Three TENTs That Champions Live In to Get On and Keep On the Road Less Traveled!

“You’re a high stepper, and I’m not. So, it’s easy for you to do this power word thing, and the proclamation stuff, and all those goals…”

For a moment, I wasn’t sure whether to jack smack him or laugh.

I was working with two very difficult people in my IOP (intense outpatient program).

I knew the time was getting short, and I was once again compelling them to dig in and embrace the healing, restoration, and purpose that would carry them forward when they left IOP in a very short period of time. 

I chose to laugh, and we began our ‘come to Jesus’ talk.

I began slowly, with a calm voice. But he knew by the second word that he would do well to listen intently.

“You know … you arrived here, thinking you were too special for this program. You’ve resisted the entire time. You’ve been given very clear direction, and you do your own thing, on your own time, in your own way. How has that worked for you so far in your life?”

I had his attention. I continued firm and a bit stern.

“You know, you’re not being held hostage here. You may leave at any time you would like. And according to statistics and your diagnosis, if you go AWOL, you will leave here and drink yourself to death. With no care or concern about your family, your gifts, your talents, or your purpose.”

If you know me at all, you’re aware I am one who errs on the side of compassion and understanding. But at this moment, I was insistent, consistent, and persistent.

“You like to strut around here and talk about everything you know, and have learned, like you’re the king of the data mill. Do you know where that knowledge will get you? NOWHERE! Unless … you dig in, take it to heart, and put it into action.”

I paused, but it was clear he was reticent to speak.

And honestly, I was on a roll.

“My ability to have goals, have a power word that pumps me up daily to fulfill my purpose, (and put up with your nonsense), and my power proclamation have nothing to do with me being a high stepper.”

For the first time I had his full attention. I think.

“As a matter fact, me being a high stepper is the result of all of the things that I do on a daily basis…to put research and growth opportunities in to practice.”

I make it a habit to never get intense, but I was amping up as I kept on.

“You, on the other hand, have your cell phone out when you’re not supposed to. You take naps when you’ve been asked not to … and given assignments that you do half-cocked. And you are in front of the television when you have every opportunity to put things into practice.”

I paused, I smiled, and I said to him, “BUT…it’s not too late. But you’ve got to be willing to live in a TENT!”

No matter where you are in life, it’s not too late for you either. But I must ask you the same question, “are you willing to live in a TENT?”

I thought that would get your attention just as it got my client’s.

Actually, there are three TENTs you must live in if you’d like to find the life of a Champion on the road less traveled, headed for abundant life.




The truth is, no one can become their best or have a successful, fulfilled life if they don’t live in these three tents. 

(Note…tracing the history of tents and their use…they were temporary places mainly used by people looking for their place in the world. Who lived their adventures traversing the roads less traveled. Think of Abraham who heard a call, left the ‘safe’ and the familiar, to follow the faith of his heart. Who became the father and founder of the world’s 3 major religions. And along his road less traveled he and his, lived in ‘physical’ tents, but remained living out in the kind of ‘TENTs’ Champions live in and live from on the road less traveled. Like Abraham of old, our physical tents look much different, but our TENTs of faith represent the same attitudes and resolve that keep desire fresh. That keep us moving forward for just one next step…keep pitching these tents!   

InsisTENT … ConsisTENT … PersisTENT)

I could see that my client was relieved with having to look at three words, instead of packing up and living out in a tent. Particularly since we know that because our facility is near the nature preserve, we have bobcats and coyotes on our property almost every night.

Hopefully you’ll join me on this journey of adopting all 3 TENTs. 

They’re not nearly as foreboding as bobcats and coyotes!

1. You must be insisTENT… 

(Word Origin…What’s the root word for insistent? Insistent shares a root with the verb insist: the Latin word insistere, which means “persist, dwell upon, stand upon.” If you’re insistent, you won’t take “no” for an answer.)

What does insistent mean?

  • Perseverant
  • Unwilling to back down
  • Unwilling to let go of something important
  • Firmly stating that something must be done
  • Setting a standard that must be met, regardless of excuses

In his list of complaints about IOP were statements about how insistent I was about things.

I responded, “If you were only half as insistent about your recovery, and about your healing, as I was about the guidelines that would get you there, you would have already graduated!”

I continued, “This is not just another program that gets paid the same whether you leave helped or not…I’m invested in your future, in your family, in you becoming a Champion! I see the BEST in you…and I will remain insistent until you become that! And instead of complaining about what it takes, I would suggest you consider gratitude!”

I gave them the framework in group as to why Champions live in the “TENT” of being “insistent.”

They know that anything less leaves them at risk of compromising becoming everything they were created to be. That matters to Champions. And it keeps them on the road less traveled, always stepping into higher levels of abundant living.

“You’ve got to insist on your success, resist every obstacle and persist in times of difficulty and you will get there.” 
― Israelmore Ayivor, Shaping the Dream

The real key is that you must be insistent on the RIGHT things. You see, my client was insistent on having things HIS way. However, he was not willing to look at the results of being insistent on his way.

