Responding In The Midst Of A Valley Moment – Podcast: S03E004

We all go through setbacks in our lives. Distractions that deter us from becoming all of who we are. Disappointments that discourage us from impacting those within our sphere of influence. How do you respond in the midst of a valley moment?

Picture of Woman in the valley at sunrise

In today’s podcast episode of Monday Morning Moments, I discuss a simple acronym that can help you respond when a crisis occurs as well as when your focus and attention are needed the most. Check out this episode to discover the secret of the best performers in sports, business, and life!

 

The Gift of Being Present

Being present is a gift that you give to yourself and others. It helps you engage fully in your life, your opportunities, and your sphere of influence. Yet, there are moments when we are not fully present which can lead to feelings of regret, disappointment, and disillusionment.

Busy People Walking

To be fully present is to engage mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually in a given moment. I have seen many examples of people who were present physically but not mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. They were there – but not really there – forcing people to question: Where are you?

What does not being present look like?

  • Not giving our best effort in a practice or game
  • Living under the cloud of a bad moment from the past that kills our purpose, steals our joy, and destroys our focus in current and future moments
  • Not engaging emotionally with a family member who needs you to listen and empathize with them
  • Not engaging our strengths and bringing our best talents to accomplish our goals
  • Not recognizing and seizing opportunities
  • Always looking to the future with envy and never being content in the present with gratefulness
  • Not appreciating the roles we have been given in life and making the most of them thereby missing opportunities to influence, lead, and impact others

If you have ever experienced a feeling of not being present, it has probably led to feelings of regret, disappointment, and a debilitating sense of fear and pressure. You are aware that you are not being present but feel trapped by something in your past that is keeping you from moving forward. In my work with high school and college students, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and elite amateur and professional athletes, I have seen many forms of the struggle to be present. I have also witnessed the joy and impact when people are fully present and bring their best to a given moment!

Here is what I believe it means to be present in the moment in the 4 dimensions of your life:

  1. Physically – While we all know what it means to be in a place physically, I have seen a trap that some people fall into regarding this dimension of life. Just because your body is physically in a spot does not mean that you are fully present physically. I have seen basketball players go through a workout and compliantly execute the drills but lack the full commitment it takes to make the most of the practice. The key is to bring energy and effort to everything that you do instead of just going through the motions. Energy and effort are demonstrated through focused eyes, determined steps, and decisive actions that demonstrate faith, trust, and confidence in your stake and impact in the outcome of a given moment.
  2. Mentally – Being present mentally is focusing on the current moment and not getting distracted by past or future thoughts. Our minds think at a rate of 2-3 times the rate that someone can speak. This means that we can miss moments of connection with others, because we are not slowing down our minds to actively listen to what the other person is saying, doing, and feeling. We have to bring our minds into the moment if we want to be present. Sometimes, it is as simple as saying to ourselves: “Be still, listen, and engage in this moment.” Other times, it is considering what we can do to make a contribution to the moment. Every action begins with a thought, and we must focus on thinking about the importance of the moment we are in.
  3. Emotionally – It is very important to be connected to people and moments emotionally as well as mentally and physically. Being present emotionally connects passion and purpose. It bridges the gap between heart and head. It inspires us to make the most of the current moment and leverage the opportunity for impact. It also drives and inspires us when setbacks occur. Emotional connection allows others to sense and feel our presence, knowing we are there for them.
  4. Spiritually – For me, being present spiritually is all about recognizing that God has created me and ordained me for a purpose and plan. Because of that fact, I know that the more I connect my life and the moments within it to His calling in my life, the more joy and fulfillment I will discover and experience. This reality is true for you as well! This dimension of your life defines your Why, which relates to the purpose of your life. When you are fully present spiritually, you achieve and become the person you were created to be. My method of being present spiritually is to begin each day with a time of reflection, prayer, and reading a devotional or Bible verse. The way I begin my day helps to define it. My morning quiet time routine puts everything into its proper perspective, as I see God-ordained moments in the flow of my days and weeks and sense His presence and direction in those moments.

