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Category Archives: Inspiration and Motivation

Discernment, Intuition, and Wisdom: Three Biblical Character Qualities for Success

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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. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 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

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No Pain No Gain: Your Pain is Worth your Progress

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I tend to draw inspiration from wherever I can find it.   A TV commercial, an interview on the radio, or even side conversation in a restaurant can serve as an inspiration.  I am also often inspired through music.  This week’s blog was influenced by an old school, oldie but goodie “No Pain No Gain” by Betty Wright.  As the song concludes she sings a line that I find very profound; she says “In order to gain something, you got to give something. In order to be something, you got to go through something”.  Although Ms. Betty Wright was speaking of pain in terms of a relationship, it still served as a moment of reflection for me.

Every successful person goes through incredible tough times and pain on their journey to become successful.  It’s an inevitable part of life. But there is true value in the experiences that cause us the greatest amount of pain and frustration. I’ve encountered my fair share of dark days in my quest to accomplish goals and dreams.  Not everything works out in your favor.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your goals, but sometimes the process requires you to suffer some uncomfortable circumstances to get to where you desire to be in life.  Today’s blog will explore the topic “Your Pain is worth your Progress.”  Hopefully by the end you will be able to find ways to value the struggles you face on the journey to accomplish your ultimate dreams.

As a former football player I used to hate losing with a passion.  Losing hurts.  There is an invisible black cloud that seems to hang over you with every loss.  The emotional anguish that one experiences in suffering a loss can be tough to handle, and it can take a major toll on your confidence.  But losing plays a major role in your eventual success.  You have to experience loss in order to learn how to win. Losing, as tough as it may seem helps you grow as an individual.  It teaches you the ultimate lesson in humility and it makes you appreciate and cherish the wins as they come.

There are very good lessons to learn while experiencing the pain of tough times.  As a player myself I had to learn how to compete on a high level, how to train to outlast my competition, and learn who I was as a player.  I had to learn how to practice with intensity and enthusiasm, how to follow directions, and how to become a leader.   There was so much that only experience could teach me and being taught those lessons were some of the toughest of times.  Through my growing pains I developed a drive, a focus, and relentlessness that would fuel me to not only to be better than my competition, but to dominate them.  Losing has its ways of changing you; you can either except it, or learn from it and do something about it.  I chose the latter.

Pain, without a doubt, must be part of your process for future success. Not only should you expect some sort of difficulty on your journey to achieve the impossible, but you should welcome it as well, for without pain there is no process, without the process there isn’t growth, and without growth there is no success.  But you must be willing to practice resilience and mental tenacity to withstand the battles of defeat. In order to find true value in your pain you must understand that pain is temporary, but only if faith and strength are permanent.  Only persistence and perseverance to get through each day will be rewarded.  Don’t be a slave to your tough times.  Get up and fight back.  Make a conscious effort to learn something from the challenging times.  There are promising days ahead. I am a product of my very words.  I am nowhere I would like to be in life yet, but I understand that there are tougher and more hurtful experiences just ahead.  But my attitude and my mindset won’t waver one bit.  All I have to do is forge ahead and let the process lead me to my desired destination.  Don’t give up or give in.  Your pain during your journey to the top isn’t meant to discourage you, but meant to only prepare you for the greatest days of your life.

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry

1 Peter 4:10

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1 Peter 4:10: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

I’ve never had the experience of being locked away in a jail cell before, but I’m sure it’s not a very good feeling.  I love my freedom and have always protected it at all costs.  If I had to guess what the experience would feel like, I would have to say that it is a very lonely place filled with lots of dark emotions. It’s you against the world, and every man for himself. I would also guess that hope runs at an all-time low.  But there is another form of imprisonment that very few people discuss. I call it the prisoner within, and that is when we convince ourselves that we can’t get ahead in life, and that we are stuck where we are.

Thoughts have power. Your thoughts can either build you up or kill your chances of growth and success.  We emotionally and spiritually imprison ourselves with the thoughts we live by.  Thoughts become our reality.  If we tell ourselves that we can’t accomplish something, then that is our reality.  If we tell ourselves that great things can’t happen to us, then the reality is that great things will never happen to us.  Your predominant thoughts have power over your circumstances. I know this first hand because I suffered from a case of self-imprisonment myself. I told myself I was trapped working a job that was not only tough to perform, but that also showed no signs of getting any easier.  Because I told myself this, my attitude enforced my reality.  I felt like I had very few options, and nowhere else to go.

Your real friends always have a vested interest in your battles and struggles in life. I had a really good friend share with me something that will probably serve to be the best advice that I have ever received, and in today’s blog I will share that same message with you. She talked to me and made me realize that everything I needed to change my situation was already in my possession; that God had already given me many talents. When I was feeling trapped, I gave away my power willingly and without an ounce of a fight.  I gave away my power to be creative, to be resourceful, and most importantly the power to dream and to dream big.

Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for my current job.  I am the youngest defensive coordinator at a great junior college  that plays in a tough and competitive  junior college football conference.  I have coached against some of the countries most talented football players, and I have experienced a good amount of success. I understand most people might say I should be satisfied and content with where I am now, and continue to enjoy my success here. But if you know me, you know I’m always thinking well in advance about the next step in my career, and how I will get there.

The higher you climb in your profession you must understand that employers hire the best qualified candidates for the job. In my profession however, they hire the candidate with the best reputation for results.  In my situation I knew I hadn’t established a strong enough reputation for my abilities, or gained a great deal of respect from the coaches that I wanted to take notice of me. I started thinking of how could I gain the recognition necessary for other doors to be opened.

I thought about how I have a degree in Communications Studies with a concentration in Television Broadcast, so speaking in front of crowds doesn’t intimidate me. I also taught for three years serving special education students, and enjoyed having the opportunity to positively influence them.  I have completed a good portion of my graduate courses in professional counseling and have some experience in that field. And I must admit that I am a great football coach.

I have an assortment of talents, but it’s my responsibility to use them.  I can’t expect new opportunities to come my way if haven’t fully explored the ones that I already possess.  With all that in mind, I organized a plan that would allow me to use my natural gifts to my advantage. I recognized that all of my gifts are geared towards one particular mission, and that’s to inspire and motivate others.  I believe it is my life’s mission to get others to maximize their God given potential.  For many years football was the only thing that I cared about, but God is helping me understand that I must explore my other talents, because they may lead to the doors that I desire to be opened.

Let’s take for instance the Get in the Huddle blog that I post each week.  The majority of the time I never get the chance to see who views my material on a weekly basis, but I’m almost confident that someone one day will read my post, and that will lead to another avenues for me to help more people reach their maximum potential. I also hope that my new video series will help open other opportunities as well, so be on the lookout for Get in the Huddle video series coming in November 2013.

Your own resourcefulness and creativity at times could be your only saving grace.  Don’t be afraid to channel you own abilities and put them to good use. We all want others to take notice of the super great things that we are doing, but you have to ask yourself, do people have a reason to stop doing what they are doing a take notice of your accomplishments?  If you answered no, then you have work to do.  I know I do.  I’m not any more special than the next person suffering from a self- imprisoned mindset.  You have the same ability and power to set yourself free from whatever lie that you are letting run your life.  But you have to make the choice to exercise your powers.  Your strengths are your biggest asset.  Whether it’s making people laugh, caring for the elderly, or just being someone that can and will listen to those you come in contact with, everyone has a gift, and as simple as it may be, you have power in that gift. Take the time to set yourself free.  Exercise your power.  Most of the time the power to be creative will lead you to the answer on how to solve your problems.  You have a gift, if not many.  Why not show the world what they are?

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry