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The Pro Perspective

Christian Mazzone: Betting on yourself

This Pro Perspective was originally published on Christian Mazzone’s personal website and was republished with his permission.

When an opportunity knocks, it brings with it a mixture of emotions. Emotions that will hit at different moments before the final decision is made. Ultimately, the final emotion you feel is your choice and yours to live with.

For me, excitement was first. An opportunity to join the Premier Lacrosse League was what I was striving for since going to training camp with the Atlanta Blaze of Major League Lacrosse. I was planning my transition before I even knew if I was going to make a team in a different league. The plan was simple — make a name for myself in the MLL and then make the jump to the PLL. That is what I committed to and when that commitment paid off, I was ecstatic. What I wanted was right in front of me, but that excitement faded quick and I was left with one question: Now what?

Christian Mazzone played for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights from 2014 to 2018. (Photo courtesy of Rutgers University)

Confusion came next. That simple plan I made was made prematurely. It was made before I developed relationships with my teammates. It was made with a chip on my shoulder to prove myself. Do I leave a team I know has a spot for me or do I roll the dice? But that’s what confusion does, it knocks you off course. Different factors start flooding your brain and cloud you of your primary focus. Instead of trying to figure out what was best for me, I needed to understand what I wanted.  That was a much easier question to answer.

What I wanted was to play against the best players in the world. However, my desire created a rush of anxiety inside me equal to that of a mall opening on Black Friday. Will I able to seize the opportunity? Am I good enough to compete at the highest level? Am I comfortable with failing? The anxiety was causing me to doubt myself.

Will I able to seize the opportunity? Am I good enough to compete at the highest level? Am I comfortable with failing?

I viewed my feeling of doubt as a fork in the road. I could either choose to let it consume me and scare me into taking a chance or I could use it as fuel to drive my determination to succeed. Doubt is powerful, but it leaves you with an option in how to respond.

Depending on your decision to an opportunity – you will be left feeling confident or complacent. If you decide to not take the opportunity, you are comfortable with where you are. Why fix what isn’t broken? If you choose to run with the opportunity, you are poised to take on the unknown. You are ready to take on the challenge and do everything in your power to ensure success. Most importantly, you are confident that you will be able to handle the feeling of failure if it doesn’t pan out.

Betting on myself was the only decision that I could live with. I can handle the ups and downs that will come throughout the season, the grind of preparing my body and mind for competition, or the feeling of disappointment if I fail. What I can’t handle is the constant wondering of what if. Let’s see if the gamble pays off.

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