For my senior year of high school, I made the sudden decision to be homeschooled in pursuit of playing tennis.
In my high school years, I played tennis for the school team and tournaments throughout the year, for ranking purposes. Junior year was my best performance yet and I was ready to keep that momentum going into my senior year.
The first tournament of the summer had a requirement for players to wear all white, think of Wimbledon. I remember having to spray paint my shoes white to avoid buying a new pair, tennis is expensive enough as it is. So with my spray-painted shoes, a season of training, and adrenaline pumping, I hear my name called and take the court.
The result? I lose both my main draw and loser's bracket matches without winning a single game.
I was devastated, I knew I was better than that. So I did something drastic. I left my school to be homeschooled for my senior year to play tennis.
I wanted to give myself a chance to play at a high level.
The first day of the senior year came around and I couldn't have been more excited. Per tradition, my friends and I went to get breakfast before school. I still remember sitting there in my training gear and my friends in their uniforms; it was clear we were heading in different paths.
That day and every day that followed, for 10 straight months, I took the tennis court and trained tirelessly to prove myself right: that I could play at a high level, that I was worth it.
From that moment on, I was never the same.
I achieved what I set out to do. I got into the best shape of my life, I started playing into semis and finals regularly, became a preferred player for Head racquets, and received scholarships to play college.
I gave myself the confidence to dream, never shying away from the work necessary to pursue a goal.
Our journey is in our hands more than ever.
We will find ourselves at life's crossroads time and time again, faced with decisions to stay with the status quo, adjust course, or set a new destination altogether.
At an early age, I was given the space to make decisions for my own life. Forced to accept both the highs of being right and the lows of falling short of my goals.
Those experiences taught me just how much control we have. With the power of choice, we can shape the direction of our lives.
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