The real life story of David vs. Goliath in the Bible has been told many times! In fact, it is often used as a metaphor for sports, business, and life when a team or company faces a giant and takes him down. Coaches and leaders frequently use a “David vs. Goliath” reference to motivate the team or organization to conquer the odds, win the impossible championship, or suddenly emerge as a new entrant into a mature market.
While we are inspired by David and his faith, it is easy to get discouraged and disillusioned by the “giants” in our own lives. I have seen this as an athlete and coach when players or a team worries more about the size of their opponent than their own talents, opportunities, and resources. I have often seen it in the faces of people who are not just battling some opponent on the field but a fierce and unforgiving giant in their lives. When we focus and worry about the Goliaths in our lives, we forget and forsake the keys to persevering in those moments. Specifically, here are some pitfalls that occur when you focus on the giant:
- You magnify the size of the giant – If we are facing a giant in our lives, it is already big by the definition of the word giant. We don’t need to increase the size of our giant by constantly thinking and worrying about it. As I tell the athletes that I coach: What you choose to focus on magnifies in size. If you choose to focus on the giant, he will get bigger. If you choose to focus on your goal and target and the process to get there, your goal will get bigger, clearer, and more possible.
- You do unnatural things and forget what you do best – When you are facing a giant, you tend to do things that you have never done before. I once saw this with one of the basketball teams that I coached. We were facing some giants – literally – on the court, and we began to shoot long quick shots and try to play one-on-five basketball, which was not our natural tendency as a team. We got away from what made us successful all because we were facing a giant – or a whole team of giants! It is easy to go solo when the giant appears, because we fear that we have to face it alone. Just like David, we must remember the things that got us here and rely on those things to get us through this moment. David refused the armor that was offered to him, because he knew that it was his skills as a shepherd and his faith that were going to sustain him in facing Goliath.
- You worry about the other team’s strengths – When you focus on the giant in front of you, you tend to worry about all of the qualities and strengths of the giant before you. You become defeated before you even take the “field,” because the giant seems menacing and insurmountable. Making a detailed list of all of the strengths of your giant and articulating all of the reasons why you will never get through it are not helpful habits.
- You don’t trust yourself or your teammates – As a leader, trust is essential to competing in sports, completing a successful project or product launch in business, and/or building and growing a great family. Giants can step in and overshadow your ability to trust what you know to be true about yourself and others affecting your ability to perform well in important moments. Fear and trust cannot coexist, and one usually dominates the other based on which one we feed. In order to be fearless, we need to fear less and trust more.
- You don’t play to your strengths – Giants try to kill, steal, and destroy the things that make you successful and impactful with your life. By nature, a giant is destructive, not subtle. A giant has one mission and that is to tear apart things and people. When you are facing a giant in any arena of life, you have to play to your strengths, not the giant’s strengths. For me, it always begins with my faith and the people I have in my life to remind me of this. My faith in Jesus is my strength and the foundation of my life. Jesus is the one person I can count on whenever I am facing a giant in my life, and I have already faced several in my life so far that He has helped me conquer. Realizing that He is my strength and leveraging systems and processes and character traits that ground me in this truth are the way I play to my strengths.
- You allow probability thinking to overshadow possibility thinking – The probability of you conquering a giant is not always good unless you are a giant yourself. The mere mention of a giant means that the person, thing, or problem that you are facing is bigger probability-wise than you. If you focus on the math, it doesn’t compute to success, a win, or a breakthrough moment. The probability of success in this moment far surpasses the possibility of surviving it. Yet, it is possibility thinking that defines truly resilient people. In all of the research and work we have done in helping and coaching leaders and elite athletes to maximize their potential and accomplish their goals, we have found that resilient people get into possibility thinking really quickly when they face a problem of gigantic proportions. They are realistic about the giant, but they don’t remain rattled by it. They move on past the problem in front of them and seek and discover what’s possible in solving this very formidable problem. And, sometimes, it is not even about conquering the giant but more about how they can grow from the experience.
Problems, foes, adversaries, strongholds, and giants are all a part of life. You will see them and ultimately face them sometime in your life. Whether you have faced a giant in your past or are currently facing one in this present moment, I want to encourage you to learn from the story of David. He did not focus on Goliath and avoided the pitfalls mentioned above. By focusing on his faith, his strengths, and the size of God and His power, he conquered his Goliath, and you can too. Choose today to focus on the things that will help you prevail against your giant!
Related to the topic of this blog post, I wanted to make you aware of a book by my friend Louie Giglio entitled Goliath Must Fall. Louie has been a spiritual mentor to me since my days in college, and he is an incredible Pastor and communicator who has inspired many people including college students all over the world. In his new book, he authentically shares his testimony of facing a season that seemed insurmountable and what he learned about how you can truly conquer the giants of Goliath proportion in your life. While you can find a link in our Resources area on my web site to buy the book, I am also giving away 3 free copies of his book. Enter Our Giveaway before the deadline of Monday, May 22nd for a chance to win one of these free copies.