You can be fully present by:

  • Bringing your best to practices, workouts, and games
  • Serving your best (instead of leftovers) to those who mean the most
  • Not being limited by regrets from your past and/or confined by fear of your future
  • Putting down the phone and listening to others’ feelings
  • Recognizing and serving the needs – both spoken and unspoken – of people within your sphere of influence
  • Using your platform to make a positive impact
  • Fully committing to your purpose and calling in life
  • Seizing opportunities and doing the next right thing to advance the ball toward your goals
  • Embracing and engaging fully in the roles you play in life

Be Present Every Day Sign

To be fully present, you need to ask yourself:

Am I fully present and engaged in every role that I play?

If the answer is no, think about how you can fully engage physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to make more of a positive impact with your life. You would hate to reach the end of your days knowing you could have been more present. You have one life, and others are counting on you to make the most of it while you have the opportunity. Grant them the gift of your presence, influence, and leadership. Be Present!

Be Present – Podcast: S03E003

Being present is a challenge for many people, and technology and social media are not the only culprits that steal ourselves from engaging with others. Many times, it’s the thoughts in our head that keep us from connecting fully to outcomes and others.

In today’s podcast episode of Monday Morning Moments, I discuss what it means to “be present” and reasons why we are not fully present at times. You will also learn the 4 dimensions of your life that you need to engage in if you want to be fully present in the moments of your life as well as examples of how to be present. A great example of this was Nick Foles, backup quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, who seized an opportunity because of an injury to Carson Wentz, the starting quarterback of the Eagles, and led his team to a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.

You have one life to live, and you don’t want to let it pass you by being absent from the opportunities that you receive every day to make a positive impact in the lives of others!

Preparing For Defining Moments – Podcast: S02E003

In today’s episode of Monday Morning Moments, I talk about the power of  a defining moment. You can’t always predict when a defining moment will happen in your life, but you can be prepared for it. The sad reality is that many people never realize the opportunities that they have to unleash their strengths, talents, and gifts in the midst of an opportunity to positively impact others. Defining moments provide that opportunity for us, and they also present an opportunity for us to get very clear about our calling  and purpose in life.

Episode Outline:

  • Defining moments allow you to unleash your strengths, talents, and gifts in the midst of an opportunity to positively impact others.
  • Defining moments provide clarity of your identity and calling.
  • You can’t always predict when a defining moment will happen, but you can be prepared for it.
  • Preparing for defining moments involves learning from the past.
  • The key to preparing for a defining moment in your life involves the following principle: “Focus on the Moment.”
  • To have focus in the moment, you have to “focus on the moment.”
  • Focusing on the Moment involves asking the following questions:
    • What’s at stake?
    • Who else is involved?
    • How can I make a difference?
  • Other questions to consider:
    • Why do you have the platform (i.e. title, role, sphere of influence) that you have?
    • What are you doing with that sphere of influence?
    • Who is being impacted by your platform?
    • How are they being impacted?
    • How are you preparing for the defining moments in your life?
    • When you think about your entire life as a “moment” in time, how have you prepared yourself to focus on the “moment?”

 

What Are You Afraid Of?

Is it death that makes us so afraid or the thought that we may not have lived a life of meaning and purpose? Or worse, the life that we lived did not fulfill the life that was imagined when God created us?

Through my work with athletes, I have seen many stories of celebration and conquest as well as disgust and defeat. Most athletes do not fear a clock that reads 0:00 – especially if they know they have given their all and played their best. What frightens them the most is reaching the end of a contest knowing they did not play to the best of their ability or potential.

Man on top of a mountain

We must play to win instead of playing not to lose. In other words, we need to appreciate the opportunities we have been given and use them to make an impact in the lives of other people. When the last second ticks off the clock of your life, what thought will you have? Will you triumphantly raise your hands in victory celebrating a fulfilling life? Or, will you hang your head haunted by the feeling that you could have been more and could have done more?

Begin today by asking these relevant and pertinent questions:

  • What roles do I play in life (e.g. student, athlete, friend, husband, wife, father, mother, business leader)?
  • What am I doing with the responsibility and opportunity of these roles?
  • Am I realizing my potential in all areas of my life?
  • Am I motivated by the joy of living or haunted by the fear of dying?
  • Do I see opportunities to make a positive impact and seize them?
  • At the end of this year, this decade, this life, will I cherish the memories that I made or fear the regrets that I have?

As Ken Blanchard so prophetically proclaims, “The legacy you live is the legacy you leave.” What are you afraid of? Every day, you can make a choice to positively impact the people within your sphere of influence by:

  • Encouraging them
  • Listening to them
  • Mentoring them
  • Learning from them
  • Leading them
  • Serving them

Also, true leaders in any walk of life are:

  • Purposeful with their time
  • Confident in their calling
  • Generous with their resources
  • Compassionate with their heart

Choose today to invest your time purposefully and wisely, and make your life count for what matters most! A life well lived leads to rejoicing, not regret!

A Prayer For Houston

My mom, an incredible woman of prayer and an excellent English teacher, sent me this poem by Robert Browning to share with you. I think it is appropriate for anyone who is dealing with some kind of trial in their life including everyone who has been affected by the damage and destruction of Hurricane Harvey. While there are many emotions that people are dealing with during this trying time in the greater Houston area, peace, strength, and perseverance can be found in God and the power of Jesus Christ! We are praying that you find peace in this moment and comfort in this prayer:

If I forget,
Yet God remembers! If these hands of mine
Cease from their clinging, yet the hands divine
Hold me so firmly that I cannot fall;
And if sometimes I am too tired to call
For Him to help me, then He reads the prayer
Unspoken in my heart, and lifts my care.

 

I dare not fear, since certainly I know
That I am in God’s keeping, shielded so
From all that else would harm, and in the hour
Of stern temptation strengthened by His power;

 

I tread no path in life to Him unknown;
I lift no burden, bear no pain, alone:
My soul a calm, sure hiding-place has found:
The everlasting arms my life surround. 

 

God, Thou art love! I build my faith on that.
I know Thee who has kept my path, and made
Light for me in the darkness, tempering sorrow
So that it reached me like a solemn joy;
It were too strange that I should doubt Thy love.

 

– “God, Thou Art Love” by Robert Browning

Houston Strong Photo

The Meaning Of A Moment

Michael had just won the biggest race of his life, shattering his own world record by a third of a second and winning the gold medal in the Olympics. He thought about all of the training he had endured. He was thrilled that the discipline, hard work, and focus had paid off and given him a quiet confidence to achieve his goals. Most people would have thought Michael had just completed the perfect race. Yet, there was a brief moment during the race that he wished he could have replayed. A brief stumble the third step out of the block made him question how much faster he could have gone.

Michael Johnson

Moments have meaning. The word moment is derived from the Latin word momentum defined as “movement or moving power.” If you research the word moment, you will find that this powerful word has a diverse set of synonyms:

  • A split second
  • The blink of an eye
  • An instant
  • A minute
  • An hour
  • A day
  • A chapter in your life
  • A season of life
  • A phase
  • A decade
  • A generation
  • An age
  • A millennium
  • An era
  • An epoch

All of these words can be used to describe the word moment –  everything from a split second to an epoch. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there is a very wide gap between a split second and an epoch. How could one word represent so many meanings? As I reflected on this question and the meaning of a moment, I pondered how a split second moment could impact an epoch. Or closer to home, it made me aware of how an instant in my life could affect generations to come.

Every one of us has a deep longing for moments. Moments in the spotlight. Moments of expression. Moments of meaning and purpose. Moments of impact. Moments where we provide value to those we love the most. Moments filled with potential and promise. Some people have more of these moments than others.

Why do we crave, desire, and remember moments so much? I believe it is because moments comprise everything. Our time. Our choices. Our decisions. Our thoughts. Our relationships. Moments encapsulate all of these components. When we think of a moment, we rejoice over how we invested our time wisely, or we lament the fact that we let the moment slip away.

Moments are filled with issues to be resolved, opportunities to be realized, and challenges to be met. For Michael Johnson, the 1996 Olympics was a defining moment – a moment that determined his place in history. Defining moments can also be moments that help us clarify our calling and give us meaning and direction in our lives. Have you ever had a defining moment? Most people have several defining moments in their lives. The trouble with defining moments is that you cannot predict the exact second that a defining moment will happen. You can, however, prepare for defining moments in your life. Michael had endured countless hours of sprints and time in the weight room for a moment that lasted less than 20 seconds. He had spent 10 years of his life to reduce his time by 1.5 seconds – the difference between mediocrity and excellence. How are you preparing for defining moments in your life?

