There is a difference between questioning why vs. asking a question to learn why.
When we open a conversation by questioning someone, we are bringing judgement. In short, whether we realize it or not we are questioning their judgement. That doesn't tend to open up healthy conversations as much as create the potential for unwanted confrontations.
It goes like this:
"I'm not sure why you did this."
"I'm not sure why you would make that decision."
"I'm not sure you thought of whatever I'm about to tell you, but once I do I'll feel better for having cleared this up for you."
The opposite approach sounds more like this:
"Can you tell me more so I can learn the heart behind the decision that was made?"
"Can you share with me the heart behind the decisions made so that I have a better understanding of the bigger picture?"
"Thank you for your heart to lead. Can you tell me more about the vision behind your decision, so that when others ask about the direction we've taken I have all of the information for a great conversation."
Often times those closest to the situation have the most relevant information.
We need to take a posture to learn more than a posture to prove a point.
In my experience, I get it right when I listen twice as much as I speak.
Decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.
"it MAY BE that..."
Less trying to prove a point, more of a willingness to learn.
It's about honoring relationships.
We'll pick that thought up tomorrow.
"...it MAY BE that..."
It turned out different. It took longer. It was a lot harder.
It was exactly what you expected. It happened faster. It was a lot easier.
It's tempting to place more value on exact, faster, and easier.
If we are willing to commit to a posture of learning, there is just as much value in different, longer, and harder.
We tend to bail on experiences that start to veer off the course of our desire for exact, faster, and easier. We quit before we ever have the chance to learn from different, longer, and harder.
If the work has meaning, stay the course no matter how it ends up, how long it takes, or how hard you have to work at it to get there.
Those that do will reap rewards that most will never know.
"...it MAY BE that..."
Consistency in the face of adversity is a competitive advantage most people leave on the table because they don't stay long enough for desert.
The sweet stuff is reserved for the committed.
If you'll see it through, there's something sweet waiting for you.
"Stay in your wheelhouse."
Imagine the following scenario for a moment.
You are the captain of a ship. Things are going swimmingly. (Pun intended). You are cruising on the waters, enjoying the views, and the fellowship of those on board with you. Then one day you decide to walk the deck a bit. Then the next day a little bit more. You stop to talk to a few folks here and there. And then before you know it, you are spending a lot of time on the deck and not at the wheel.
About that time you look up to see the ship headed for ground.
You realize no one is at the wheel.
You've left your wheelhouse and now the ship is in danger.
The very people you were there to serve aren't getting the best from you.
You race back to the ship's wheelhouse and get back to what you are the best at.
Within a short period of time things go from what looked like an impending ship wreck, to a re-focused and centered purpose.
Have you ever felt like that?
Like you looked up to realize that the calling on you was left behind you?
"...it MAY BE that..."
To bring the value you were meant to, you need to stay where you were called to.
Grab the wheel.
Stay true to your vision.
Stay in your wheelhouse.
And if you ever find yourself outside of it?
Run with all you have back to it.
It's a special edition of #TheMaybeClock.
I'm writing this one late on Mother's Day eve.
It seems appropriate that tonight, moms should be..."On The Clock".
In short, when I talked about being "On The Clock" I ran it through the filter of what the NFL Draft taught me about what that meant.
In a few words?
Preparation. Dedication. An affection beyond measure for what they do.
To be great at what you do, you sacrifice a ton. You do the hard work when no one is watching, or seems to care. You are up earlier than most. You study harder than the rest. You juggle multiple things all at once, and make it look like its natural for anyone to try to do that. You are in the top % of anyone who does what you do.
Wait...are we still talking about the NFL?
It sure sounds like we are talking about moms.
Because we are.
As I reflect on #TheMaybeClock, and what I am learning from my writing journey through it, it's not lost on me that "MAYBE", "...it MAY BE that..."
We need to be thankful that someone gave of themselves selflessly for us. They literally changed their entire world for nine months to protect us as we couldn't do that for ourselves. Then...for the next 18 years did the same in so many ways. And they've been there for us every day after, even when we thought we knew better as adults.
Before we could remember, where pictures can only remind us, they carried us. As we think back to us finding our way through childhood, they walked with us. And when we went out to discover the world as adults they covered us.
In their arms.
Next to us.
On their knees in prayer for us.
Tonight, I sit quietly by the love of my life as I'm writing this.
Two thank you's are in order for that moment.
Mom...thank you for carrying, walking, and praying for me.
Nancy...thank you for carrying, walking, and praying for Cara.
I'm sitting here looking at an amazing mother that I am blessed to call my wife, because both of you did everything in your being to give us the gift of each other.
You got us here.
Thank you doesn't quite cover that. But I'll say it so you know how indebted my heart feels for it. Thank you. We love you.
Cara...as you carry, walk, and cover our three blessings it's my greatest joy to be with you on this journey.
Somewhere there are three other moms doing the same thing.
Three other moms wondering where our three kids are, and if someone is holding them close, cheering them on, and praying over them daily.
Tonight...something tells me they know you are, Cara.
"...it MAY BE that..."
The greatest gift we can give the moms in our life this weekend is letting them know that the carrying, walking, and covering aren't just words to describe what they've done for us. Our moms created the heart, character, and integrity that is in us.
You are all constantly "On The Clock". You are, because of WHO you are, not that you should have to be. You are because your heart wouldn't let you have it any other way. You are because you have so much love to give, it needs a 24-7 release.
We love you, moms.
I love you, mom.
I love you, Nancy.
I love you, Cara.
And every day thereafter...
There is no "MAYBE" about that.
Happy Mother's Day.
If you can't find yourself, you don't need to look in a mirror.
Look in your heart.
Somewhere deep down on the inside of you sits untapped potential.
I talked about how we can find our calling yesterday.
Today I want to talk about how to take the first steps in the direction of it.
Have you ever looked in the mirror and felt like you didn't recognize yourself anymore? You've run so hard, so long, that life has become an obligation-driven song on repeat...instead of an every day road trip full of new adventures?
Adventures can cover miles. But...they can also cover relationships, family, friends, jobs, community, and so much more. We don't need to be behind the wheel of an actual vehicle to cover ground. We do need to be able to confidently sit behind the wheel of our heart and make choices that allow us to experience who we really are.
You deserve that.
You need that.
Your next steps can be that.
Pick one thing today that stirs your heart and make a decision to shift from one gear to the next to make it happen. You might see an immediate result, you might not. That's not the point. The point is you took action. Stop going through the motions that everyone else expects of you, and begin to take care of you. If you want to be the best for those closest to you, it starts with you taking care of you...so you have something to draw on, give from, and lead from.
All of the dreams on the inside of you weren't placed their to torment you. They were a gift that was given to you.
Then why is/has it been so hard to see them come to life?
Sometimes the best dreams for us require the most from us.
Sacrifice. Humility. Authenticity. Patience. Excellence.
Just like our physical bodies, what S.H.A.P.E. our mental and emotional self is in impacts our ability to move. They impact our ability to sustain our journey, find our calling, and reach our potential.
It won't always be easy...but the best things were never meant to be.
When we focus on the readiness, willingness, and posture of our heart...we will be more equipped to unwrap what is in it.
When it does get hard?
Think about this...
Can you think of a gift that was given to you that you literally had to wrestle to get it open? The ribbon was so tight, that it took an incredible amount of effort, a dash to the kitchen to get something to help pry it open, and patience from those watching to let you get to the heart of it...to open it...so we could all see the smile on your face as you realize what it actually was.
Your heart, and the dreams that have been laying dormant in it, were never meant to sit there unopened. They were placed there with you in mind. They were created for you, and you alone to open them, unveil them, and act on them.
Wherever you are today, I want you to give yourself permission to open your heart to the fact that there are gifts on the inside of you waiting to be opened.
Pull on the ribbon. Take one step. Tear at the wrapping paper. Make a phone call. Pull back the flaps of the box. Take the leap of faith to start. And...when you can actually put your hands on the gift...and slowly begin to pull it out of the box it came in...smile.
You'll know it when you see it, hold it, and experience it.
Your calling is no different.
Just because you don't know what's in the box, doesn't mean you should stare at it and wonder. It was meant to be sought after, torn into, and part of your life.
If you don't recognize yourself today, take heart.
The easiest way to find yourself?
"...it MAY BE that..."
It's time to give yourself permission to act on the dreams found within your heart.
When you open your heart, you'll revel your gift.
Go ahead...the world is watching, because we already know what's in that box.
We just want to see you smile when you realize what it is.
It's been there all along.
It's your turn.
It's your time.
It's your calling.
Wherever I have travelled and spoken, one of the most popular questions I get revolves around finding our calling.
"How do I find my calling?"
"How do I find my purpose?"
I can tell you this for sure...
It's not on Amazon.
It can't be ordered, shipped, and dropped off at our front door.
We have to get up every day and move in the direction of it, even if we don't ultimately know where we'll end up finding it, or how we'll realize it.
It's a series of "MAYBE" moments that lead us there.
A conversation, an internship, a service project, a new job, retreat, a vacation, or some other experience that touches our soul and stirs our heart.
Can I share some encouragement with you if you are feeling delayed, frustrated, or confused along the way?
Don't be in a hurry to get there.
That might sound funny, but I've realized how true that is.
You can't rush a clock.
A second is a second, is a minute, an hour, and a day.
Enjoy every moment in them.
Don't miss them because you are looking past them.
"MAYBE" you need to stop stressing about the outcome, and learn to fully embrace the joy that is the process. I say that now, after having not done it very well for a long time in my own life.
"...it MAY BE that..." enjoying the journey will open your eyes, some doors, and opportunities that you least expected.
It has for me.
Be content, my friend.
A calling that is understood comes from a consistency that is applied.
Second by second.
Minute by minute.
Hour by hour.
Day by day.
Each one is a blessing.
Each one another piece to the puzzle.
It will all come into focus exactly as it should be, when it should be, as long as we see the value in being who we are...consistently.
Yesterday we talked about helping a friend. Specifically, knowing what to say.
We settled on the value found in the old adage of "less is more".
There is so much value, power, and honor when we...
Sit. Wait. See. Listen. Carry. Walk. Serve.
But what do we do when it comes time to actually say something...what do we say?
Knowing WHAT to say is rooted in knowing WHO they are.
Here is what I mean:
Have you ever given someone advice and they didn't follow through on anything you shared with them? Have you gotten frustrated when they came back to you talking about the same struggle, knowing full well that they ignored you?
I think we've all been there.
Many times the reason for the frustration is that we offered them advice based on WHO we are, and how WE would handle it.
The difference between sharing advice based on WHO they are and WHO we are is the difference between them really hearing us, or just politely listening to, and disregarding us.
Try this the next time you are listening to a friend talk about their struggle, and they ask you for advice on what they should do.
Use what I call "See 33".
Ask them 3 strengths and 3 core values that describe WHO they are and WHAT they believe.
Then, before you say a word about their challenge, filter your advice through "See 33".
Let me give you an example:
Let's say your friend says they see themselves as bold, humorous, and creative...and their core values they believe in are honesty, compassion, and loyalty.
Now we need a struggle they might be dealing with.
Let's say they are finding it hard to feel valued in the workplace. They feel they are being overlooked, and often times their ideas are being ignored.
Then they look at you and say "What would you do?"
What they are really saying is "What would you do if you were me?"
Based on "See 33", you might say...
"I know you. I know your heart. Part of your struggle might be that your boldness loves to go for it and take risks. You are super creative with your ideas and they are often times pretty funny, too. I love that about you. Is it possible the person you are pitching your ideas to isn't into risk as much as you are? Is it possible you could show them how even though some risk might be involved in your big, bold, creative, and humorous idea...that you could show them the value it will bring EVEN IF it isn't a home run? Doubles are still pretty solid! Can you share with them that you want the team to get the win, and if it doesn't work out, you will stand up and be accountable for it?"
You might go on to say something like...
"By doing that you are honoring your core value of being honest by explaining the risk. You are being compassionate to them because you are acknowledging their feelings about risk as well. And at the end of the day you are being up front about being loyal to them, and sharing how you'll see this idea through to the end...no matter what. How you'll accept responsibility for its outcome. How you'll champion them as the boss that believed in them."
That whole response helps your friend release WHO they are, and makes it that much more likely that they'll have something they can feel connected to. They can stand up for WHAT they believe in, while honoring their boss as well. Win-win.
When we base our advice and words on our world, we are speaking an emotional foreign language to the person asking for our opinion.
Our opinion can still be an original thought from us, but it has to be spoken in the language our friend is fluent at a heart level in.
3 core values.
When we base the words we share on WHO we are talking to, it's powerful.
Less is more, and personal is actionable.
"...it may be that..." we need to see how we share advice from this perspective.
Imagine how you'd feel if someone did that for you.
When we see where they are coming from, we can share a response that will help them.
When we "See 33" we are being the best friend we can be.
Have you ever found yourself wanting to help a friend, and not known what you should or shouldn't say?
"MAYBE" it will help.
"MAYBE" it won't.
"MAYBE" I'm overstepping my bounds.
The nervousness that comes from speaking into someone's situation is natural, normal, and completely understandable.
I want to share something simple with you today that has helped me to navigate those moments when I find myself in them.
We have two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet, & one mouth for a reason.
When I'm "on my game"...when I feel like I'm being a good friend, and offering genuine value to the relationships I'm in...I see, listen, and do twice as much as I speak.
We need to see things from their point of view.
We need to listen to their heart.
We need to carry whatever load we can for them.
We need to simply be present, and willing to walk with them.
Notice that none of the above examples mentioned saying a single word.
Sometimes the best advice we can give someone isn't spoken at all.
Our friendship, delivered simply by our presence, is the foundation of trust that conversations are eventually built on. When we race to the scene of someone's trouble, speaking before we are hardly through the door, we've missed the point entirely.
I mentioned #TheMVPLife yesterday when we were talking about how our struggles can become our strength.
We don't need to flex those muscles the moment we walk in the room.
Sit. Wait. See. Listen. Carry. Walk. Serve.
Seven words that will make the perfect time to share words obvious, helpful, and full of the encouragement our friends are looking for in our friendship.
"...it MAY BE that..." words aren't as important as we think they are.
True...we need to choose which ones we share wisely.
But the old adage, "less is more"?
That's a foundation of authenticity we can build relationships on intentionally.
And when it comes time to actually say something...what do we say?
More on that...tomorrow.
Have you ever gotten through a tough spot where you felt the sigh of relief kick in that comes from accomplishing something?
"MAYBE" I can finally breathe now.
"MAYBE" I've finally arrived at my destination.
"MAYBE" all of my hard work has finally paid off (literally and/or figuratively).
But here is where an important decision needs to be made.
I've got mine vs. I have a responsibility to give back.
We can't make rest and celebration our permanent destination.
After a hard fought journey, those are both important and needed. But if we stay there too long we'll miss our greatest opportunities and ultimate responsibility. #Serving.
I think the greatest impact we make comes from a point of understanding that is birthed from moments where we've struggled.
Another one of my writing mentors, Carol McLeod, shared some advice with me early on that I've never forgotten.
Carol said... "Don't waste your pain, teach from it."
True, authentic teaching comes from a place of personal experience. Having "been there, done that" allows us to speak from a different place. There are times when we can see someone's face and know what they are thinking and feeling. We have the words to lift them up, and pour into their lives.
I use that advice Carol gave me to shape my writing, speaking, and coaching.
Think about it like this:
A great player has the ability to use their journey as a teaching tool. They choose the approach that Carol shared with me. They don't waste their pain, they teach from it.
It's what I call #TheMVPLife.
Mental. Verbal. Physical.
Think. Say. Do.
They share stories about when times weren't always great. They lend their voice to the process they used to overcome the challenge. They pour into other teammates lives as they talk about how they can see it differently. They speak encouragement about the process. And at the end of the day, they walk with them as their teammate experiences the same success they did...physically.
Great teammates take what they can do physically, teach from it verbally, so that others can see it themselves for the first time mentally. Great teachers reverse the process so that others can retrace their steps.
P, V, M so that their teammates can move M, V, P.
Do you see it?
Sometimes we have to look over our shoulder and see the need.
As a coach, when we are doing cardio training, our teams will run various distances at different paces. My student-athletes will tell you that if they finish, they know it's on them to go back and run with every teammate until we've all crossed the finish line...together.
I've got goosebumps writing about this, and I do every time I see it.
As much as it's a physical task, it's in those moments that I see #TheMVPLife come to life. I watch as good players turn into great leaders. I watch that as they run back, they are yelling from a great distance. They are calling their teammates names and saying "YOU CAN DO IT!" And their running back to them says "I'm here for you. I won't leave you. I believe in you."
You'll never see those runs on game day. What you will see are the fruits that come from sowing the seeds of trust, love, and family. You'll see kids giving more than they knew they had in them.
You'll see kids seeing things differently, speaking words of encouragement, and together...experiencing breakthroughs and accomplishments.
Great players go beyond what they learned themselves, and reverse the process to teach their teammates how they can succeed.
#TheMVPLife is a repeatable process for intentional progress.
Stories of success are grown from seeds of struggle.
Good players turn into great leaders when they see the seeds, and nurture them.
And before you know it?
You'll have a forrest of maturity all around you.
Those are the teams that "get it".
So the next time you are struggling with a "MAYBE" moment, "...it MAY BE that..." you need to reverse the process and teach from your pain. Or...you might need to ask someone else to do that with and for you.
"Once you reach it, this is how you teach from it".
That happens when we realize that our struggles can become our strength.
For those who have been successful, I want to encourage you to look over your shoulder. It's time to run back out there. You may have reached a successful moment, or exciting breakthrough. If you have, please allow me to share my congratulations with you! I hope you have the opportunity to celebrate those wins. You deserve to.
But can I ask a favor?
Before you do that?
Look over your shoulder.
Someone may need you to run with them.
"But what if I can't think of the right things to say?"
We'll talk about that tomorrow.
When we are looking at a "MAYBE" moment, how do we decide if it's worth our time to try it?
How do we free ourselves from the grip of indecision?
Let's brainstorm some different ways to weigh our options.
Those all seem like solid options, except for one thing...
They M.A.S.K. the problem of trying to make sense out of our "MAYBE".
Make. Ask. Sleep. Keep.
This approach can fall in the category of what I call "Best of Intentions". On the surface they seem to have value. And the fact is, they still might...but we have to do something else first to see if they'll make the cut. It's the opposite of the "Best of Intentions". It's being INTENTIONAL.
We need to "Begin With The End In Mind".
A number of years ago I was watching a documentary about the making of "Toy Story". I can't remember who actually said it, but it still sticks in my mind today. They were talking about the moment when they were showing the film for the first time. It wasn't a public showing. In fact, it was closed off to only senior leadership at PIXAR (the company producing the film), some investors, and a handful of "need to know" team members.
They settled in to watch the film with a mix of anticipation, excitement, and hopefulness that the countless hours of hard work poured into the making of this film would make it a resounding success.
By the time it was over, they realized something went very wrong.
The lovable character of Woody had been made out to be a bit of a bully.
It wasn't what they had imagined at all.
There was no doubt that the team would have to go back to the drawing board and figure out where they had gotten off course.
And there is the key.
We don't know if we are on one unless there is one.
The PIXAR team had one. And because they did they didn't have to start over completely, they simply had to look back at their path and pinpoint where it had gotten off course. Once they did they made the necessary adjustments that helped them reach the end they all wanted.
That is what it means to "Begin With The End In Mind".
When we know where we are going, we can set a course to get there.
Does it mean we'll be perfect? Nope. We talked about that yesterday.
But if we notice something doesn't seem right...if we've made a wrong turn along the way...we need to have a map that will help us get back on course.
