9-11 was a pivotal point in the life of SimVentions. I’ll never forget the day. I was in Orlando leading a Simulation forum with just over fifty people in the room. The conference chair unexpectedly poked her head in the middle of my session, quietly made her way to me with a clear look of concern.
“Paul. Sorry to interrupt, but the World Trade Center just was hit by a plane, and so was the Pentagon. They believe it was terrorist attack. And they think there are terrorists still in the air.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. “Terrorist attack.” I pondered. Then she added, “We fear that there are still registered attendees flying to this workshop, who may be on some of those planes.”
When she shared that, my heart stopped.
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
– Romans 8:28
Here’s what I’ve learned. The disappointments, the failures, the struggles, the challenges. They are all God needs to make an impact. The irony is that God works best with broken things. The best stories in life come through trials and tribulations. Perseverance is intended for the underdog. Don’t give up!
In life, the challenge is often the opportunity. When it seems that things are messed up, or have not gone right, don’t dismiss what God can do. Like lemon turned to lemonade. He turns messes into messages. All that He asks is for you to be open to the potential and for Him to use your story.
Here's are three questions to get you back on your feet:
What's My Story?
Take time to think of how God has redeemed a situation in your life. What are the trials and tribulations that He can...
Greatest of All Time
That's an accolade that doesn't suffer from humility, does it? How can one be humble and a GOAT? Is it even possible?
If you look back at the GOATs of life, there are a few who you could lay claim as both GOAT and humble: Think Mother Theresa, Jesus ,Chadwick Boseman, and Fred Rogers to name a few. The question is, how did they pull it off?
It seems it can only pulled off if we are willing to go through the full progression -- all the phases - of leadership.
As I started thinking about those phases, and an interesting analogy came to life:
Mountain Top Experiences
If you hadn't noticed, mountain top experiences never start on top of the mountain. It starts in the valley -- from a state of humility. There is a whole progression of phases that happen that makes those experiences the Great of All Time. If those phases are what create GOAT experiences, then maybe there are some parallel aspects to what...
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”
— T. S. Eliot
We just launched a new three part series on Resilience on the Breaking Average Podcast. Have you seen it? The first episode aired recently centers on the concept of Acknowledging the Threats. The next episodes take it even further. This is such a powerful principle. Resilience is a secret untapped strength each of us have, we often just don't know it.
There's an old line from the legendary Japanese Military Strategist that sets the table.
Know thyself, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
What he's saying is spot on. You can't be yourself and face your challenges until you know yourself. That's where it starts. But that's not enough. He's also saying you can't face the enemy and defeat the enemy without knowing the enemy. Both are vital.
There are some battles...
“If you were going to do it again, rebuild from scratch, what would you do different?”
That question was asked of me a few years ago -- and then resurfaced again in the midst of COVID-19. The original questions was centered on the business that I had a part in launching over a decade earlier. The follow on question asked recently was centered on how to recover after dumpster fire year. Often, when someone asks a business building question, my mind races back to the beginning. But COVID adds a whole knew wrinkle.
The first few years we passionately set up shop with great expectations, only to be frequently disappointed. The big contracts that we were fishing for, just weren’t biting. Still, we ventured out, explored, tried to turn over each stone of opportunity we could, but – on the big ones – we failed again and again. For three years it seemed we were perpetually rebuilding ourselves.
Rather than giving up, which...
Words matter. Words can either breath life, or tear us down. One of the more powerful words ever spoken was an excerpt from a Teddy Roosevelt speech titled Citizenship in a Republic that he gave in Paris, France in April 1910.
Perhaps you are familiar with it. Even if it is, I encourage you to read it again as if it’s the first time.
"It is not the critic who counts;
it’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring...
A few years before the pandemic, I took a trip to London. When I arrived at Heathrow Airport, I noticed a peculiar warning sign over the moving walk way that caught my attention. It simply said, "Face direction of travel."
Immediately I considered the wisdom in its message. Like a moving walking way, life is always progressing forward. For you and me, to get to where we are want to go, we have to face the direction of travel. If we don't, we might not see what's coming. We might bump into something unexpected, or we might miss something critical and life changing. We might get derailed.
To put this into context, let me share a story. Years ago I was skiing in West Virginia as a chaperone on a youth group trip. In the middle of the day I was on a green slope, traveling as fast as I could. Now, I've skied most of my life. Green runs to me are not a challenge, and this had been no...
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;– 1 Corinthians 16:13
Be courageous; Be strong.
Life throws at us a lot of curve balls. A single day can be overwhelming. Even exhausting. Yet God reminds us to stay diligent in our faith and to take courage. He wants you to know that you are resilient. He wants you think of yourself as a warrior, prepared for battle. You are firm in your faith. You are courageous. You are strong.
Take a moment to think how you have endured to this point. What are the trials and tribulations that you have overcome? Now think about how adversity has made you stronger. What is the growth you’ve experienced? Finally, identify one thing will you do this year to stand firm in the faith.
My Trials and Tribulations:
One Thing I Will Do Today: