1. Keep the faith.
You know me and the Quote of the day. Sort of like peanut butter and jelly. Well here is one of my favorites, from Harriet Beecher Stowe:
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn.”
Too often, when you do get into that tight place in your life, you give up a little too early. You quit just moments in advance of the turning tide. I know because I have been there more than once. And I will bet that I will be there more than once again. But as Ms. Stowe implies, it only “seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer”. Seems is subjective. And if you allow circumstances to rule the day, “seems” can make the transition to become doubt. And your doubts will only betray you.
So, speaking from experience, never give up then. Because that is precisely the place and time when the tide will turn.
2. Adversity will never be an if, but always a when proposition
There is a purpose to everything, and adversity is just like everything else. It is there for a reason. Not to hinder, victimize or to make life miserable. It is meant as a test. This is the “tight place” Ms. Stow spoke of. That is its function. Plain and simple.
Adversity will administer two tests, the first of which involves your response. To see if you can hold on for just a minute longer. To find out if you can flush out the traitor that is self-doubt – and its cousin, self-pity. To determine whether you can muster the courage to hold your ground and move forward – come what may.
Secondly, adversity serves as a vision check. To find out what you see in that “tight place”. Despite what is visible on the surface, and what our imagination will tend to do in these moments, those tight places are also filled with an abundance of opportunity. Always. And that my friends, is what is known as “the silver lining. “
3. “Don’t just show up”.
I was sitting where I usually do each Sunday morning, listening intently, when I heard this suggestion uttered amongst many other important ones; “don’t just show up.” A smaller part of a much bigger message about life and how best to live it.
You cannot simply be a passer-by, living life around the edges, skimming across the surface. You cannot forever be testing the water. Waiting for the right time. Or the next time. Or the best time. You have to really “be” exactly where you are. Not just physically here, but mentally over there and emotionally somewhere else altogether. But actually precisely where you are. All in. And there will never be no better time than the present.
So don’t just stick your toe in. Jump in. Be where you are.
4. Don’t let the beginning become the end.
More often than we care to admit, the beginning of a new undertaking can be the end for most of us. Looking at a task, seeing the summit from the valley, and the steepness of the path that lay before us can be overwhelming, intimidating and just down right scary. To decide, that even before a step is contemplated, let alone taken, we are done, is a sorry way to live.
To a certain extent, we all begin at some depth, within some valley. We all have to work our way up. Through the foothills. Across several plateaus. Eventually, finding a route upward. And only then does the real climb begin. When it comes down to it, it isn’t likely that you cannot. You miss out on a journey because you will not.
5. Trust can help open the door of opportunity.
Parents and coaches are gifted with certain talents and abilities. By virtue of our life experience and being on this planet longer than all of you, we can picture you in 2, 5 or maybe even ten years.
This is one of the most important tools we have at our disposal; to be able to “see” you just a bit into the future. Not that we are interested in bypassing the present by any means. Simply the ability of detecting and divining the potential that lives within you now. Because with that, we can capture an image of you reaching your potential somewhere down the road. All so that we can try to help you move towards it now.
Now this ability can be both a blessing and a curse. Just because we can see it – does not mean you can, you will, or would ever even want to be or become what we can see. Add to that the simple fact that too often, the act of sharing what we see can get misconstrued into “its what you want me to be”. That might cross a line. You might think we are intruding, controlling, forcing an issue, or hovering.
Kids; if you can learn to listen with your heart as much as with your ears, then you will recognize that our words to you come from the same place; the heart. Those words are born of our love for you. They are the genuine article. They can be trusted. So when you can find a way to accept them as such, big things will happen. For all of us.
6. Expectation is a precursor of action.
“Setting the bar”. “Tempering expectations”. “Lofty expectations”. “Meeting and exceeding expectations”.
All are somewhat common phrases you may have heard at one time or another. By definition, they are describing an action. An endeavor you undertake relative to your pattern of thought. Foreshadowing how those thoughts will impact your words and deeds.
They are also illustrating a fact – that when you expect – or have expectations – you are in effect choosing an outcome. You are determining the words and the deeds that will ultimately lead you to the desired conclusion. Expect to fail – most likely you will. Since all you think, say and do will in some fashion lead you towards defeat and failure. Expect excellence, and you will think excellence, speak excellence and work to that end exclusively.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask; you just might hear “yes”.
The biggest impediment to growth, development and progress can be fear. Plain and simple. More so than just the trying or the doing of something. But in many cases, simply in the act of asking. The fear of stumbling on the words. The fear of the timing of the request. The fear of not being understood. The fear of what they will think. The fear of looking foolish. The fear of not getting the answer you want – or expect.
“No”, or “not at this time” and “perhaps later” are usually responses that reflect the present circumstances. Not necessarily tomorrow, next week, month or forever. It may be that you need to prove yourself a little more. Maybe there is more of you to give – and you need to give it first. Or, maybe, just maybe it has nothing to do with the request. Perhaps it was so obvious, that the person being asked is simply embarrassed that it was overlooked and never considered in the first place.
So be not afraid.
8. A dream is not a wish – it is a blue print.
A dream isn’t a wish. It is a vividly detailed image of you – the moment you accomplish something very important to you. When I say vividly detailed image – I don’t mean stick figures. I am talking about Lucasfilms, THX, PIXAR quality with surround sound. A personal IMAX experience, with 3D glasses.
The image has to be so vivid that you can live in it. Feel the wind, smell the grass, notice the sun on your skin. That image of what you want to do, where you want to go, and what you want to be, becomes the focal point of everything you do along the way to get there.
Then – all you need to do it make what is going on out here to match with what you see in your head and what you feel in your heart. And once you get to that point, when you get there, it will be like deja vu all over again. You will have already spent months or years in that moment, in that very place Only this time, you get to actually do it.
So like Coach Keel says: “Close your eyes. Feel the air. Hear the noise. And listen for your name.”
9. Let it be.
Also a great song by the Fab Four.
Sometimes we are so intent on fixing things, that our hurried and harried attempt at repair can lead to further destruction – even irreparable harm.
Sometimes – time just needs to work its wonders.
Sometimes the best course of action, is no course of action.
Trust – and let it be.
Let the emotion subside, re-center yourself and then discern the best path forward.
10. “ to be there when the light goes on”.
In those few, powerful words, a great man and friend succinctly summed up his quest as a coach.
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized he pegged it. That is really what it is all about.
To have the good fortune shine upon those of us with the whistle. That we may be present at that very moment. The revelation. When it all makes sense.
The almost audible “click”, followed instantaneously by an incandescence that only accompanies accomplishment. To see the look on the face, the change in stature and the air of confidence overtake and envelope the “project” or the late bloomer.
That is why we are in it.
So while there may not be a stat for those kinds of victories, it is by far the most important “w” we can ever hope to achieve.