Holding Patterns

A few years ago, I was traveling with my two oldest sons. We were returning from a visit to see their grandmother in my hometown. As we approached our final destination, I noticed that we seemed to be circling the airport but never making any significant movement toward a definitive landing. As we circled again for the fourth time, the captain came on the intercom and indicated what we all knew to be true – we were in a holding pattern, and we would not be landing for an indefinite period of time. He actually said, “We would be landing shortly,” but we sensed that shortly really meant “indefinite,” “inordinate,” and what seemed to be “infinite” and “indeterminable.” Seconds turned into minutes, and minutes turned into hours.

plane in the air

I began to think about holding patterns in my life. Are there ever times in our lives when we are in a holding pattern? The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines a holding pattern as “a state or period in which no progress or change is made or planned.” Many times a holding pattern in life involves inactivity toward a specific and productive goal or opportunity. We wait, hesitate, and circle again and again over our desired destination. All the while, the most important people in our lives wait impatiently for us to “land the plane,” take action, and make a positive impact. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt can breed indecision and patterns of inaction on our part. The inevitable consequence of remaining in a holding pattern is running out of fuel and crashing, never reaching our intended destination.

As we continued to circle for our destination for what seemed like the 20th time, my mind drifted to think about the moment I first jumped off the high dive. When I was a kid, there were two diving boards at the pool I visited – the low dive and the high dive. The low dive was safe and secure while the high dive was dangerous and doubtful. I often jumped off the low dive but never ventured too close to the perilous steps of the high dive.

Then, one momentous day, I found the courage to bravely climb the countless rungs of the “other” ladder. Do you remember this journey and the way your heart felt along the way? Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. Indecision about whether to take the next step. As I reached the apex of the high dive and peered over the end of the board into the pool, my legs felt like I was in cement firmly planted in a holding pattern that was not going to proceed at any point in the near future. As I thought about the moment, a kind voice behind me reassured me that I would be OK. I heard the sound of a female voice below encouraging me to jump. Instead of being trapped by fear and doubt, I decided to take the plunge and found it to be an exhilarating adventure. As I got out of the pool, I saw my mom cheering for me, and I ran to jump off the high dive again – this time allowing myself to enjoy the journey.

All of a sudden, my oldest son shook me out of my trance of holding patterns and high dives, and I heard another female voice.  This time, it was the flight attendant on the intercom indicating that we would be making our final descent into our desired destination.

plan on the ground at sunrise

Are you currently in a holding pattern in some area of your life? Are you struggling to make a decision or take some action that would benefit the people around you? Are you wondering about your purpose and calling, afraid to step out in faith and take the next step?

Don’t allow holding patterns to rob you of the breakthrough moments in your life.  Consider your calling, develop a plan, step out in faith, and enjoy the life God has given you!  In other words, LAND THE PLANE so that you can take the next step and act! Don’t just talk about all of the great things you are going to do and the impact you are going to make. Act now, and take the next step. I am sure you will have a crowd around you cheering you on and so appreciative that you finally broke out of your holding pattern!

Question: What is the biggest challenge that you face when it comes to breaking out of holding patterns in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Here Goes Nothing…Here Goes Everything

“Never got anywhere by running away.

Never learned anything without a mistake.

Never loved anyone by playing it safe.

It’s a long way down, but I’m here right now… so…”

“Here Goes,” Song by Bebo Norman

Something is waiting for you out there. In fact, it is waiting for all of us. The key question is not, “What is it?” The more relevant question for our lives is, “Will we embrace it and go for it?”

In Bebo Norman’s song “Here Goes,” he challenges us to reach and jump for the thing that so often eludes us – our purpose and daily calling in life. We become so sidetracked with things, activities, and accomplishments that we forget why we are here and what we were meant to do. We become comfortably numb. It is much easier to play it safe than to take a step into the unknown. It is much easier to try and control the script of our lives rather than to submit to the author and perfecter of our faith.

Imagine Signs

Each day you have a choice to embrace the unknown of your day. The reality is that no matter how well you plan for the events of your day, you don’t know what the moments will always bring. My encouragement and challenge to you is to connect to the calling of your life by doing the following:

  • Identify the roles you play – For me, I am a follower of Christ, husband, father, friend, son, entrepreneur, leadership and life coach, communicator, consultant, author, and board member. If I don’t realize the roles that I play, I will never gain insight into the priorities of my life and can never expect to fulfill my purpose.
  • Define your responsibilities for each role – There are specific responsibilities as well as opportunities that are associated with each of the roles that you and I play. A responsibility for my role as a husband and father is to provide for my family. An opportunity is to invest in their character and to help them develop into the people they were meant to be. Sadly, many people only focus on the duties of the role forsaking the personal imprint and legacy they could leave through opportunities.
  • Discern your strengths and passions – Develop a list of strengths and a list of things you are passionate about. Invest time in yourself to understand the events and moments of your life so far and what you have learned about yourself as it relates to where you should go next. Leverage your strengths, and let passion fuel the journey.
  • Create a Life Plan and Execute Daily – If you don’t know where you are going, you will be drawn to anything that beckons for your attention. A life plan keeps you on course and helps you make the best decisions even in the midst of uncertainty. Through workshops and coaching, I work with people to create a MAP for their future and to develop a compass as a filter for making effective daily and weekly decisions about how they invest their time. Michael Hyatt has also written a great blog entry on how to create a life plan. I also highly recommend his book Living Forward on this same topic.

Will you join in the anthem of this song to embrace your destiny? Will you sing, “Here goes nothing, here goes everything.” with the chorus of your life? Consider the consequences of not engaging in the moments of your life:

“I don’t want to turn around and wonder what happened.

Never lost and never found are one in the same.” (“Here Goes,” Bebo Norman)

Question: What do you need to pursue boldly this year? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Be = Do

As a new year rolls around, I am struck with the image of many people rushing to write down a list. This list is often referred to as “New Year’s Resolutions,” “Annual Goals,” “Some Things I Might Accomplish This Year,” or “My Annual To-Do List.” Based on the words that are used and the commitment level of the individual, they might just have a good chance of accomplishing what they put to paper. Research indicates that you are 4 times more likely to accomplish something if you commit it to paper. The percentage increases when you articulate your written goals to someone who will help keep you accountable. The problem with most New Year’s Resolutions is that they are never written down. Yogi Berra once said, “A plan in your head isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” You have to think awhile about Yogi’s quotes to understand them.

Be=Do Image

One of the things I do as a personal coach to business executives and professional athletes is help them envision their dreams and accomplish their goals. We also work on their “to-do” list. During a time of personal reflection over the holidays, I have been thinking that I focus a lot on my own “to-do” list. We can get so wrapped up in obsessing over what we need to accomplish for that day, month, or year, that we lose sight of who we are becoming in the process. We focus more on our “to-do” list than our “to-be” list.

My challenge to you as well as myself is to focus on your “to-be” list in this upcoming year. As a word of warning, this process will take a lot of deep thought and some time of personal reflection. Some of you may not want to spend the time to go through this process, but, trust me, the return is well worth the investment. To develop your “to-be” list, you will need to ask yourself questions such as:

  • Who am I?
  • Who am I becoming?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • What values do I stand for?
  • What is most important to me?

These 5 questions can become the start to unleashing a freedom to discover who we really were intended to become. The answers to these questions can provide a passion to pursue the life we always dreamed of living. The sad part is that some of us never realize we have the freedom to ask ourselves these questions.

Once you go through this process, you will begin to develop your “to-be” list. My father-in-law often jokes about sitting back and celebrating his “IS-Ness.” The end result is not just to relax in a recliner and celebrate your “IS-Ness.” The result of this process is that your “to-do” list begins to flow out of your “to-be” list. The new math becomes BE = DO. Getting in touch with who we were created to be allows us to pursue the things we really should be doing. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.” I hope you become all of who you are in everything you do!

Merry Christmas!

Living room with fireplace and decorated Christmas tree

I just wanted to take a moment and wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season! I pray that you take time during this season of life to discover the real meaning of Christmas and consider all of the things that you are grateful for. Take time to learn from this past year, rest and recharge for the next year, and renew your commitment to be a leader within your sphere of influence. We look forward to connecting with you in the new year. Let us know if we can do anything to help you maximize your potential and achieve your goals in the areas of sports, business, and life. You can connect with me at my email address. Also, check out some of our leadership development programs and coaching services on my web site.

It’s Time

It’s time. When it comes to accomplishing your goals, maximizing your potential, multiplying your results, growing your relationships, and leaving a legacy, it all comes down to time. How you invest it is your choice. At the end of one year and the beginning of a new year, we all experience a range of emotions. Some are elated that they accomplished so much. Others have regrets that they did not achieve their goals…again! Still others are just limping along waiting for the calendar to start over at 1 so that they can say goodbye to the sorrows of last year and hope that the new year will bring more happiness and joy.

Set Goals

No matter where you are in this spectrum of emotions, the beginning of a new year always seem to bring a feeling of promise and hope. In order to make this promise and hope a reality, here are some things you can do to prepare for making this your best year yet:

  • Learn From the Past – It’s easy to get caught up in the past and have regrets of what you could have or should have done in a certain moment over the last year. If we continue to lament and live in the past, we will never take hold of what this current moment and the moments to come have to offer. Instead of living in the past year, we must learn from it. Take time to reflect on what went well and those things did not turn out the way you wanted. Instead of reliving it all over again, write down what you learned from both successes and setbacks and apply the learning in the new year.
  • Prepare for the Future – Given your wisdom gained from reflection on the past, apply it toward this new year and beyond. If you need to get back to the basics, do it. For me, I am applying some new things that worked for me in the past that I have not applied in awhile. For some of you, you need to stop trying the same thing hoping it will yield a different result and move on to a new approach. I believe preparation for a new year involves leveraging what has worked when you have been most successful and learning and applying new insight to yield new and better results. Write down your goals, and document an action plan to achieve each goal. A dream only becomes a goal when you write it down and back it up with some actionable steps to accomplish it. Don’t leave your dreams on the doorstep of despair.
  • Perform in the Moment – When all is said and done, it all comes down to time and how you invest it. In this new year, make sure to connect your roles, priorities, and goals to your weekly and daily schedule. You don’t want to find yourself on December 31 of the new year having regrets over the past year and offering the lame excuse of, “I didn’t have time!” If it is a true priority in your life, make it one and schedule it. The future is only affected by what you do today, so perform in the moment and advance the ball toward your goals.

Here is one final thought as you begin the new year and consider the goals you are going to achieve. Research shows that people who write down their goals are 4-5 times more likely to accomplish them versus those that do not. When you tell a few others about your goals and ask them to hold you accountable, your probability of success goes up even more. Find a group of mentors or peers who will serve as your accountability group in this journey.

Goal Action Plan

As John Wooden, the Hall of Fame basketball Coach for UCLA, always told his players, “Make each day your masterpiece!” This is your year! Don’t waste it! It’s time!

Discover more about how we can help you achieve your goals this year through individual and group coaching as well as our leadership programs.

 

The First Step To Goal Achievement

You are 4-5 times more likely to reach your goal just by writing it down. I know this to be true from the external research we have observed and studied and the work we have done with high performers in sports, business, and life. I have spoken about this to groups and taught this in workshops and in one-on-one coaching sessions with my athletes. I have also experienced this to be true in my own life.

Yet, there was a time when I had not written down a goal in a certain area of my life. It was National Running Day, and the Rock-N-Roll Marathon Series ran a special one-day rate if you signed up for any of their marathon races. I committed and signed up for the San Antonio Marathon.

