(Countless people have come to see me, most with a bit of a nervous, skeptical, doubting kind of attitude. There’s no matter-of-fact soul scan or blood test for a broken heart, where after looking at all the results we can point and say… “Look! There’s the problem!”
I get that.
Yet in a moment, I can see a wounded soul and/or a broken spirit.
Trauma does what trauma does.
Stress does what stress does.
Fear does what fear does.
Abandonment does what abandonment does.
Abuse does what abuse does.
But I know without a doubt, in everyone’s story… there is a-life spark! Together, we examine the story’s characters, the scenes, painful moments, and their role in all of it. Together we we look beneath the tangled surface of their pain.
There we can see that our past darkness has but one mission: to keep us isolated and convinced that we are alone, and there is little to no hope.
Welcome to my world! Where our truths create the shining light and calls to our courage to see the path out of darkness! Whether that darkness is failure, a broken heart, or anything else that creates darkness.
I’ll never ever get tired of watching that life spark fill the eyes of uncertain/broken people who end up telling me… “I thought I was alone and there was no road out of this ….”)
This week, let’s look at the brokenness in “falling.”
“How can I possibly be credible to anyone? And I mean anyone. I fail, I fall, I flip-flop … then flip out!”
The dismay in the room was thicker than a rolling fog that just engulfed the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
“I really am trying here. But like Yoda says, ‘Do. Or do not. There is no try.’ I just don’t know what to do next. I’m certainly ruining this ‘Champion thing’. Nothing in me looks like one!”
I gave my new client plenty of space and time for thought. I’ve seen that kind of look countless times …
“I’m not trying to make all the work we’ve done look stupid, I just don’t think I can recover this time.”
I empathized deeply because I’ve been at that place more than once in my life. I’m sure you have too.
Each time I would arrive there, I remember what Dr. John Bradshaw would say: “The old ancient proverb says that a good and righteous person falls at least seven times. But they get back up.”
Yes, I’ve made commitments along the way to healthier living … and have fallen.
I’ve made decisions with great determination, to communicate better with those who frustrate me … and failed.
I’ve set out to do great business ventures … and flipped out.
I’ve made decisions to do difficult things and found myself…flipping and flopping all over the flipping place!
However, I have learned from the greatest Champions on earth, who have mentored me, about rising again.
Just like my client, you may feel like it’s not possible one more time. But it is! I will share with you this week the 3 key things that keep me rising again, that inspired my client to rise again, and will keep you rising again too my friend.
1. Champions change their altitude.
Literally. Champions change their altitude.
After we feel like we have fallen and let ourselves and/or others down, there’s a great desire to go into hiding.
Whether it’s pulling the covers up over our head, lounging in the recliner, or literally just staying hidden away in our office or in our shell…we retreat to poor me stay away mode.
I asked my client how we could change his altitude. He looked at me and actually said, “Well, after this ringer, I don’t have any way to do that because I can’t afford a hot air balloon ride.”
After some additional conversation, I invited him to walk with me just a few blocks from my office to the nature preserve.
On the walk, we talked about his altitude, and how things look different from a higher altitude. As we arrived at the preserve, and I walked him to the back, he had no idea there was a lookout tower back there.
I asked him if he was willing to do an exercise with me, and with a chuckle, he asked, “Do I have a choice?” I assured him that he did, but he’d likely not rise again without it.
The first thing I asked him was what he needed to leave at the bottom of the tower to rise again. After a moment of contemplation, he said,
- “I need to leave the belief that this will always happen.
- I need to leave my shame.
- I need to leave…feeling like a failure…again!”
I asked him to gather a few stones and make a little memorial with those three things. And to leave them behind.
Then I asked him what he needed to find at the top of the tower. That came quicker:
- “I need to find forgiveness for myself.
- I need to find some grace.
- And I need to find the wherewithal to keep going.”
As he began his ascent, I asked him to look toward the direction where the sun was setting when he got up top and see what he could find. (There’s always magic in a sunset if we will just pause and enjoy it!)