Champions consult science, ancient wisdom, and mentors on what the RIGHT thing to be insistent on is. For them. Because it’s different for everyone.

I learned as a therapist many years ago to consult with science, other therapists experiencing GREAT results in their businesses, and with mentors to make sure my practices fit with not only the results I hoped for, but to be an agent of change so that my clients would become the very best version of themselves in the process.

“One of the best paradoxes of leadership is a leader’s need to be both stubborn and open-minded. A leader must insist on sticking to the vision and stay on course to the destination. But he must be open-minded during the process.” Simon Sinek

I asked my objecting client, “Where has being insistent with ‘what you want’…with what you default to gotten you in your life?”

Because he was still in righteous indignation at the moment, his response was, “Well, it landed me here…” as if he was in solitary confinement, with only bread and ketchup to eat, being mentored to step into a lesser-loser-life.

Once again, I suggested gratitude.

To his credit, I told him to give it some thought, as would I, and we could decide the next day whether to continue his process or not.

He returned with, “What would it mean if I did really ‘dig in’…I mean what would that look like?”

He asked almost like an innocent child. I assumed from his history that I knew of, and his current situation in life that he’d been so self-absorbed up to this point, that he truly didn’t know. And asking was his way of beginning a baby step towards surrender.

I honored it as that and said, “I’m glad you asked, because that’ll open the door to speak to you about the next ‘TENT’.”

He remained quiet and sullen.

“But first, I would like to invite you to become INSISTENT on following the guidelines. It may not feel good, but I think it has the potential to get you where you say you’d like to go.”

I pulled out his goals and continued.

“You said you wanted to…

  • Get sober and stay sober
  • Heal your relationship with your wife
  • Heal your relationship with your adult children
  • Work on your trauma and resurrect the Champion within
  • Live an abundant life of purpose, using your gifts and talents.”

“If those are still your goals, being insistent on following the guidelines as a standard set to get there (regardless of your childish desires or excuses) must be non negotiable!”

Succinctly, but firmly, he responded, “OK…then I’m all in!”

What guidelines and choices do you need to be INSISTENT on following and/or doing to insure you get to where you want to go? Regardless of what it is or where it is, I’m certain that it will lead you to the life of abundance we all desire.

2. You must be consisTENT. 

(Origin…Where did the word consistency originate? In the 1590’s “firmness of matter,” from Medieval Latin consistentia literally “a standing together, to stand firm, take a standing position, stop, halt).

What is consistency?

  • Conformity in action
  • Steady continuity
  • An unnegotiable habit
  • Steady conformity to character and beliefs
  • Reliability of successive actions or results

“Give me some credit here. Do you see consistency in anything I’m doing,” My client pleaded?

Because I always look for the positives, and for something to be grateful for, I was able to name a few things. “You’re consistent in showing up for your trauma work, and I really appreciate that.”

I continued.

“You show consistency in a few other things. But they’re not the right things for you. You consistently argue, you consistently resist, you consistently defend. That slows down your progress too.”

“I’m not sure exactly what I need to be consistent in.”

Once again, the comment was made with a sincere pleading look in his expression. I shared with him what I believe begins powerful consistency in all champions.

I carefully outlined these things to the whole group.

  • Be consistent in your state. Show up in a powerful state to every group, every training, every trauma resolution group.
  • Be fully present in the moment. Consistently. Your focus and attention fully in and on the moment.
  • Be consistently ‘all in’. Do all your assignments. Not just a few words in the blanks. Take time and do some reflecting. Dig deep! 

The same is true for all of us hoping to become consistent in all areas of our lives like champions.

  • Be consistent in your state.
  • Be consistently present and focused.
  • Be consistently all in.

Although he’d been in multiple groups and trainings about managing our state, we reviewed it again. If you’re not familiar with managing your state, you can click this link to learn more.

“What if I don’t know how to stay present and be focused?” I knew that was a struggle for him.

“You could start with a few baby steps. Clear the area you’re in. Organize your handouts so that only the one you are working on is showing. Leave your cell phone on the charger as you are supposed to. When you’re using your computer for assignments, block all notifications. Keep your posture in a position that shows that you’re ready to learn, instead of being slouched back almost like your chair was recliner.”

Of course, there was a lot of rolling of the eyes as I was going through these things.  As is the case with most of us, we’re not aware that we set up our lives, and our environment to cater to distractions.

“If you really want this, you can do it.

You can heal.

You can break your unhealthy patterns.

You can stay sober.

And you can be admitted into the family program,

where you’ll see miracles in your family.”

He nodded in sincerity, because I knew he was quite hopeful to see some amazing things happen in his family.  

Being consistent means doing what you need to do to grow, to heal, to reach your goals, to step onto the road less traveled, nearing abundant life with each step.

No negotiation.

No excuses.

Nothing but consistency.

There are great payoffs to being consistent.

Research has shown many benefits of consistency both in business and in person of life.

  • Secures and builds your reputation
  • Boosts personal growth
  • Builds trust
  • Increases self-confidence
  • Ignites momentum
  • Establishes loyalty
  • Improves health
  • Demonstrates strong character
  • Creates a pattern of steady dopamine release

Choose a few things today…that if you did them consistently, they’d create growth, healing, progress towards your goals, and affect your relationships positively.

