Dear Warrior - Let Adversity Fuel You
“It doesn’t matter if you have a disability. It doesn’t matter what your situation is. If this is something you want to do, if you’re committed to it, if you’re good at it, your disability won’t matter.”
This week we had the opportunity to sit down with Taylor McQuillin and get her perspective on what it takes to overcome the obstacles in our path and dominate any situation.
When you first hear your story, you might consider Taylor’s biggest adversity to be overcoming Duane Syndrome, but when we sat down to talk with her she said that this is actually far from her biggest struggle as a softball player. Like so many of us, Taylor shared that she too struggled to stay confident in adversity when she was young and the lessons that she has learned since then have helped her to truly walk fearlessly.
She took us back to her freshman year at the University of Arizona and told us how the losses the program faced that year really took a toll on her confidence. “I just remember losing and losing and losing...to come there and struggle with that, it killed my confidence”, Taylor told us. She spent the next summer re-evaluating herself as an athlete and questioning whether or not she was really good enough to play at such a high level.
After much self-reflection in the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, Taylor decided what had to change wasn’t the stage she played on, but how she saw herself within that stage. She wanted to get back to the pitcher she knew she was and commit herself to pursuing excellence in being the best athlete she could be.
You see, nothing in Taylor’s situation changed before she got to this personal turning point. Her team didn’t go on a winning streak that pushed her to be more optimistic and she didn’t pitch a shut out and gain all her confidence back. Truthfully, nothing about Taylor’s circumstances changed overnight. The difference is that Taylor decided that she was the one who needed to change. She needed to change her mindset and her mentality within her situation and eventually, the circumstances would follow.
The truth is that even the most seasoned athletes hit roadblocks. At one point or another, when our circumstances are far from what we had imagined for ourselves, we all have our confidence shaken. Sometimes, like in Taylor’s case, it can feel as though our confidence has been stripped from us altogether. But don’t wait for the circumstances to once again line up before you feel good about yourself. Find a way to flip the switch and take ownership of who you are in spite of what may be going on around you. You may not be able to change your situation right away, but you always have the ability to change your perspective - how you choose to see yourself within that situation.
What’s the story that you tell yourself? Will you believe the lie that you “can’t” and allow the negative situation to tell you who you are? Or will you look at your hardship and smile, with the confidence that comes from knowing that you are strong, capable, and hold the power to thrive even within the most difficult situations?
Through a determination to thrive within it, Taylor took her hardship and used it as fuel towards becoming the best athlete she could be. She went on to become an All - American at Arizona and now plays professionally for the Cleveland Comets where she has been named a Team Mexico Olympic qualifier. When we asked her one of the keys she remembers when the pressure is on and the situation threatens to rock her confidence, she responded with this advice - “Be where your feet are.”
To Taylor, “Be where your feet are” means to stay present in every moment. “Wherever your feet are, that’s where you are. Don’t dwell on the past and don’t worry about the future. Take it one pitch at a time. Take it one batter at a time. Take it one step at a time.” She reminded us that the game is never over until the last pitch. You always have the ability to fight back and come from behind.
The same is true in life. It’s easy to dwell on past mistakes and worry about future circumstances, especially when what is happening in the moment isn’t what you had hoped for. But stay focused on exactly where your feet are, Warrior, and you will find that little by little you are overcoming the challenge that once seemed far too big to overcome.
Girl, you got this!
Team Fearless, inspired by Taylor McQuillin
About Taylor McQuillin
Taylor is an All-American pitcher who played for the Arizona Wildcats softball team. She is currently representing Team Mexico for the (now 2021) Olympics. She also plays for the Cleveland Comets in the NPF and recently signed to play in the new Athletes Unlimited league. Taylor is passionate about growing the game of softball and inspiring other softball players through her story.
“Wherever your feet are, that’s where you are. Don’t dwell on the past and don’t worry about the future. Take it one pitch at a time. Take it one batter at a time. Take it one step at a time.”