The context for this is that I had been running a lot over the past year. I had also been telling my friends and fellow runners that I was going to run a marathon, but I never got around to it. I was telling them as well as myself that I was in “marathon training;” yet I was not committed to a specific race – i.e. an end goal in mind. When I hit “Submit” on the web site, everything changed for me. I became committed to an end goal and all of my training took on a new connotation.

College Student writing down goals

It is easy for us to go through life like this – to espouse what we are about or what we want to be about but never do anything about it. Some people want to lose weight. Others want to be a better spouse, parent, or leader in their organization. I have learned that it is easy to be a goal espouser, but sometimes harder to be a goal achiever. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just talk about goals, I want to achieve them and be better because of the journey to reach them.

I sincerely believe that the first step to goal achievement is writing it down, which is why I love Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever program for writing down the right goals for your life! I used this system last year and achieved some strong, lifetime goals in my life and have signed up for the VIP program again this year!

If you want to get serious about achieving goals – the right goals – I encourage you to sign up for this great system that incorporates a process and program that will serve as a major catalyst in your quest to be more than just a “goal espouser” in 2017 and beyond!

For more on the benefit of writing down your goals, check out my friend Michael Hyatt’s blog entry about the benefit of committing your goals to writing.

Question: What goal or dream has been lingering in the back of your mind that you need to commit to by writing it down and then pursuing it passionately and purposefully? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

2 New Resources From Michael Hyatt

I always love passing on great content from resources and people that have made an impact in my life. I have been following Michael Hyatt for a long time, and his blog insights as well as his product and service offerings have benefited me as I strive to grow each year. He has put together a brief ebook that compiles insights from more than 30 thought leaders, influencers, and high achievers on their top strategies for
starting the year off right:

bye-achievers-ig

He has also put together a LifeScore Assessment that you can take for free to assess your level of engagement and satisfaction in the areas of your life that matters most. It only takes about 10 minutes to take this free assessment to see how you score.

BYE LifeScore Assessment

You Are Writing Your Story

Whether you realize it or not, every day you are writing the script to your story. With every choice and decision about your time, talent, and resources you are putting a stamp on your legacy. With every great story, there are central characters, role players, antagonists, successes, setbacks, a key challenge, and a pursuit of persevering through the key challenge.

Man Writing in a Journal

Does life seem to be passing you by? Are you writing the story that you want to create? If the answer is a resounding “No!” or you are unsure and you feel like you are going through the motions, here are 3 steps that may help you in this process:

  • Reflect – Take time to reflect by scheduling a personal retreat. You may not have time or the resources to schedule a 6-month sabbatical, but you can make a choice to take a day or a weekend retreat to assess where you are, where you have been, and where you are going. One thing that has helped me in times of reflection in my journey is the power or prayer and listening to God for direction, wisdom, and clarity. Another thing has been asking myself the question that Ralph Waldo Emerson used to ask Henry David Thoreau and his other friends, “What has become clear since we last met?”
  • Redirect – This may involve redirecting your energy, your priorities, and your pursuits. Based on an honest assessment of your strengths, passions, and purpose in life, you have an opportunity to redirect your efforts toward the right road in life. While we do not have ultimate control of the events in our lives and the world around us, we must be active and engaged if we want to affect the outcome of our story. Life was never intended to be a spectator sport no matter how good the seats or how tasty the halftime snacks are.
  • Run – As an endurance runner, I love to run! I even like to walk fast when I am going somewhere. Running allows me to be active in a journey and committed to a goal. In life, we must be active in our journey and committed to purposeful decisions that will achieve our goal. While you may only gain clarity about the next step, trust and faith allow you to take that step with a determination that you are on the right path. We were created to embrace our calling and run with a purpose toward the right pursuits.

The path is often determined by asking the right questions to gain clarity through the right answers. You get one shot at life – one story to craft and create something beautiful, memorable, significant, and impactful! Decide today to be actively engaged in creating the story you were intended to live!

Question: What do you think your purpose or calling in life is? How are you impacting the people in your story? You can leave a comment by clicking here.