If you have uncertainty as to what those things might be, find a mentor. Someone you admire and respect. And get some input on at least 3 ways you can be consistent. 

It will bring great improvement to your life and put you further down the road less traveled.

3. You must be persisTENT. 

(Origin…Shakespeare used…persistive…)

What does being persistent mean?

  • Refusing to relent
  • Moving forward steadily in the face of opposition
  • Refusing to give up or let go

“I already know you’re going to say that I don’t have any of that,” My client, confessed, hoping that doing so would let him off the hook!

I had to snicker just a bit.

“Once again, you have the skill of persistency down to a fine art. However, your persistency is toward things that block and impede your progress, your healing, not to mention moving into the family program,” I commented.

Once again, he asked what that meant. Instead of answering, I invited him to consider the answer.

I asked, “How and what do you move forward on?

Even when there’s opposition?”

I already knew he’d see me as the opposition, and he didn’t let me down.

“Conveniently forgetting that I’m not supposed to have my cell phone and doing it anyway, and getting in trouble with you?” He asked with a grin. I nodded and invited him to continue.

“Taking naps when I’ve been asked not to?”

I nodded with another grin.

He continued to hang himself with the rope I’d provided.

“I’m sure you’re going to say defending myself, and not taking responsibility for things is one of my top talents and persistent go-to’s.”

Enjoying the moment, I announced the verdict, “Guilty as charged!”

In seriousness, he asked, “You know my history. Why did my history set me up for this? And what do I need to do about it?”

I began, “Persistence with all the wrong things was set in motion early on. Your mother was persistently sour, surly, and angry. She refused to lay it down. And when confronted with it, she played the victim with her tears.”

He nodded with understanding.

“Your dad was persistent to things that made him look like a hero. When he was really just a shriveled-up Oz, who’d stab his daughter with a fork at the dinner table,” He nodded with some sadness.

“The only modeling you had for persistency was pushing your way through in all the wrong ways, with all the wrong things.”

 I continued.

“Because you were raised as an orphan with parents, which sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s the truth about your life…you emerged with no real skills or model for a healthy productive life. You had to figure everything out on your own.”

“And because you were an orphan, you figured out what worked for you, with no consideration for others. Then because being persistent about all the wrong things was installed on your hard drive, you carried that pattern into your adult life.”

“You’ve been persistent with drinking. After a DUI, broken ribs from falling while drunk, and alienating and isolating from loved ones, you remained persistent with drinking. Am I correct?”

He nodded with appropriate healthy shame.

“If you’d be persistent to one right thing, right now…I promise it will be a defining moment of your life!”

Clearly, I had his attention. He leaned in, almost longing for the answer.

“Be persistent in preparing the letter that you need to read to your adult children at the beginning of your family program. When you don’t feel like facing it, do it anyway. When you’d rather watch TV, turn it off for the sake of your family. Live in the persisTENT for one week!”

I let it sink in and went on.

“Yes, there are some obstacles.  Your team partner distracts you and you must take care of him sometimes. We’ve had the conversation many times about reframing it. This is an opportunity for serving, yet you persevere in complaining about it.”

“You stop me as I am between groups and clients to register your complaints. You’re persistent in that.  Yes, there’s an obstacle. But will you be so committed, and so determined, to finally not self-sabotage this defining moment in your life?”

“Will you be focused, insistent, consistent, and persistent in putting this letter together? To be straightforward and honest for once in your selfish life? And lay down your pride and preferences for an opportunity of a genuine connection? Can you be that persistent?”

Although I’m certain he wanted to reconnect in a genuine and honest way with his family, it would require a giant step for him.

Research has revealed many benefits to persistence. 

  • Living with more purpose.
  • Increased motivation that builds on itself.
  • Increased flexibility.
  • Heightened ability to adjust to change.
  • Ongoing and continuous growth in personal life, professional life, and relationships.

What goals, beliefs, and practices in your life do you need to be persistent to? Or as Shakespeare put it-what do need to be ‘persistive’ in and of!

In what areas are you persistent that stunt or impede your growth? (Like addictions, whether chemical or process, defensiveness, arguing, etc.?)

How can you turn those around by being consisTENT to the right things?

Start your journey of being persistent to the right things today!


Are you living in the 3 tents that keep champions on the road less traveled, achieving higher and higher levels of abundant life?




Not easy, but doable.

My client had a few days of being insistent on the right things, consistent on the right things, and persistent in the right things.

He was able to have his first meeting with his adult children.

He had been able to truly dig in and focus on the letter. Taking responsibility for his alcohol use disorder, telling the truth about who he’d been, and acknowledging how he’d hurt those he loved.

Just a few days ago, he said to me, “This was a pivotal moment in my life.”

I affirmed his act of courage, and the way he wrote and delivered the message.

I encouraged him to continue with the 3 tents that all Champions live in.




What about you? Are you ready and willing to embark on the road less traveled, and live in these luxury tents with other champions?

 I believe you are, and I hope to see you in the TENTs!