My all-time favorite passage in the Bible is 1 King 3:3-15. These verses of scripture take place after King Solomon has been placed on the throne in the city of his father, David. God appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God tells him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” In verse seven, Solomon replied by saying “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (NIV pg. 185) Because Solomon asked God to bless him with the gift of wisdom and discernment, God blessed Solomon with not only what he asked for, but also with riches and wealth as well. This week we will discuss the power of discernment, intuition, and wisdom in critical times, and how it plays a vital role in your success.
Whether it be in the field of athletics like me or in the corporate world, making good sound decisions will always be a primary part of experiencing success. Not everyone has been gifted with the ability to make good decisions. It is indeed a skill that you must learn if you are serious about your profession, and care to take your craft to the next level. As great and mighty as King Solomon was, even he had to ask to be blessed with such a gift. All great leaders, successful men and women at some point in time had to develop a level of wisdom and discernment that was necessary to accomplish the things that they were able to achieve.
Demonstrating a great deal of wisdom doesn’t necessarily mean that you know everything. In my opinion, the wisest thing you can do is to admit that you don’t know everything. What do you do then, when you are faced with a situation where you don’t have the understanding you need? Seek someone that may be more knowledgeable than you in that area should be your response. As we reflect back on the passage of King Solomon, we can see that he recognized his own weakness. The scripture explains that he was just a child, but he demonstrated wisdom by identifying his lack of experience, and seeking a higher a power for assistance. Turns out that his higher power was God, but the example still illustrates that even the most esteemed individuals in life are vulnerable to ignorance at some point on the route to success. We shouldn’t use that as an excuse for failure, but a time to exercise wisdom.
To make sound decisions, you have to do research and collect information to assist in your decision making process, regardless of topic. Based on the information you collect, you are able to formulate an organized, well thought out plan that you can execute. But not all decisions are made that way. Some of the most important, critical decisions that you make will come from your natural intuition. Your own intuition plays a vital role in your decision making, and going with your gut or instincts can lead you to much more favorable results. I offer two separate illustrations, one that represent me going with my gut, the other where I chose not to trust my instincts.
The coaching job I had prior to the one I currently hold was with a high school team in 2010. I thoroughly enjoyed the staff that worked with me, and we all got along for the most part. I was there for two seasons; the first season we did really well finishing up 8-2. During the second season, we weren’t nearly as talented, and didn’t win as many games. The team wasn’t as organized as the year before, and the leadership was inconsistent, especially considering how my former head coach handled the staff and the players. Because we were losing, the head coach figured that we as a coaching staff were doing something wrong and he placed the blame on us. I don’t run from shortcomings when I’m at fault, but on this one I couldn’t disagree more. I didn’t like what I saw nor did I like what was heard on a consistent basis, and all signs pointed to me not coming back the next year and I didn’t. I chose to work on finishing up my master’s degree in professional counseling, knowing I would only entertain coaching again if it was in the college ranks. Early in 2012 I was hired at my current job, and that same head coach was asked to step down, and another coach was brought in to take his place. In this instance, trusting my instincts worked very well, but let me explain what happened when I ignored my instincts.
In 2009 I was teaching and working with special education students. I didn’t like the job at all. The children were alright to work with at times, but administration made the job harder than what it really was. The summer before my last year my intuition told me to find a new job. I chose to ignore what my gut told me to do, and that last year turned out to be the worse year of my professional career. My work load was tripled and it seemed like I was given the worst class in the whole building! An incident involving two of my students got me into quite a bit of trouble; I was demoted and removed from my classroom. I can’t blame anyone but myself in that situation because I ignored what my intuition. I ended up suffering from more frustration than if I had just found another job to begin with.
Discernment, wisdom, and intuition are all characteristics that work hand in hand. I’ve learned in my experience that you develop these skills when you take time to listen to what your heart and your mind are telling you. In other words, trust your gut. Many times when you randomly decide to execute a plan it seems to never work out in your favor. Important decisions take careful consideration and time, but once you make a decision you must roll with it and be prepared for the results. You should aim for the ability to make a decision where you can look at yourself in the mirror and know that you made a decision in the best interest of everyone involved, and you are able to live with it. If you have to question yourself about why you are doing something, it’s most likely not the best decision. Always remember you don’t have to know the answers to your problems; knowing where to get the answers is where wisdom lies.
Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry