When Fear Takes Over and What To Do About It

When my son was 7 he decided he wanted to play football. I truly didn’t prompt him in any way (that I can remember) but since football is my favorite sport, I was excited for his desire to play.

His mother on the other hand wasn’t quite so enthusiastic. Her maternal instincts kicked in and she began to ask all the questions you would expect from a loving parent…

  • What if he gets hurt?
  • Will he know anyone on the team?
  • How big are the boys he’ll play with?
  • Will his coach be mean?
  • Will the boys be mean?

You know, the typical questions.

To be honest, they were good questions. After all, we didn’t want to throw our son into a smash-mouth, eat glass, take no prisoners, win at all cost kind of environment. Our son was barely 70 pounds and as we soon found out, he would play against some boys weighing more than twice what he did. But this was peewee football…had bad could it be?

We registered for the team, went to our first fitting where he was outfitted with new, top of the line equipment (I’m pretty sure it was better than what I wore for high school football). The team practiced twice a week, all summer before the season started in September and we had a blast.

The head coach was great and he allowed me to volunteer alongside him. The practices were well-run and the kids learned a lot about teamwork and the great game of football.

We were having  blast.

Then came opening day! The first game of the season and my son’s first official football game.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

As the players took to the field, I walked to our sideline and suddenly, out of nowhere my mind was flooded with questions…

  • What if he gets hurt?
  • How big are the boys he’ll play with?
  • Will his coach be mean?
  • Will the boys be mean?

Even after practicing all summer, out of nowhere, I was suddenly struck with fear…what if Alex gets hurt today? He’s one of the smallest on the team and it’s one thing to practice with your own team…it’s another to play against a real opponent.

For a brief moment, I was truly stricken with fear for my son’s safety. Not to mention my own, if his mother saw him get hurt.

Have you ever been there?

Have you suddenly been overtaken by fear?

What did you do?

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Jack Canfield

Don’t Miss Out 

How many times have you decided not to do something because you were afraid? You saw an opportunity but you got nervous and backed away from it. I get it; fear has a way of warning us against doing something…like it’s looking out for us. But I think that’s a big mistake.

We could have allowed the fear that Alex could have gotten hurt, keep him from playing football…but at what cost?  Because he played…

  • he learned new skills
  • he learned to work as part of a team
  • he learned to apply instruction
  • he enjoyed competition
  • he got stronger physically and mentally
  • he learned the value of trying new things
  • and he won the “Rookie of the Year” award. (I might have been more excited than he was about that)

If Alex had stayed on the sidelines he would have missed out on so much.

When we sit on the sidelines we miss out on so much too.

Q. Is fear holding you back from doing what you ant to do? Maybe we can learn somethings form a 7 year old

  • listen to what your heart is telling you
  • get input from others
  • get all the information you need to make an informed decision
  • strap on some gear and go hit something…in other words…TAKE ACTION!

The very thing you are afraid of may be the very thing you ought to do. In fact I suggest the fear you feel is often confirmation you should do it. 

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Let’s talk.

How Netflix Can Help You Discover Your Calling and Purpose

Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m a Jason Bourne fan. I love the series of movies, now at five, but I especially appreciate the first three. Sorry Jeremy Renner; part four was okay, and I enjoyed the last instalment, but the first three stand out.

I could probably recite most of the lines. I’ve watched them more than I could count (I’m not suggesting that’s a good thing but it’s true). A number of years ago I spent a day in Paris on a layover, sitting at an outdoor cafe, listening to the sounds of the city and watching for Bourne…he didn’t show up. Yes, I was disappointed.

In case you don’t know, Jason Bourne is a CIA black-op who goes missing after a botched assignment. He’s rescued from the Mediterranean Sea but as he heals from two gun shot wounds in the back, he realizes he has no memory…he has no idea who he is and how he got to where he was.

The Bourne trilogy focuses on the story of how this CIA agent, suffering from amnesia begins to learn who he is, and discover that he doesn’t like what learns about himself…essentially that he’s a trained assassin. Bourne then goes on his own mission to rediscover who he is and take back his life from the agency that has been controlling it; all while the CIA does all it can to take out the rogue agent before he can do more damage to the covert organization.

From the storyline, to the car chases to the martial arts and cinematography…(that’s how I justify watching them again and again…for the cinematography) I love these movies.

What Do Your Favorite Movies Say About You?

I believe that God has created each one of us for a specific purpose and given us all we need to carry out the things He has for us to do. But understanding our mission and our purpose is not always so simple or straightforward.

Have you ever stopped to consider what your favorite movies say about you? And do you think it’s possible to gain insights into your own calling and purpose through the movies you watch? I think it is.

I’m talking about calling and purpose as the things we do in our lives related to our work…the things we do to be productive…the things we do that we hope will make a difference to those around us.

I’m not suggesting that getting clarity about our calling is simply analyzing our entertainment viewing habits, but they can give us clues.

One of the most powerful ways to understand our calling is to consider the themes of our lives. It is linked to our experiences, both positive and negative, and the meaning we give them

Looking back over our lives and identifying themes give us clues.

Our favorite movies can give us clues too. Some of my favorite movies include “The Bourne Trilogy” and “A Few Good Men”. And while these are completely different movies, their common themes are why I like them.

Let me explain.

  • Jason Bourne didn’t like who he was and determined to change. He overcomes incredible odds…near fatal wounds, a covert CIA who wants to eliminate him, not to mention he isn’t sure who he is, to change the direction his life was going.
  • Lt. Daniel Kaffee, an inexperienced US Navy lawyer who appears to like baseball more than law, who seems to be more of a class clown than a litigator for the armed forces, was thrown into a court marshal case, expected to be a screw-up and fail, with the hopes of preserving the reputation of the Armed Forces Marine Corp. But Kaffee leads a brilliant defense, even with the deck stacked against him and gets his clients off of the most serious of charges.

The themes that I easily recognize in my favorite movies include things like:

  • overcoming obstacles due to circumstances and poor choices
  • exceeding others expectations
  • overcoming self-doubt
  • succeeding in spite of others judgment
  • moving from selfish ambition to empowering and inspiring others to face their fears and reach their potential

Those are the kind of themes that draw me in because they reflect much of my own experience. But even more than just mirroring my life, past and present, they reflect what my life is about now…I hope.

  • I’ve been the class clown
  • I’ve been the screw up.
  • I’ve been selfish
  • I’ve lacked empathy for others
  • I’ve struggled to know what my potential is
  • I’ve had to overcome poor choices to change the trajectory of my life
  • I want to inspire others to make the most of their lives.
  • I want to encourage, equip and motivate people to be all that they can be..all God has created them to be.

Those last two, reflect my purpose as I understand it. For the bulk of my adult life I have tried to inspire, encourage, motivate, challenge, support and guide people so they can experience more, live more and be more…reaching their God-given potential.

I believe that is my mission and my purpose and what gives meaning to my life. The work I’ve done reflects that…counselling, pastoring, coaching. But it’s also part of being a husband, father, friend and business owner. My purpose permeates all of those things.

You might be saying, “You get all that from Jason Bourne or Daniel Kaffee?” Well, yes, I guess I am saying that. The themes of my favorite movies connect with the themes of my life and they point me towards why I am here and what I am to do.

Does It Matter?

We want our lives to matter. We want our lives to have an impact. We want to make a difference. At least the majority of individuals I come in contact want those things.

But is that the reality of most people? Is that your experience? If you’re stuck, perhaps taking time to reflect on your favorite movies will give you the clues you need to understand your purpose.

You are uniquely equipped to carry out your God-given purpose. Don’t give up discovering what it is.

Watch your favorite movie, maybe it will help.

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Let’s talk.

 

What Can You Learn From a 12-Year-Old? Quite a Lot Actually.

6 Life-Lessons From A Ventriloquist

I’m not a big fan of TV shows like “The Voice” or “The World of Dance” (I’m sorry to all of you who are) but I have become a fan of one in particular.

Actually, I’ve never seen the show, at least not on TV but I have seen enough clips to become interested. I’ve seen excerpts from “America’s Got Talent” and some of the performers are quite incredible. Most recently I came across a 12-year-old named Darci Lynne. If you haven’t seen her yet, you can check out her audition here…

Darci Lynne on America’s Got Talent

I’ve watched this audition a few times now and I’m impressed with so many things about Darci and I think we can all learn some valuable lessons from her too. Here are some of my takeaways…

Our Struggles Can Be a Point of Contribution

Darci admitted to being extremely shy and struggled to make eye contact with others. But instead of resigning herself to being “that way” she took action. She asked for a puppet and got to work. Her struggle became motivation for change but also for impact. If Darci gave in to her shyness the world would never know her and she would have missed out on the impact she is now having.

Is your deepest pain a current struggle or a past experience you just can’t shake? Is it something that defines you (according to you). What difference would it make if you saw your pain or deepest wound as an opportunity? What have you learned from it and how can it help someone else?

“The place of our deepest pain, can be the point of our greatest contribution”

Success Takes Time & Commitment

The judges were impressed with how far Darci had come in two years of practice. It does seem like a short time to hone her skills, but it still was significant. She actually had spent almost 20% of her life to ventriloquism. That’s a huge chunk of her 12 years. I wonder how many of us have committed 20% of our lives to something important to us?

What do you think would happen if have if you gave 20% of your life to something important to you? Or even 10 or 5? What kind of positive changes could you make…to your health, your closest relationships, your career, your hidden talent or your secret dream? Do you think it might make a difference in someone’s else’s life?

“Successful people and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities, but in their desire to reach their potential.” John Maxwell

When Something “Clicks” Respond

Darci saw a ventriloquist at her church and “something clicked”. Have you ever experienced a moment like that? That “aha moment” when your interest and focus went in a particular direction. Maybe a spiritual awakening of sorts? Has God lead you, spoke to you or encouraged you (maybe by using others to do so) to do something specifically?

I think for many, the tendency is to think about all the reasons we can’t do something or why it won’t work rather than to embrace the challenge and take the next steps to making it happen.

The Bible tells us God has things  for us to do…do you know what they are? What’s stopping you from doing them?

Our Greatest Accomplishments Are On the Other Side of Fear

Fear is without a doubt one of the most debilitating emotions we experience. It can keep us from so many things. But in my experience, fear is not an indicator to avoid something but the motivation to do it.

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do that you’re not doing now?

Humility Is Attractive

For me, the most enjoyable auditions on America’s Got Talent (or Britain’s Got Talent) are the people who don’t even know how good they are. They may perform with the hopes of being accepted and affirmed but they do so with humility.

No one really likes a cocky, arrogant person do they? I think this type of attitude can sabotage so many areas of our lives.

But Darci seems like such a sweet girl who had no idea the response she would garner that night. It made her performance all the more inspiring and compelling and you just couldn’t help but celebrate what she did.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself.” Phil 2:3

We All Need a Support System

Darci didn’t get to the stage and eventually the “live show” alone…she had a lot of support. Her parents purchased the puppet, the family encouraged her and they were there back stage and in the crowd rooting for her. Who do you think was more nervous?

We are not designed to do life alone. Whether single, married, a student or grandparent, we were made for relationships that provide love, encouragement, direction, accountability and strength and they give us opportunity to do the same in return.

Who in your life could use some encouragement? What are the opportunities right around you?

I’ll keep watching clips from America’s Got Talent but I won’t soon forget Darci…and all she has taught us.

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Let’s talk.

 

What Do You Do When Your Life is Out of Control?

For years our family would purchase a season pass at Canada’s Wonderland, a major theme park about an hour from where we lived. Four or five times a year we would make a day of it, enjoying the drive, a picnic lunch, the shows and the rides.