As he climbed up the tower, I went and sat on a rock on the west side of the tower so I could see when he arrived at the top.
Not only did he arrive, but as he stepped onto the platform, I was almost certain that I could see a dove taking flight.
When he came down, filled with everything he needed, he reported, “I really thought this was a ridiculous little exercise, but as I was climbing up the tower, I wished I had said that I would also find peace.”
I was beaming, and hoping he saw what I saw. He said, as I reached the top of the tower, I heard a flutter…and the most beautiful dove I’d ever seen took flight.
Do I want you to change your altitude literally? Yes, I do.
I have learned for me, it’s a crucial piece of rising again.
What about you? If all you can do is go outside and climb a hill-do it!
Leave what needs to be left behind and look for what you need at the top of the hill. I promise you’ll find something valuable!
Change your attitude. Rise again.
2. Champions change their attitude.
“What’s your attitude about what’s happened…What’s your state…What are your thoughts,” I asked my client as we walked back to the office?
“Well until a moment ago, my attitude sucked. My state was one of doubt and powerlessness. Pure powerlessness. And my thoughts were… ‘Nothing is ever going to work for me’!”
We all have those moments.
-Our state is not powerful.
-Our attitude is not powerful.
-Our thoughts are terribly disempowering.
I’d like to ask you to do what I asked of him. I asked him to choose a powerful state and to name it.
After a moment (I loved the name), he responded:
“I need to be in the state of ‘Failing Forward’ as John Maxwell suggests. I need to find something powerful in this and carry it to the next person that I see on the path who’s fallen!”
Bingo! What about you? What does your state NEED to be?
I had him take giant steps forward with great determination to get that state established in him.
Next, he lined his attitude up with that state.
That attitude said, “My best is yet to come!”
Finally, we stopped that horrible, disempowering belief as we walked and stomped it into the ground. And replaced it with, “All things work together for my good, for me to spread my good intents and make the world for others good!”
Before I could suggest that he make it even more powerful, he changed it to…“All things work together for my good, for me to spread greatness, and make the world of others greater!” I loved that!
What empowering thoughts do you need to have to rise again? Let’s do this!
3. Champions remember what’s inside of them…That the world still needs!
If you’re like me, and you’ve taken a fall … you can all to easily forget what gifts and talents are in you that others need.
“What does your wife need from you right now,” I asked my client? I could see that took him by surprise.
I knew she deeply loved him and believed in him. And I knew he loved her deeply. And for sure, I knew she did not need a defeated husband.
“What is in you that if you could dig in and produce it for her…it would meet a great need?”
Despite the sunset, I could tell by the trembling in his tone that it had brought tears to his eyes.
“For once in my selfish life, she needs to see me do what I encourage others to do. To encourage myself. To believe in myself. And to pull it together for the sake of our marriage. She’s always the one who pulls me up and pulls us back together. It’s my turn!”
It warmed my heart. Not just the words, but the tone with which he said it.
I asked, “And you can do that, can’t you? And you will, won’t you?”
With a bright smile he nodded.
There are things in you that you forget when you take a fall.
Remind yourself. Stand up tall. Walk in them.
Later, he emailed me and said, “You’ve no idea what it did for our marriage. I came home and gifted her with what I’ve tried to gift other people with. I changed my altitude, changed my attitude, and brought the gift home to her, instead of the burden!
All I did was to remind him of the gifts in him that someone he truly cared about needed.
What about you?
When you’ve fallen…ask yourself, “What’s in me that others need?”
Remember who you are. Remember you’re a Champion. And if you’re down, the people who need what is within, you will be left drifting and desolate.
That’s not who you are! Rise up, reach out, raise up Champions!
No matter how many times you have fallen, failed, flip-flopped, flipped out…It’s not too many!
Not too far!
Not too deep!
Not too anything!
The only real question is…Are you willing to:
Change your altitude.
Change your attitude.
Remember who you are.
Remember what your gifts are.
No matter how many times you’ve fallen, get back up Champion!
Someone needs what you have on the inside of you!