I am a big believer that in life there isn’t a cookie cutter approach or a certain template to follow that will yield your desired outcomes, success, or achieve your dreams/goals. Rather there is a journey that is ripe with a multitude of moments that require disciplined action to yield the results that you desire. My name is Robert Grilli, I graduated from the University Of Houston Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a minor is business. I am a former student-athlete, co-founder of Lakeborn, author of The Playbook, and a business development manager at a tech company in Mississauga and this is my journey.
For the sake of this blog post my journey started in grade 8 which was when I took the SSAT in the hopes of being admitted to St.Michael’s College School in Toronto. In total there have been 5 of my family members who have attended St. Michael’s College School (SMC) and I was looking to follow suit. In grade 8 I was an average student, in fact, one of my elementary school teachers did not think I was cut out to be a student at SMC when I told her that I was going to be writing the standardized test. Making a long story short, I wrote the test, was thrilled that I was accepted, and next thing you know I was taking the Go Train, subway, and Go Bus everyday into Toronto to attend high school. I am forever thankful for my time at SMC and being a student in the private school system as this provided the foundation for me to find success in all aspects of my life. Education for me, like life in general, is part of a maturation process. As noted previously, I was an OK student in elementary school and when I entered grade 9 I was put to the test. Juggling 8 courses while commuting over an hour each way to & from school, while still having my extra-curriculars to take part in was an adjustment to say the least. Instead of getting down on myself because it was hard I looked to find better ways to manage my time while understanding what worked for me and what didn’t, and ultimately by grade 12 I started finding success. If I hadn’t been put in uncomfortable situations that challenged me, or if I didn’t embrace these challenges, or if it wasn’t for disciplined action on a daily basis I wouldn’t have had personal growth.
Having built this foundation I was now ready to take the next step in my life in attending college in the US. My journey took me to Salt Lake City, Utah where I lived and attended college 2 years prior to ultimately finding my way to Houston, Texas to complete my 4 year degree. During my college years I was also a student-athlete on the baseball team. Living on your own makes you grow up pretty fast and fortunately for me I had a strong foundation to lean on. I was no longer juggling 8 courses, at most I enrolled in 5 per semester, I wasn’t commuting over an hour to school or practice, and I was starting to come into my own academically whereby I started really finding success because I was refining my process. This process that I developed that led to my success wasn’t due to a script that I followed but rather through trying a variety of approaches and seeing what worked and what didn’t. The errors that students and student-athletes alike stumble on are primarily because they think these errors are fatal. Errors/failures are only fatal if you don’t learn from them and if you don’t develop. It is OK to be uncomfortable, it is ok to get knocked down, but what is more important than any of this is that you learn from these experiences and keep pushing forward.
What I have come to learn through my journey as a student at St.Michael’s college school and during my time as a student-athlete in university is that there have been a remarkable number of parallels that apply to my everyday life now that I have transitioned into the real world. The first is that you will still fail but it is how you learn and grow that will allow for you to find continued success. You have to be coachable, to be able to take feedback/criticism and use it to better yourself and your process. You have to be able to effectively manage your time. You have to put your best foot forward and be accountable. You have to stand up for what is right and call out what is wrong. You have to work well in a team setting, take the lead when the situation dictates it and be a great teammate in a supporting role in other instances. These examples that I stated previously are directly linked to my journey, are a part of my process, engrained in my foundation that I lean on and that I refine on a daily basis.