Embracing Vulnerability

Tristan Thompson is a basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He is in the midst of a change that’s never been done before in professional basketball. A natural left hander, he has always shot with his left hand. Only problem is that he rarely made a shot. His value was as a rebounder and a defender. He’s 6’9″, so he can dunk.

But, put him more than five feet away from the basket, you didn’t have to guard him. Late in the game, he was the one to foul because he would miss the free throws.

One day he was playing around, shooting with his right hand. A teammate noticed that his form was better. He actually made more with the “wrong” hand.

He began to consider whether he should try to change. He researched a bit and learned no one had ever tried. He struggled with the decision:

“A lot of people stick with what they know because they’re insecure about putting something new out there and getting embarrassed,” Thompson says. “I don’t want to sit here in 12 years and think, What if I made that change? Could I have been one of the best power forwards in the league? Could our team have taken a leap?” (Sports Illustrated, October 7, 2013)

He decided to make the change. He hired a coach. He hoisted thousands of shots in the off season. The new season is close by and he will begin to see if it works.

We should all pay attention to Thompson. He models for us the power of being “vulnerable.” He’s putting aside something comfortable and taking a risk because the potential for gain is worth it.

Embracing vulnerability has as its reward the opening of possibility. How about you? Is there a risky step you need to take?