The 1996 Olympics also represented a lost moment – the stumble out of the starting block he wished he could have gotten back. Have you ever had a lost moment? A moment you didn’t make the most of? Most of us have had at least one lost moment in our lives. The challenge is not to dwell on the moment that was lost but make the most of the moment that you have now. Michael persevered through this lost moment and made the most of the bigger moment.

In his book, Slaying the Dragon, Michael Johnson compares our experiences in life to those of a sprinter:

Success is found in much smaller portions than most people realize, achieved through the tiniest gradations, not unlike the split-second progress of a sprinter….  Life is often compared to a marathon, but I think it is more like being a sprinter: long stretches of hard work punctuated by brief moments in which we are given the opportunity to perform at our best.”

May you always realize the meaning and power of moments in your life and fully engage in the life you have been given!

This blog post was adapted from my book Moments: Making Your Life Count For What Matters Most.

 

Enjoy The Moment – Podcast: S01E013

Sometimes, we don’t enjoy the moments in our lives. Now, I know not every moment was meant to be enjoyed, especially when it comes to trials in our lives. But, there are times when we are not fully present in moments that were meant to experienced and appreciated! When I wrote my book, Moments: Making Your Life Count For What Matters Most, one of the 6 principles that I highlighted was Enjoy The Moment. In today’s podcast, you will learn why enjoying the moments in your life is important and 3 concepts for how to do this effectively.

Episode Outline:

To enjoy the moment, I have found three key supporting concepts that can make this principle come alive in your life:

  1. The journey is as important as the goal
    • Consider the following questions when pondering the concept of the journey:
      • What did it take for you to reach your goal?
      • Who has helped you along the way?
      • Who has been impacted by your journey?
      • How did your journey affect your growth as a person?
  2. Love who you are
    • Do you love who you are and who you are becoming?
    • Do you let feelings affect your acceptance of core truths about your life?
    • If you let negative feelings affect your thoughts and ultimately your actions, you will never reach the mountaintops that are prepared just for you.
    • Consider the following equation: A = T2 + F
    • Unpacking the equation: Our attitude (A) equals thoughts based on truth (T2) plus or minus our feelings (F). We must maintain a foundation of truth in our lives, and our thoughts must reflect these truths. You have a choice in whether to believe what is true about your life, but your decision does not determine its truth. As Dr. Barry Landrum, my father-in-law and former pastor, says, “The truth is still the truth even if no one believes it. And a lie is still a lie no matter how many people believe it.”
    • What truth is God trying to communicate to you about Himself and about your life?
  3. Love what you do
    • Do I love my work?
    • What are my strengths and talents?
    • What do those who know me best say my strengths and talents are?
    • What am I really passionate about?
    • Do my strengths, talents, and passions line up with what I am currently doing?
    • Am I fully engaged in my work?
    • On Monday morning, do I have a yearning that I MUST be there?
    • Do I make a positive impact?

Preserve Your Marriage – Podcast: S01E008

In this week’s podcast, I share a message that I originally delivered at West University Baptist Church about the importance of preserving your marriage. The principles and verses shared in this message are essential for preserving the precious relationship of marriage. You will hear how we often keep score instead of unconditionally loving our spouse and showing mutual respect to each other.

Episode Outline

To preserve means “to keep alive or in existence, to maintain, and to keep safe from harm or injury.” Marriage is one of the most sacred covenants you can make; yet, we often don’t invest in properly nurturing this precious relationship. Over time, two people who vowed to become one can grow apart and wonder what happened. Specific concepts in this week’s podcast:

  • The importance of preserving
  • Our calling to complement, supplement, and complete the other person
  • How keeping score of all the wrongs the other person has done clouds the lens we view them through
  •  “Conflict often results from differences and pride.  Differences can create conflict, and pride keeps us from resolving it.”
  • Why we need to release and surrender unmet expectations

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6 Principles For Making Your Moments Count For What Matters Most – Podcast: S01E007

In today’s podcast, I share 6 principles for making your moments count for what matters most. I also share some practical strategies for how to apply these principles and make this happen on a daily and weekly basis. The principles are based on my book Moments: Making Your Life Count For What Matters Most as well as the work that we do developing leaders in sports, business, and life.

Episode Outline:

6 Principles for Making Your Moments Count:

  • Focus on the Moment
  • Enjoy the Moment
  • Engage in the Moment
  • Perform in the Moment
  • Pray in the Moment