Your Authentic Swing

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I can only imagine what my wife must think about living with me. I’m really not much for shallow conversations, unless they have a purpose that will lead to something deeper. And I rarely can watch a movie without drawing from it truths that will challenge me in my own life (and if it does not have such qualities, I’m likely not going to watch it). This is the case yet again.

I am fortunate to be involved with an incredible organization that encourages everyone to truly live a life that matters, to live a life of purpose. One of the greatest qualities I feel I have gained is the ability to think about this concept in all that I do. Am I currently doing something that makes a difference? What is the purpose of what I am doing this moment? Am I investing my time or wasting it? Best selling author and ranked leadership professional Chris Brady wrote an incredible book titled PAiLS. The book’s tagline is “20 Years from Now, What Will You Wish You Had Done Today?” This question along with so many other leaders in my life have caused me to think more deeply about these ideas, especially over the past five plus years.

My wife and I recently rewatched the great movie The Legend of Bagger Vance. One of the many great principles the character Bagger Vance fosters is the idea of each of us having an “authentic swing.” It is described within the game of golf, but it’s bigger implication is that we have an “authentic swing” in the game of life. Chris Brady makes reference to this movie in PAiLS, so I’m not surprised I had this on my mind once it was over. After I turned the television off, I looked at my wife and asked her, “Who are you? What is your authentic swing? What is your contribution to this life?”

And that is the question I wish to ask you. What is your authentic swing? Why are you on this planet? For what purpose did God choose to bring you forth? I’m not asking you to answer this right now, for I believe this is a question we must ask ourselves for our entire lives. But have you given it any thought? If not, begin. If you have, then stay tuned for my next blog on Purpose.

In the meantime, enjoy this clip from the movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance.

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Life’s not fair

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“It’s not fair!” We have all heard this saying. We’ve all probably said it at some point in our life. It’s a common phrase we hear children exclaim, and it generally happens when things don’t go their way. And as far as I can recall, most every parent’s response to that statement is along the lines of, “Get over it. Life isn’t fair.”

And guess what? It’s still not fair. It never will be fair, and we should not expect it to be fair.

So let’s make sure we are not teaching our children contrary to what we tell them.

In July, we moved back to Rifle, CO. Hannah and Joshua have always played soccer, and for the most part, I’ve always been their coach. This go around my plan was to coach Hannah for the next three years and play parent only for Joshua. Unfortunately, when I signed them both up, they only had two kids enrolled on each of their teams, and neither team had a coach.  Not fair.

But rather than be a whiner, I wanted to be a problem solver. I offered to coach both teams and also help recruit some players and hopefully a coach to replace me.

Hannah’s team came together pretty well, but Joshua’s team has been a different story. Due to a lack of help in the beginning, and my schedule, I had to hold a few practices at the same time as my daughters. My son’s team is a U10 team and Hannah’s is a U15 team. Basically it’s 2nd-4th grade boys and 6th-8th grade girls. Well, a few of the boy’s parents didn’t like this arrangement. Apparently it didn’t seem fair.

Fortunately, another parent, Tracy, stepped up and has been doing an awesome job. She still wanted me to help out, especially during games, so I’ve been very much involved. But there was still a problem of a lack of numbers, and one other we yet knew about.

Our first game we were short two players for a full team on the field (our league plays 7 v 7). Well that’s not fair. And it was at this time that we discovered our team was placed within the upper division of the two divisions within this league. How did we discover this? We played against one of the best U10 boys teams I’ve ever seen around the Western Slope of Colorado. It was completely unfair.

Even after the visiting team allowed us to play one of their player’s older brother (a U11 player) on our team (and yeah I know, it’s not within the rules), we still lost somewhere around fifteen or twenty to zero. We had only one shot on goal. It was ugly. It was completely unfair.

So what would you do? What would you have done as a parent? What would you have done as a player, a coach? 

One of the players who was brand new, didn’t return to a practice after that. Then a second player quit coming to practice. And he was the best player on the team…and a really good player as well.

So what would you do?

I can tell you what I did.

I immediately started thinking of how to get better. How do we learn from this?
How do we help these young boys understand that the only thing that ultimately matters is improving

Overcoming Adversity Quotes & Sayings | Overcoming Adversity Quotes About Overcoming Adversity

themselves. Because the reality is, if they are getting better, then we are doing our job as coaches. And the bigger reality is, stop comparing yourself to others and just work on being a better version of yourself. It’s not what happens to you that matters. It’s how your respond to what happens to you that matters.

