Not being the best doesn’t mean you’re the worst.

It doesn’t mean you’re inadequate just because you’re not “the best”.

I tend to think in such absolutes.

When I say “the best”, I mean “the best” at one specific thing. Because for every task, no matter how small or large, there are still separate, even smaller discrete tasks that make it up. And everyone is really good at some of those things, and possibly not as great at the other things. And that is all completely okay.

I’ve spoken of this recently — in many parts of life, you’re part of a team. Whether it’s a friendship, a relationship, a team of athletes or athletic trainers…you’re part of something. And being part of something means that you will inevitably be “worse” at something compared to someone else. However, you will also be better at something compared to someone else — I mean, I can’t guarantee this, you might have to think long and hard, but we all have different strengths and weaknesses. It’s important and good to acknowledge them, but I think what matters more is how you see them working for and/or against you in the big scheme of things.

There are so many things I see in the athletic training room that I’ve never had firsthand experience with — for example, casting? Have never done it once personally on an athlete. I’m sure, however, that there are things I’ve done that people may not have seen or done. I don’t really know…all I know is that being a “teammate” in any sense of the word means two things. One, recognizing when a teammate of yours hasn’t done something or feels inadequate and seeing how you can help with that — but two, knowing that if you’re feeling inadequate or embarrassed about not knowing something…it’s your responsibility to step up and ask for help. You can’t expect people to know what you don’t know…the same way you might want to assume a new person doesn’t know everything you know.

You’ve got to ask, you’ve got to try. If you’re on the receiving end of someone’s advice — breathe first. Maybe they’re really trying to help, so accept it. The only uncomfortable thing about the first thing I mentioned above is that’s where a lot of unwanted advice comes from. However, just because it’s unwanted doesn’t mean it’s wrong, so no matter what side you’re on, take a beat before you react because it’s the intention that matters. And if they’re just being nasty to you, and their advice is unwanted and wrong? Let it roll off of you, or stand up for yourself, whatever is comfortable.

I suppose I got off on a bit of a tangent but just remember that you’re not useless, no matter how stupid you feel for not knowing something — because you’re learning, and that’s sometimes the only and best way to learn. You’re good enough if you do better the next time you’re faced with the same situation (even if it’s just reacting better). Don’t jump to the worst conclusion, even if you’re doing it as a sort of protective mechanism. Work with what you’re good at, and work to get better at the things you’re not so great at.