I love to play racquetball. My dad taught me how to play when I was a kid and I have been fascinated with the sport since. Regardless of age and stamina, a player can easily outwit their opponent by a simple placement of a well-hit ball. The analogies to racquetball and life abound, and I can’t help but think about the sport when I think about how to approach situations I tackle every day.
Racquetball is a fast-moving sport that relies on strategy and skill. The object of the game is to hit a small ball against a wall in a way that is hard for your opponent to return. As a powerful player on the court, I enjoy the fast pace of racquetball. As games heat up intensity does, too, and players sometime run into each other or the wall in an effort to return serves and hits. This is where the strategy comes in. Sometimes during a game, I have to let a returned ball go, pivot, and think about how I serve the ball the next round in order to win the game.
If you don’t know when to stop, lay off, reduce your speed or intensity, you can cause damage. This is a great life lesson that has served me well: Know when to lay off and let it go. I’m not talking about the Disney song that made Princess Elsa and Anna famous, although it is a great one. You know your intensity for work and social setting and knowing when to lay off or simply let it go (for the week/day/hour) can make the difference between a short-term victory and a long-term success.
I have fought intense battles and learned that when I understand when to lay off and/or let it go it has made the difference in my life, personally and professionally. Being able to discern when and where to let go has made me a better mother, friend, spouse, and worker. Going full speed ahead is great for some, but if you do not put on the brakes at some point, you will eventually crash and burn.
Articles and opinions are a dime a dozen and there is something to be said for pushing your passion and fighting winning battles as women. However, “laying off” and “letting go” are great tools to use to ensure success. Know the people around you well enough to know when to let go with them. It can be a tough thing to do, especially if you’re passionate about something, but that passion can be bottled and saved for a day or time that will ensure your victory. Lose a point now with a bruised knee or ego and use your long-term success strategy to win the game later.
This post was originally published in the Lift Iowa newsletter on August 13, 2018.