How many of you remember being in the high school basketball or netball team as a “reserve” or “benchwarmer”. I was that for our girls’ soccer team, whose popularity grew rapidly after the team registered several unexpected wins in record time across the city. Girls’ Soccer? At a private school? Somewhat of an anomaly in my days at Chisipite Senior School. With a dedicated coach to teach the young ladies how to dribble the ball, the soccer matches became a Friday afternoon fiesta of sorts, with parents and spectators from the boys’ schools coming out in their numbers to watch whether our team would add yet another win to the count.
When the team won I didn’t feel the full extent of the win because well – most times I didn’t get to play. When the team lost there was that consolation I gave my inner self like “Eish, at least I wasn’t on the field, so technically, I didn’t lose!” Whatever I told myself, being the reserve or benchwarmer didn’t guarantee a personal outcome I enjoyed telling others about. I was always stuck somewhere in the middle with little to say about my performance or shying away from the massive celebrations because I wasn’t part of the playing or scoring line-up.
Fast forward to now, close to 20 years later, where the game of life has granted me bountiful opportunities to get on the pitch and play. Thankfully, after a series of false starts, struggles to hone in on what I really wanted to do or become, and some bench warming – I’ve got this whole life thing figured out. In coaching, mentoring and speaking to women, it is quite apparent that many of us go at life as spectators of its happenings. Plagued by fear of breaking beyond self-imposed borders, resistance to taking on new challenges or simply creating a series of excuses that justify the former, a great number of women are stuck in a rut, as the internal war rages between their current self, and how to bridge the gap between their needs, wants and perception of their ideal, authentic self.
Whether you are navigating life as in entrepreneur, juggling the pressures of a career in your field, balancing your marital relationship, raising children, or doing your best to maintain holistic friendships, the game of life presents a smorgasbord of opportunities to consider, take up or walk away from. In order to win, you have to try a hand at playing. They say if you don’t try, you lose any and all chances of winning. As an individual on the quest to continued personal reinvention, advocating the same to the audiences I speak to through my posts and speakerships, I encourage anyone I interact with to make a valiant attempt at whatever it is they have in mind as a life goal by getting on the pitch, court, boardroom – whatever. To win, you have to be a player in the game of life. There are plenty of reasons why you should give life’s obstacles and opportunities a shot no matter what, but allow me to share three key reasons that have steered the way I do life, knowing what I know now:
I’ve looked back at many seasons in life and thought – “Had I not tried out that business, or “had I not spoken to this person” – “I would have never known how to XYZ.” Every season and subsequent attempt at one thing or another leads to a series of revelations. You can only discover the things you enjoy, or are gifted at, by trying a hand at a couple of different things. Believe me, you will fail at some. That’s okay. Fail forward. Blogging at a low point in my life resulted in my co-founding www.Quintessentialf.com four years ago, which has since evolved into hosting a series of inspirational events for women, regional and international speaking events, sharing motivational content digitally across numerous platforms and two published books. Writing has also allowed me to develop my interest in PR, which has opened some pretty incredible doors for me in my career as a communications strategist.
If you take every opportunity you get as one to learn, stretch beyond your comfort zone and expand your network, some pretty compelling things can happen, putting you on the fast track to that big break, or winning streak you’ve been praying for. My every day is far cry from those days of bench warming or confronting life’s challenges with an already defeated outlook. My faith in Christ – because we all need to believe in a higher power that transcends the earthly realm – is a key motivator. Faith should anchor your decisions to get off the bench too, fueling the added strength you need when things get tough during the seasons of exhaustive play. In whatever season you find yourself navigating in this game of life, know that he or she that gives it a shot is better than the one who spectates and passes commentary from the sidelines. Whatever your intended goal, let NOW be the time you put your hand up and join the play in motion. If you fail, fail forward rather than stay on the bench. Trust me when I say this – your future self will thank you later for trying.
Yvonne Chiedza Mtengwa is the author of “Reinvented: Challenging insecurity to live authentically through faith”, a book encouraging women to confront their issues with relationships, insecurities and self-fulfilling prophesies, in an effort to truly discover who they were created to be.
She is also a co-author of “Dear Fear Volume 2: 18 Powerful Lessons on Living your best life on the other side of Fear”- a compilation of short stories by American visionary author Tiana Patrice.
Passionate about travelling, writing about and experiencing leisure and lifestyle brands, Yvonne is a marketing and communications strategist, and is also the Co-founder of www.Quintessentialf.com, a Christian lifestyle movement for women. Through this platform, she continues to garner acclaim as a speaker and motivational blogger with messaging that targets the millennial African woman. Her articles have featured on international websites including www.ThePrayingWoman.com and www.thriveglobal.com
Yvonne is also the Founder of Narratives Inc., a boutique communications agency specializing in entrepreneurial design and shaping the narrative of lifestyle and social development enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa.
She is wife to Bernard and mother to two children Shalom and Ithai and currently resides in Abu Dhabi.
To read more about Yvonne, visit her website on www.ReinventedToday.com