A lot of times the things we think look good end up not being so good. The things we don’t think will be good end up being what’s really good and useful. If the things of God are what we cherish, then we have all we need. Paraphrasing what my pastor, Steve Ramsdell once said in a sermon, “Over the course of life, most good things don’t happen magically or suddenly. They are the result of a predetermined request, an ongoing commitment to build momentum for life”. Here is a link to the Podcast player for inspiration at any time or any place: FUMC Sermon Podcast.
Vince Lombardi, the great football coach of the Green Bay Packers once said, “I firmly believe that a man’s finest hour – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear is the moment when he works his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle –victorious”. The great thing about sports is that goals are defined. Everyone on the team has one common goal. In football, it’s getting the ball across the goal line. In basketball, it’s getting the ball in the basket. In baseball or softball, it’s getting more teammates to home base than the other team. In sports and in life, there are keys to success and it all starts by planning to win.
A baseball coach once made the statement that hitting is about 90% mental. I remember a story my high school baseball coach told our team the day before a tournament. He gave a talk to the team about a golfer that was sick. He would lay in his bed dreaming about playing golf. In his dreams he would always see himself hitting the perfect shot. This went on for several weeks as he played rounds of golf in his head. When he got over his sickness several weeks later, he was able to go out to the golf course and shoot his best round of golf ever.
Many great Athletes practice in their minds before they compete in their sport. In baseball, a hitter might visualize the pitcher leaning, starting his windup, rocking back and seeing his arm whip over his head. They might see the seams of the ball. It is bigger than usual and they stride into the pitch. The bat comes around and they swing through the ball. Then they feel the ball hitting the sweet part of the bat and how the ball jumps off the bat. The lesson to remember is that your mind has to see it and believe it before it will achieve it.
No one wants to look back on life and have to say, “if only I had done this or that when I was younger”. To step ahead, there needs to be a plan that meets values and needs. A person can use the List of Dreams (tab at the bottom of spreadsheet) within the Purpose Tool Template at this link as a blueprint in building plans that match their values. Take a look at the Self-evaluation Inventory at this link and examine each evaluation item set up in the Purpose Tool Template worksheet. Then click on the tab at the bottom called WK1. You are welcome to click file, then save as, and then save to your own computer for personal use.
Like athletes planning out their victory, plan out activities. Write out quotes, Bible verses, points made in sermons, and links to videos. These will be used to inspire, support plans, and provide a map to staying on course. It’s also a good idea to plan out a timeline because deadlines are important. They act like the clock at a sporting event as the 4th quarter approaches and everyone becomes more focused before time runs out.
Desire is a force that leads champions. One of the reasons I think sports is so popular is that you can see examples of the desire to win. Michael Jordan was voted ESPN’s athlete of the century in 1999. The teams he played on just won. He had a need to win and would find a way for his team to win. When Michael Jordan was in his early years of High School, he was told he was not tall enough and good enough to make the basketball team. Desire in him recognized no such word as impossible and accepted no such reality as failure. NCAA championship at North Carolina, All-American, Olympic gold medalist, perennial all-star, NBA most valuable player numerous times, and 6 NBA world championships are the result.
Confidence and Determination
By writing out plans, confidence will grow with each action step accomplished. For plans not accomplished, some adjustments may be needed. Either habits or attitudes need to be transformed or one has to ruffle some feathers to get teammates moving in the right direction. As written about in It Takes Courage, sometimes courage is needed to get everyone going in the same direction.
Determination is needed to stick to plans and continue to pursue them. The Declaration of Independence was a written statement to keep the United States on course. In the same way, personal written statements, favorite inspirational videos, sermon notes, favorite Bible verses, and photos can build determination. They can inspire and help individuals stay focused on their mission.
Be determined by going the extra mile to follow through on plans regardless of obstacles, criticism, or circumstances. In many cases, there is not much difference between 1st and 2nd place. The little extra effort makes a big difference. In success and in failure, we should not dwell on the past but should look at the present and future; always giving our best.
I once heard a story about a professor who gave an exam on English literature just before Christmas. One student handed in a very short paper reading, “God only knows the answer to this question; Merry Christmas!” The professor returned the paper after Christmas with this note: “God gets an A; you get an F. Happy New Year!”
In sports, there are certain points within a game when an individual or team either comes through or not. In baseball or softball, it’s when runners are in scoring position and all that is needed is a clutch hit. Some batters are good at getting a hit at the right time. They seem to be able to turn it up a notch when needed most. In football, it may be taking advantage of a fumble recovery or interception and then scoring a touchdown. It’s the same in business. There are times when an individual can make a big difference for their company by going the extra mile for a customer. That customer may be the one that gives a major contract for the company.
As individual’s, we are not selling a product, but we are selling ourselves. It’s our personal brand and if we do what’s right, we have a greater chance to be rewarded. Learn from stories like the Eric Liddell story (depicted in the Oscar-winning 1981 film Chariots of Fire) who was a sprinter for Great Britain in 1924. He made the finals in the Olympic 100 meters but had a problem because the race was on a Sunday morning. He didn’t run on Sundays because he believed that was a day to honor God. He made an adjustment and instead of running the 100 meters on Sunday, ran the 400 meters on Monday. He understood what was really important and what the real race in life was. He went the extra distance and won.
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As we are getting near the end of the year and start thinking about next year, here is another post in the “God’s Plan for Us” series. There are five keys to successfully realizing your God given purpose; thoughts, plans, desires, confidence, and determination.