. And while there is obvious and hidden benefits to doing this trek. It’s not the time for me too do it.
Because my New Zealand plan, and what it transformed into, started with two goals. Travel to Antarctica with a purpose; do something that utilizes my degree, so I can write a book about being a dopey kid who found himself, and a taste of success while traveling.
Yea, they’re fucking huge goals. They’re the goals that transformed and carried me across Canada. Became interesting enough to meet Liz, and inspiring enough to rally friends and lovers in every corner I found myself.
And so today I walked in the rain, mistake after mistake. Wanting to throw out everything but the essentials; tell my parents to cancel their care package and forsake fixing my chipped tooth. Just disappear into the Te Araroa Trail..
Maybe I’m Missing Because I’m Not Aiming
During lock-down, my plan shifted. Antarctica could wait. The book could wait. Residency and a Masters’s Degree became the new focus. They were always goals. obtaining those two pieces of paper were other high priority achievements for The Land Of The Long White Cloud. But the purpose shifted to them.
John, the CEO from the restaurant bore into my soul with his piercing eye contact. “Why this company? Why us? What does a story-teller want to do selling R.V’s?” Now that I’ve had time to really sit on it, I could answer easily. yet his intimidating eye contact, my embarrassment for being soaked, and the naked feeling that comes from having your notebook and prepared questions inaccessible made me stutter and pause.
When you miss your shot and you ask yourself what next? remember your purpose. Remember the mission in its infancy. What you wanted when you were naieve, and more passionate than skilled or prepared. When it was excitement, not urgency or nesessity that drove you. Melt your ego, and become flexible once more.
I’m still applying to sales jobs; I’ve also applied to write jobs. Tomorrow I’m going to apply for some more jobs. They won’t all be sales. And Thursday I have a road trip to Mt Cook with some Maylasian girls. My purpose is an adventure, finding, creating, and telling great stories. A day out of the city, in the mountains with beautiful women may just be what I need.
At least it’ll something fun that doesn’t require being intoxicated or glued to a screen.
A Final Note
When you miss your shot; what next? Add small victories to your day. Do tiny things like a homework out, additional reading, eat more vegetables. Get yourself ready for the next shot. You don’t know when it’ll be, but as long as it’s not Hollywood, Sports or the Music Industry; there will be more chances.
So get yourself ready for that shot. And it all starts with getting out of bed; not lying in it defeated for hours, like I did over the weekend.