Monday, May 1, 2017

The Only Way Forward

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In today's post I use two articles from Sports Illustrated to make an important point. If you are not an NBA fan, or a sports fan at all, please stick with me, and focus on the content, not the source from which it is drawn. I think it's worth the read. 
I believe we can learn from just about anyone and anything we encounter. It just so happens that today I'm pulling from a sports magazine. But I can't stress enough how meaningful I find this particular topic.
I recently read an article highlighting Monty Williams, a longtime NBA coach who recently lost his wife in a car accident. You can check out the full article here. 
Monty lost his wife and best friend, Ingrid, and was left not only without a companion, but was now tasked with raising his children on his own.
Determined not to have his children's day to day lives changed, other than the unavoidable and astronomical change of living without their mother, Monty made sure that he stayed on top of all of the chores, tasks, and preparations that Ingrid had so dutifully taken care of for the family. It was exhausting and overwhelming, but Monty made a commitment to his children, and to his late wife, and he refused to change just because the circumstances, regardless of how challenging, had changed around him.
The title of the article, was, appropriately, You Can't Give In. 
Another article that I read recently focused on Sam Presti, the General Manager for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who has seen great success over the last decade and a half in the NBA. He first worked for the San Antonio Spurs, rapidly climbing the ladder through hard work and intense curiosity. If you are interested, you can read the full article here. 
A quote from this article jumped out at me. Last off-season, Presti and the Thunder went through a particularly challenging time when they lost Kevin Durant to free agency. The city, the organization, and those under Presti's charge were understandably disappointed.
Presti's perspective?
The only way forward is to advance, to use our values as a launching point, to continue to create our future. 
What a powerful and anchoring statement.
I don't know about you, but there are many situations where I feel stuck, frustrated, and confused.
Maybe I'm weak minded, and feel this more than I should.
My friend Gene use to love the Mike Tyson quote,
"Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the mouth"
There are many times when I feel like life is punching me in the mouth, and I start to wonder what the plan was, if I have the right plan, or if I ever even really had a plan to begin with.
I wonder how I'm going to get it all done each day.
I wonder about finding purpose and passion in my career.
I wonder about making enough time for my wife and children.
I wonder about finding and developing my voice.
I wonder if I'm really maximizing my gifts.
I hope I'm writing and living good story, one that my kids will be proud of.
And it's very easy to listen to all of the voices:
It's too hard...There's not enough time...This is the way it is...This is how everyone else is doing it...Why am I the only one feeling this way...I'll always be_______...I'll never be_______...
There are all kinds of encouragements to these questions and uncertainties. There are truths we can speak to ourselves, positive mindsets we can adopt, and ways we can refocus on what's most important.
But all of these things have roots in two most important truths. The only real trick, tool, or answer lies in lessons reinforced by Monty Williams and Sam Presti.
1. No matter what the situation: You can't give in. 
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” - Churchill
The enemy is all around us. But more often than not, it's often within us. Challenging us on what we are doing, where we are heading, and what we say we believe in.
Life is a formidable opponent, and will continue to punch is in the mouth, challenging the plans that we thought we had. The question lies not in whether or not we will get punched in the mouth, but how we will respond when we do. 
Simply put, You can't give in. 
2. The only way forward is to advance, to use our values as a launching point, to continue to create our future. 
Of course, you can't use your values as a launching point if you haven't defined and developed them. You can read more on my thoughts on that here.
It's easy to get into a stuck feeling. Things happen, plans change, unexpected disasters and disappointments occur, love ones are lost.
And, I fully believe, that in all of this, we must first make the decision to never give in.
And then, truly, the only way forward is to use our values as a launching point, to continue to create our future. There must be as much certainty in our values as there is in the fact that we must, undoubtedly, take one on the chin from time to time.
Next steps, where we are headed, how we respond, and the things that we say about ourselves, will always be rooted in who we are. Read all of the books that you want, meditate, take a few deep breaths, hire a coach, and recite some positive affirmations.
All of these things hold value, but at the core of it all, are your roots.
Don't give in. Keep moving, create your future.
From the root to the fruit.
Much Love,

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