We love outcomes! Well, let me rephrase – we love positive outcomes. Why? Because they suggest that we ourselves have been living in a positive manner.
But is this true?
Positive outcomes can certainly suggest that we are living in a positive and productive way, but then there is always the opposite side of the equation, which is, what are we basing the success on?
Move into the world of basketball with me for a moment.
I have been playing basketball since grade 4. I don’t even know what age that would be but I’m 31 now so let’s agree that I’ve been playing for a long time. I’ve also had the privilege of playing at the highest level in Canada which is the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport). Over those many years of competing and coaching one thing became abundantly clear as the level of difficulty progressed – the standard of success moved away from defeating your opponent to competing to win and executing the game plan with efficiency. It was always about winning because if you compete you should be seeking excellence and winning is a clear identifier of that pursuit. However, I learned that you can compete to win and still not succeed.
This is easily one of the most important life lessons that sport taught has taught me. If you want to live out your best life – the one that you have been put here to live – then you do not go out to compare yourself to others. The only way to live a life that fulfils your personal, unique, purpose is to go out and live out your convictions with zeal.
I had the privilege of being coached by a man by the name of Dale Olson and he had played CIS basketball for a legendary Canadian coach named Ken Shields. Coach Shields took his program to seven straight national championship titles and won coach of the year 4 times. Needless to say, my coach, Dale Olson, knew a few things about the game because of his time under coach Shields.
My senior year of high school basketball was wildly successful and I remember one game that year at Clarence Fulton Secondary in Vernon, BC. We had absolutely destroyed our city rival in their own gym and the players, myself included, were very very pleased with our performance. We were high on ourselves and talking quite a bit of smack in the locker room about how bad the other team was and how great we played. Now I know what you’re thinking – this isn’t going to end well.
You’re right. Coach came in and congratulated us on the win – setting us up for the heavy fall back towards humility – and then he said something to the effect of “way to go, you just beat a terrible basketball team.” Insert confused and befuddled faces here…
Us players were so conditioned to compete to beat the opponent that in that moment we had no idea what coach meant. And to be honest I am not sure I really understood it until we began competing against better teams later in that season. But coach Olson knew. Coach Olson understood that greatness and success are not measured based on the calibre of your competitor and your capacity to beat them – greatness and success is measured based on the capacity that you have been gifted with and your ability to maximise those giftings to reflect the respect you have for your opportunity to share them with the world.
I like to call this living out your purpose and living in your authentic power.
Coach didn’t actually care too much if we won or lost the game. He cared about whether or not we were maximising our opportunity to share our giftings with the world around us. Now, I don’t know what my coach believes in terms of spirituality but I believe that he was asking us to share the love of God with those around us by maximising our opportunity.
So, the question then became “did we go out and maximise our opportunity to share of giftings with the world that night?” I’ll have to admit that I am uncertain. This revelation didn’t come to me until a couple of years ago. I don’t remember the night vividly enough to say if our performance reflected our best effort. What I do know is that we won that game and that the win is not what mattered. What mattered was that talk that coach gave in that smelly, grimy, and dark locker room after the game.
It isn’t moments of success or failure that define our lives. It is the moments that come afterwards that do the hard work of refining the mind, body, and spirit. Those times in which the lessons seep into our bones and become a part of our essence. And then those lessons, once taken root, show up in times of importance. Those moments when we are with our backs against the walls and needing to make a decision that could have a dramatic effect on our future.
Should I drink that beer and then drive home?
Should I have sex with that person cause it’s going to feel good?
Should I choose to go to the party school instead of the academic school in the middle of nowhere Manitoba?
Should I call my girlfriend/boyfriend and tell them I hate them and never want to talk to them again because I chose to interpret their emoji a certain way based on my insecurities?
The list is endless.
And it is in those moments where we become most thankful for the lessons that life taught us, in both the good and bad outcomes, about maximising our potential and opportunities. Will I choose to live out my purpose and take command of my authentic power? Or will I take the easy road and do what I want because it is going to feel “good” in this moment?
Today, the question that I pray I would continually ask myself is this:
What is the next Right thing to do?
It takes the easy answer out of the equation. It forces you to play the long game rather than the short game in life. I’ve found that the short game only brings on delayed pain and the long game always brings forth delayed gratification. You tell me what’s more enticing – if you’re willing to do the right thing in every moment.
Why do I tell you this story and share all of this? It’s simple and it is nothing new coming out of my mouth, or mind, or fingers, how even you want to look at it.
Life is unpredictable and you can’t control it so please do make yourself miserable trying, but you can take ownership for how you respond to the uncertainty of life. In every scenario, both positive or negative – win or lose, will you have the strength of character to choose a life that represents your unique purpose and allows you to live out of authentic power? It doesn’t take as much as you might think it does. But it will require that you spend time refining your habits and strengthening your mindset because what you do often comes out of what you think in the subconscious mind. So just like my jump shot that took years to refine your mindset will also take time, energy and focus.
If you are feeling hesitant to say YES to that question it means your fearful of your own greatness. It’s okay. I’ve been there and end up there from time to time even today. That’s normal, but it doesn’t have to define you.
Fear is not real. It is actually calling you toward that scary thing so you can overcome it and become stronger. So, be willing to take a risk. Your worth it! Don’t let anyone tell you differently. You were created for something incredible but it is up to you to step toward it with confidence knowing that God has your back and only wants you to succeed.
Be blessed today. Be authentically strong!
Much love, Jason
**If you are struggling with fear and anxiety about your life and you future please go to the contact page on this website and send me a message. I want to see you grow into the person you have been created to be and living in fear has no place in your life. I know it might be hard but know that I have been there. I understand the terror of uncertainty, but this one step has the capacity to change your life in an instant. One step towards fear takes away a bit of its power over you. Be strong. Take the step. Excited to speak with you, Jason.