I think one of the most amazing things I have experienced rising up in the ranks (so to be speak) is when you go from being nervous in certain points of big tournaments, to knowing you belong there.
I remember the first time it happened to me. I was playing in BCAPL Texas State, and I had done well enough that I was coming back to play on the winner's side for the second day.
As I walked in, instead of playing on far back tables or scattered around like all the first day, each winner's side match was scheduled right up front. People had already claimed their seats to watch their friends and players were warming up.
Normally in this position, my nerves ramp right up and I get butterflies, and my adrenaline starts to race just seeing where my table is in front of everyone. But I had finally got to a point in my pool career that I actually recall saying to myself, "this is where I'm meant to be."
Wow, just typing that out makes me smile. Gonna type that out again, "this is where I'm meant to be."
It was one the coolest things I have experienced. I wasn't nervous at all. I wasn't scared. I truly felt okay to be playing in front of everyone on the front tables because that's where I was suppose to be finally.
Difficult to not come across arrogant to put this into words, but for SO long and YEARS and YEARS I would get nervous and feel pressure and pretty much fail before even getting to the table just from anxiety.
So to finally feel COMFORTABLE and thinking that's where I belong instead of chicken-shit-scared was so powerful and calming and a huge confidence boost.
And, haha, I actually didn't win that match nor placed real high in the tourney (I think that was the year I placed 5th maybe). I still had a lot to learn along the way to finally win that coveted title. But those thoughts and feelings that day sure put me on my way.