The coach and I collaborated and continued recruiting to pick up new players, and having organized, solid practices.  We picked up a couple more boys, which was great. My son was coming home from practice excited and happy.

Then came our second game. It was more competitive, but we still lost 7-2. Had we had the other two boys with us, I think we would have had a more evenly matched “fair” game.

But again, all that matters is if we are improving as soccer players. How do we handle adversity? How do we demonstrate to these boys that the BEST response is not to quit, but to work harder, keep a positive attitude, and not back down from the challenge. 

I managed to convince the second player that quit to come back and play, but that only lasted one or two practices. Then he quit again. But the new player that we never heard from showed up for the week of practice before our third game. 

The third game arrived. And wow, it was another strong team. I think we had two or three shots on goal and lost somewhere around 11-0. Yeah, it could be construed yet again as being unfair, but every one of the kids showed heart and courage. Our team of mostly second and third graders with three new players didn’t quit. I was proud of their effort. I’m also proud of the parents that have kept the right attitude.

So that is where we stand right now. We still have four more games to go. I’m curious to see how this ends. I don’t necessarily believe we will turn this all around and start being some kind of dynamic, highly skilled soccer team by the end of this season. But if we (coaches, parents, and players) all remember that we need to keep positive, work hard, and continue to improve, I’m willing to bet that these boys will be far better off in the long run in life than those that quit or would have quit.

Life is not fair. Stuff happens. People get sick. People have tragic things happen to them. People lose loved ones, suffer abuse, and so much more. Some of these boys might encounter these tough and unfair situations. But if this season can help them understand that it’s not what happens to us that matters, but how we respond to what happens to us, then we as coaches and parents have done our job well.

I hope this will inspire parents, coaches, and players to never quit, especially if something is “not fair.”  Let’s develop the strength of character, integrity, and resolve to be overcomers. To be the type of people that look at adversity straight on and smile.

Just remember,

It’s not what happens to us that matters. It’s how we respond to what happens to us that matters. 

Respond well, and it will make for a far more successful and happy life. overcomer_titleslide

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Operation Underground Railroad

Two months ago, if someone had come up to me and asked me to give money to some organization that helps fight against the child sex slave industry, I would likely have at most gave $10. Not because I didn’t care necessarily, but more because deep down I just didn’t even know what that meant. I was ignorant.

Then I heard Tim Ballard speak at a leadership convention, and I am now working at setting personal records of how many push-ups I can do in order to raise money for Operation Underground Railroad.

It’s sad to think how ignorant I was of such a horrific industry. And that is what it is, an industry. Children are basically rented for sex because their “owners” can make big bucks. It’s sickening. But even if someone had told me that, it still wouldn’t have penetrated my heard deep enough to have as much of an impact.

Thankfully, Tim’s talk changed me. My eyes were opened to Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that is removing the blinders from people’s eyes and removing children from these terrible situations.

So why push-ups, you may ask.

In partnership with All Grace Outreach and LIFE, I am participating in a push-up pushupscontest to raise money and awareness for Operation Underground Railroad (see details below) to help bring an end to human trafficking and the sex slave trade. That may sound outlandish, but if your response is similar to mine when I watched the videos below, you too will want to become involved. I was in tears, literally, with the horrific atrocities committed against human beings, especially children.

My personal goal is to do 100 push-ups and to raise $10,000.

If you’d like to help with the fight against the sex slave trade, you can give to the website below, in person by cash or check made out to All Grace Outreach with “OUR Life on Life” in the memo line, or through mail with a check or money order made out to AGO (All Grace Outreach, 200 Commonwealth Ct. Cary NC 27511)

If you’d like to give based on my efforts (per push-up) we can set that up to. Please get a hold of me at bryan@lifeleadershipinfo.com. 

Lastly​, if you do give a lump sum, please let me know as I will need to record your giving to show it as part of my pledges towards my goal of raising $10,000.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE, for helping end human trafficking and the children sex slave trade​!!

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Demand Excellence of Yourself

ExcellenceSlide1It’s crazy to think it was twenty eight years ago that I won a national championship in Greco-Roman wrestling. But, alas, it was. And it wasn’t an easy path to that accomplishment. Nothing great ever is. It required a lot of dedication, hard work, and persistance. It was a great achievement, and one I’m proud of. But it wasn’t and isn’t the pinnacle of my life.

Life isn’t about the goals or achievements that we hit. I believe life is about influencing people with Truth, and the most effective way to do that is to pursue excellence in all areas of our lives.

Do you demand excellence of yourself? Do I demand it of myself? Too often we expect others to be excellent in their endeavors yet not require the same of ourselves. As Dan Hawkins video below explains, we see this scenario played out within professional sports all the time. Couch potatoes and armchair quarterbacks all over the globe scream and holler at their teams to perform and “do what they were paid to do” and yet are often some of the greatest slackers of all.

Imagine if our children, family members, and close friends watched our lives as we watch our sports teams. Would they be cheering or jeering? Would they give us high fives when we walk in the door, or would they make us do sprints as discipline for a shabby performance.

Let’s make a decision to be men and women of excellence. Let’s be excellent parents, spouses, leaders, employees, entrepreneurs, and everything in between. People are watching our life performances. Let’s give them something to cheer about.

 

danhawkins

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Press On!

I read the following story at a business meeting last night in Rifle, CO. I subscribe to Dan Waldschmidt’s blog and when this one reached my inbox, it took me a few days to read it because the title didn’t really resonate with me. Not a good reason to pass on it for so long, for as soon as I read it I was convicted. I had to ask myself some crucial questions (again).

The primary question I had to ask myself was, “Am I really willing to do whatever it takes to succeed?” Obviously, when I ask that question its within the context of being legal, moral, and ethical, but am I truly willing to do whatever it takes? For that is the ultimate question when it comes to success- no matter what we are trying to be successful at.

I won a national championship in Greco-Roman wrestling back in the day, and I was willing to pay the price to do so. It required a twelve years of sacrifice, dedication, focus, competition, mental toughness, and endurance.

Unfortunately, even former successful people, are prone to make excuses rather than make sacrifices. After all, in the short term, making an excuse to not do what it takes is easier than changing, sacrificing, and going through pain to do what it takes. But in the end, the pain of regret is much worse, than the reward of achievement.

So, if I know that I must do XYZ to reach my goal (which will include sacrifice, pain, frustration, struggle, mental toughness, and on and on), then I HAVE to figure out how to make it happen. Otherwise there will be no success in my life. Period.

So with all that, I highly recommend you read the story of Kieran Behan (and pass it along to others) who is still chasing his dream, just as each of us are. You have greatness inside you. Let this story inspire you to rise up and do what you were placed on this planet to do.

Click on Dan’s image below.

edgy
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The Top 10 Mistakes People Make Building Life

This is simply a short but excellent list of reasons why we in LIFE may not be succeeding, but also why anyone may not be succeeding in the game of life.

Source: The Top 10 Mistakes People Make Building Life

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Life on Life Helps Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity Be a Blessing

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Habitat for Humanity is a widely popular worldwide 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that builds healthy, affordable homes for qualifying families. Most people have heard of DSC_0009this great organization, but few have heard of the Life on Life Initiative which is a Life sponsored program dedicated to helping people gain functional freedom through literacy and other necessary life skills. Life is a company dedicated to setting people free through offering world-class educational programs in the areas of financial, professional, and personal development. But what we do best is Community. We build communities that work together to help one another live the life they’ve always wanted.

So when John and Cheri began their journey with Life’s Team Courageous Altitude Division, and we learned they were working with Habitat to have a new home built for them, we jumped on board. Afterall, building communities that encourage, support, and work together is what we do. So last summer, a group of Team Courageous men and women made the trip to Empire, CO and put in a day’s work on John and Cheri’s future home.

Project Manager, Bill, was asked what his favorite part about working with Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity was and without hesitancy he said, “When I hand the key off to the new home owner and see in them the joy of having not just a house but a home.”

Many thanks are due the crew that worked to help the Caldwell’s dream become a reality. Thank you Tavia Bourret for organizing this very enjoyable day of service. And thank you David Hazelton, Norm and Nancy Bacheldor, Miguel and Ana Ruiz, Malcom Partyka, Elora Devito, Micah Feller, Bryan and Courtnee Vashus, …

John and Cheri have finished closing on their house and are now comfortably living in their new Habitat for Humanity home. We are so thankful we were able to play a small part in helping this dream come true for them.

 

 

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