Accountability Leads to Growth


Courtesy of Nikoleta Papavasilakis for The Fordham Ram.

When you’re on the brink of a painful growing period, you need to have assurance that things won’t collapse. There are days that are fine and dandy, days when you can fly a little closer to the sun, but if you get too comfortable, your wings may start to melt.

I would be remiss if I were to deny the fact that a fall from great heights is fast and painful. A crash to reality can hit home hard in ways you never thought possible, but at the same time, it’s the best possible thing for you to learn and grow as a person. 

I used to hate cliches. I hated them for being easy outs, or what we in the sports world call chalk. But I never thought that the two most-used cliches would be the most important ones. 

“Keep it simple, stupid.” Breaking complex situations into simple ones is a huge help when it comes to not feeling overwhelmed. But you don’t realize how helpful this can be until you slow down. 

Search my name on The Fordham Ram and read my biography. I am involved in a bunch of different activities that require significant time and focus. All of these activities require social interactions with others and teamwork. Of course, in a team-focused environment, mistakes happen. Sometimes, there is frustration. Maybe I don’t perform to my personal expectations, it happens. But everything boils down to one question:

Can you bounce back from it?

To answer that question, I want to mention John Chaney, one of the most successful college basketball coaches ever at the mid-major level with Temple University. I never met Chaney, but I saw him coach a few times when Temple basketball played Fordham at Rose Hill back in the day. I was introduced to Chaney’s philosophies, though, on YouTube. 

Chaney once told his audience that when you mess up, the winners are the ones who get back up faster. 

It would be easy to sit here and write about all of my personal highs and lows, but it is important to acknowledge that everyone has bad days. We have to acknowledge that some tasks are harder than others. Some people need to be managed more than others. The job of the soldier, though, is to deliver the best possible performance, to execute all tasks well and to make the bosses’ job as simple as possible.

The little things that we let slide by have a tendency to become problematic and sometimes they even snowball. But how do you get out of these situations?

We always need help in life –– even the most independent people. There should always be a space for learning, asking questions, seeking out advice and ultimately growing, as a professional and someone new to their field.  

Here comes the second cliche: Nobody ever said things would be easy.

Sometimes you get tasks that make you want to swallow your eyeballs, or you hear of a problem and the alarm bells in your head start ringing even though it is an easy fix and doesn’t require all that stress. After all, it is human nature to be concerned about these problems and to go into solution mode. 

The only way you grow from mistakes, though, is to have a good attitude, be open to suggestions and listen to the advice people give you. Finding a way to direct your frustrations is never easy, but doing it alone is definitely not the move. 

Self corrections aren’t at all easy. They really aren’t. But to climb out of any rabbit hole you find yourself stuck in, you have to hold yourself accountable and put things into perspective.

And you need to believe in yourself — tell yourself everyday that you can succeed, that you can become the most disciplined person you know. Once you start believing in yourself, then you can start to believe in others. 

Between balancing work for The Fordham Ram, WFUV, Fordham Sports Information, school and having a personal life, keeping a positive mindset is a challenge, but it is a necessity.

This piece was definitely deep. It was heavy, but I want this article to serve as a salute to all my bosses, teammates, co-workers and administrators I have met at Fordham and my other ventures in life. They keep me in line, tell me when I need to step up my game, push me to the absolute limit and, most importantly, they hold me accountable. 

My peers know who they are and they know that they do a good job. They’re all going to be amazing at their jobs and I know when I, and the rest of the class of 2023 leave, things are onward and upward from here.

I salute you, and let’s keep going.