Well, mostly it was Alex and me who enjoyed the rides while Kathy and Megan people-watched. There wasn’t a ride us guys wouldn’t go on, but for the ladies, it was often a challenge to go on anything beyond the spinning tea cups.

But I have to say, Kathy was a good sport, often going on rides she’d rather not.

One afternoon we were standing in line for the Drop Zone (a 230 ft tower that you gradually are lifted to, only to be dropped, free-falling to the ground, and breaking just feet before the earth).

When the kids were younger they wore coloured bracelets the park handed out to indicate the rides they could go on, based on their height. If they were too small for a particular ride, like the Drop Zone, they would stand in line with us, then move through and watch us.

As we were approaching the front of the line I noticed the operators weren’t paying much attention to individual riders. I looked at Alex and he looked back at me and I whispered, “do you want to go on?”

Without saying a word and with eyes wide open I knew his answer and ripped off his bracelet and told him to “just act natural”.

Megan moved beyond the barrier to get a better view and Alex moved toward the ride with Kathy and myself.

Suddenly I saw terror on Kathy’s face as she put 2 & 2 together.

Have you ever screamed at someone while at the same time whispering so not to be heard by those around you? It’s quite a skill and that’s what Kathy was doing. She was freaking out because our barely 4-foot-tall son was buckling up for the ride of his life.

I quickly hushed her so not to give us away and Alex sat between us. Kathy could look over him to me and with her eyes expressed great fear, dismay and a few other things I won’t go into.

The oblivious operator ensured we were secure in our seats (which meant you could barely move because the shoulder harness was so tight and restrictive).

Once moving towards the sky, Kathy let into me like no one’s business while Alex and I would have high-fived each other if we could get our arms free to do so.

After reaching the height of the ride, and taking in the view, we dropped back down to the ground at over 16 feet per second. The whole thing was over in about 30 seconds.

And it was awesome.

Once we were free from the ride, Alex and I did high-five each other and we couldn’t stop laughing. It’s a great memory for us…Kathy maybe not so much.

But I didn’t share this story to suggest a reckless parenting strategy or to encourage breaking the rules.

What Do You Do When Your Life is Out of (Your) Control?

I love that story of us riding the drop zone ride at Wonderland. I smile every time I think of it. But during the ride itself, you just can’t move much at all. Once we were harnessed in, everything was out of our control.

Ever felt like that?

A couple of weeks ago I shared a personal story about a situation that took Kathy and me by complete surprise and turned our world upside down. You can read it here.

In a blink, our life went from an exciting new adventure to everything is out of control and uncertain where nothing made sense.

Have you ever been there? I think most of us have. Because as I suggested last week, life is rarely “up and to the right”. It’s never a straight line. Whether your job or career, your family or marriage…it doesn’t matter. The most important things in our lives rarely go from point A to point B in a straight line. Up and to the right just doesn’t happen.

So what can you do?

Or maybe better, “What do you get to do?”

You get to decide.

You get to decide how you are going to respond to the situation that has caused you to feel like you’ve lost control. In other words, even when life is out of control, or you feel completely stuck and life is beyond your control, you still have options. You get to decide what you will do in response.

Sometimes life’s restraints are almost overwhelming. When you’re riding the Drop Zone, that’s okay…when your world is turned upside down, that’s another thing altogether.

But you still get to decide. You get to decide how you will respond.

Maybe you are in the middle of a “my life is upside down” situation.

What are you going to do?

Will you give up? Or will you regroup?

Will you seek input from trusted people in your life or will you grow more cynical and isolated?

Will you lean into God? Or will you become more self-sufficient?

Will you grow bitter? Or will you look for ways to learn, grow and improve?

Will you retreat and give up? Or will you discern what’s next?

Will you allow a setback to define you? Or will you allow it to propel you forward?

What will you decide to do?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Let’s talk.