The following is the planned introduction to a chapter in the manuscript of the new book I’m working on. The tentative title to the book is “A. C. E. Your Way to a Better Life.” The book is expected to be released late fall of 2020.

Chapter 3 Introduction

I think the most important factor in being able to “ACE Your Way to the top of the mountain,” is to have confidence in your own ability. This is a lot easier said than done for a lot of people when you come up against legitimate resistance in your pursuit of victory. Do you have that inner belief you can achieve great accomplishments when the demands being placed upon you are hard to overcome?

It can be especially difficult to defeat an opponent when you have lost to them by a significant margin in the recent past. It can become so easy to let the doubt overcome you on a rematch. This can happen even before the match-up takes place. What can be even more difficult is to find true confidence in a team sport where you need many “reversals” to win a rematch. In team sports like tennis, swimming, track & field, wrestling, etc., you need several upsets to gain the victory.

I remember in 2003 we had an opportunity to see if the “unthinkable” could happen. Early in the regular season our high school girls’ tennis team lost to the “team to beat” to win the state title by a score of 8-1 at home. Our girls were committed to working hard the rest of the season with the hope of getting a re-match in the team state Final Four. Working hard is important, but that in itself will not maximize your potential. The girls had to accept and embrace the “confidence challenge.” Were we able to see demanding situations as challenges that we could embrace with enthusiasm and a firm belief we could win?

As the season progressed, we faced significant challenges in some dual meets. The way the team responded to those challenges with a great sense of poise and confidence was a good indicator of things to come. The team was making strides at handling pressure situations. The team was also improving their skill set along the way. If you can take an improved skill set, and an ability to perform at that higher level under pressure, you have made real progress.

We got the rematch we wanted in the state finals. It was a hard-fought dual from beginning to end. The difference maker was the willingness of our girls to be comfortable with their own success when recent history had shown otherwise. We went on to win the dual 5-3 and claim the state championship. The turn-around in the score from losing 1-8 to winning 5-3 is likely the greatest reversal from a regular season loss to winning the state title in state tennis history. It could not be done without both hard work and confidence.

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