“Hang your balls out there”

The Things We Think And Do Not Say

I’ve never had much trouble speaking my mind. With my booming voice, no one’s ever had much trouble hearing what I have to say either. But those musings were invariably relegated to friends and family because I’ve always been afraid to let the world know what I really, truly think. Growing up I was told how critical it is to build and maintain a positive reputation in order to do well in business and life. Which is why I was initially terrified to post anything of substance on the wonderful platform that is Medium.

Plagued by thoughts like “What will people think if they get to know the real me?” and “Will my reputation precede me wherever I go in life?”, I had a mountain of posts just sitting in my Drafts.

Then, one day, I was hit by a calming ton of bricks. I remembered a profound scene in the movie Jerry Maguire. Jerry’s at a 24 hour copy shop in the middle of the night to pick up the “mission statement” he’s written to his sports agency.

Jerry’s “mission statement”

In it he suggests that the agency focus less on money and more on the athletes they represent, a rather antagonistic sentiment to broadcast in the cut-throat world of sports management. As the copy clerk hands over the cover page for Jerry to review, it becomes clear that he’s read Jerry’s missive because he gives him a primal look and with all the conviction in the world says,

That’s how you become great, man. Hang your balls out there.

I like to think these wise words are what give Jerry the courage to follow through and deliver his work to each and every employee mailbox.

As expected, the agency doesn’t like his outpouring and gives him the boot. Crushed, he initially regrets announcing his opinions about client management. But it’s not long before he picks himself up and takes such good care of his lone player, Rod Tidwell, that he becomes known for his client-centered approach.

Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) getting emotional on Roy Firestone’s while discussing his relationship with Jerry Maguire.

His reputation ultimately allows him to build a successful agency of his own, and it all happens because he has the gumption to let the world know what he thinks.

So don’t stay bottled.

It’s okay to speak your mind. To cry. To make mistakes. And to tell other people about them. It’ll only make you stronger and more interesting.

Throw caution to the wind and be yourself.

If people don’t like it, they’ll live. And so will you.

Maybe even for the first time.