If we don't?
We M.A.S.K. the problem with "Best of Intentions".
Now, I mentioned that those four options aren't inherently bad at all. The way we can be sure they help is to filter them through the lens of where our ultimate destination is. If they help us to intentionally stay on course, that's great. We can celebrate this wisdom found in them.
If we make a list of pros and cons, it needs to be based on if they will help/not help us stay on a specific course. If we ask someone else for their opinion, we can take it to heart if they are basing their response on our desired destination, not just their own inclination. If we are going to give it the overnight approach and sleep on it, any thoughts that come out of that rest have to pass the destination test as well. And if we are going to keep trying options to see what fits, we have to make sure we aren't wasting our time, energy, and resources with "MAYBE" solutions that don't stick to our vision.
A few years ago I had the honor of sitting down with a man I considered to be extremely talented, full of integrity, and a blessing to me early on in my writing journey. I was feeling led to write a book, and wanted to be sure I was doing it the best way that I could. Without knowing it, I was bumping into what it meant to "Begin With The End In Mind". And through an introduction from my brother, Matt, came a sit down with Holt Vaughn.
As his Twitter account says, Holt is a pastor, writer, CEO, musician, creative producer, and I'll add visionary. He asked me two questions during our time together that have never left me.
One...if I were the only person to read what I was writing, would I still write it?
Two...What is the salient point of the book? (the main point)
I answered yes to the first question without hesitation. I knew in my heart that I was feeling led to write it. And second...I promised him that at least four people would read it. We had a laugh when I told him I was pretty sure my wife, mother, and mother-in-law would all read it as well.
The second question was harder than the first. It was when I learned what it really meant to "Begin With The End In Mind." If I didn't know what point I was trying to make (ending), I would drift all over the place in my writing. Holt was generous with his time that day as he listened to me share my heart about the book. He probed my heart with questions, and shared feedback that would help me arrive at my salient point. And some time later, I had it.
"Comeback Bringing: How To Launch A Comeback That Will Leave A Legacy Of Impact."
And that is when the hard work began.
I had the destination plotted out, and my feet on the starting line. I knew the point I was trying to make, and was ready to start the journey to get there. Everything along the way had to pass through that filter.
Hours turned into days, weeks, months, and ultimately about a year later I had the manuscript written. Some days (and many very long nights) were easier than others. Sometimes my hands were typing so fast I was shocked not to see smoke rolling off the keyboard. Other times the cursor on the computer screen would seem to taunt me as if the writer's block I was wrestling with was going to bring the project to a screeching halt.
It was the destination that kept me moving forward.
I had notes...pros and cons if you will. Sticky notes full of potential chapter titles. I had advice from others. None more popular than what I should name the book. I had been told I should change the title by family, and even my editors. But I didn't waiver, because I knew it was perfect based on where the book was headed. They weren't doing anything wrong. It was just that there wasn't any way they could climb inside my heart to see everything through the lens...in it's totality...that I could. And when it was done? No one second guessed it. I also had plenty of sleep-filled and sleepless nights. After each one, I'd filter any additional thoughts through my salient point. If they made it, they stayed on the wall. If they didn't, they hit the cutting room floor. And last but not least, I kept writing, editing, and rewriting...thinking constantly about the salient point I was making. I repeated that process over and over until it was finished. And when it was done, I was confident I had done everything I could to express my heart to the best of my ability...and was content at whatever came from it because I had arrived at my destination intentionally.
I don't know what "MAYBE" moment you are wrestling with right now, but I hope this process helps you decide if it is worth your time to try it. I can't tell you if you should go for it, or shut it down...go all-in on this "MAYBE", or walk away because it's an unwanted detour on your journey.
I do know you have a calling on your life.
And I do know that if you "Begin With The End In Mind"...
"...It MAY BE that..." you'll arrive at your destination before you know it.
And once you do?
Something very cool is about to happen.
It's what we will talk about tomorrow...
"Once your reach it, this is how you can teach from it".
Part of me wishes it was tomorrow already!