By Caleb Hanie
I’ve always been a very conscientious person. However, I didn’t necessarily realize that was the case until my 6th year in the NFL. I was with the Baltimore Ravens and my Offensive Coordinator/QB coach Jim Caldwell wrote that word in my evaluation coming out of the offseason. Don’t give me too much credit for the big word as I didn’t necessarily know what it meant and had to google it. Some synonyms for the word are self-aware, thorough, meticulous, diligent, painstaking. I wasn’t honestly sure if this was a good thing or not. Lol. The definition, “wishing to do what is right, especially to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly” brought me to the conclusion that it’s a good thing.
I have always taken pride in being very coachable. Evaluations are only as good as how much you are willing to accept the criticism or praise and use it to make yourself better. Knowing this helped me realize that I tended to self-analyze a lot WHILE I was performing. This would lead to me unknowingly clouding my head with the type of unproductive thinking about how the coaches, fans and media would judge my every decision or throw. This trait has always been a good thing as I used this to help me think on my feet when in debates with people or when trying to make a good impression on someone. In this case it was working to my detriment and slowing me down. It was through a lot of prayer asking God to clear my mind and help me see things like I’ve never seen them before and think differently combined with a book one of my former QB coaches Shane Day recommended to me called, ‘The Inner Game of Tennis.’
In this book, the author W. Timothy Gallwey made this profound statement, “When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.”
I read this part of the book about 4 hours before our last preseason game that fall of 2013 and it changed my entire perspective on that game and from that point forward. I could free up my mind and just go out there and play and perform. I viewed that as God’s timing as I had that book for multiple years without reading it. Look, we are constantly growing, and we always wish we were further along in the process. However, If you are putting in everything you have toward learning, growing and developing, you should never condemn yourself for where you are in the process!