Accomplishing Great Things

My step-son, along with a few privileged family members, was a VIP guest of the San Antonio Spurs. David has osteosarcoma, and doctors tell us he may not survive another year. Going to a Spurs game and meeting his favorite player of all time, David Robinson, was on his bucket list. Last night happened because of the love and persistence of his father and a friend with a Spurs connection. The experience was amazing because of the generosity and attention to detail of the Spurs organization.

This experience affirmed for me some key principles of creating transformational opportunities.

  • Clarity of purpose gives us the drive to accomplish our goals. When we are very clear on what it is we want to accomplish, we are better able to focus our attention and energy. My husband and others who worked to make this experience happen were very clear on what they wanted and why they wanted it. Likewise, the Spurs organization had a clear purpose for responding to the request and preparing a memorable experience.
  • Passion and compassion motivate us to work toward something beyond ourselves. Any worthwhile goal will do more than satisfy a selfish desire. Transformational experiences have  an effect on others while also meeting a personal need. My step-son’s experience was a direct result of the passion and compassion of numerous people involved in making this night a reality — passion for bringing joy to him, and compassion for his situation.
  • Grace is the heart of transformational experiences. Grace – love and compassion freely given – encourages us to be generous toward others. When we experience grace in our own lives, our response is to show grace to others. Studies show that even people in dire circumstances give freely to others when they experience love and compassion themselves. If each of us can be gracious toward others, we can create a chain-reaction that can transform our families, communities, maybe even a whole society.
  • Closely connected to grace is generosity. Everything that was done for my step-son was an act of generosity – the family and friends who made calls and worked connections to arranged the event, the Spurs organization’s careful planning and implementing of the experience, David Robinson coming to meet him and pray with the family, the Spur celebs who spent time with us during the game, even the people who sat around us and cheered David on.
  • This experience also had a huge impact because of the attention to detail. It would have been great just to get free tickets to the game, but the Spurs did not stop there. A small staff was dedicated to making this a transformational experience for my step-son. From the time we arrived until we left, everything was precisely planned and executed. Once the Spurs organization received the request, they began planning the evening specifically for his enjoyment. When we want to accomplish something meaningful, paying attention to the details enables us to go beyond mediocre to excellence.

Organizations like the Spurs do these kinds of charitable events all the time. It is one of the ways sports teams and other such groups give back to the community and provide themselves with some positive publicity. What was so impressive about this particular experience is the care with which they provided it.

We all have the opportunity to accomplish goals that are more than self-serving and mediocre. How do your goals challenge you to excel at making a difference in the world?




A Coach’s Confession

“The only thing keeping you from getting what you want is yourself. The only thing keeping you from the joy you deserve is the disempowering story you keep telling yourself. But what if you decided right now to offer yourself a new core of belief? What if everything in your life, including the most painful and traumatic events, was happening for you, not to you? What if everything was designed for you to actually have a greater life and have more to give and more to enjoy?” – Tony Robbins

As a coach, I want to embrace comments like these. When I work with clients, I encourage them to reach for the life they want. This is not just something I do because it’s what coaches are supposed to do. I do it because I believe that it’s possible to have the life we want … to an extent.

My hesitancy comes from real life experience. I know that there are limitations in life, and that we cannot always control everything that happens. For example, people with cancer have very little control over the disease. They have choices about treatment options and how they choose to live with the disease, but they can’t wish it away.

Ask anyone with cancer what they want, and they will most likely tell you that they want to be cancer-free. Ask any parent of a child with cancer what they want, and they will tell you they want their child to be well. Unfortunately, we do not always get what we want.

My step-son has cancer. I want him to be completely healed. I want him to live to see his children grow up. When I read articles and books like the one from which this quote is taken (Tony Robbins), I find myself feeling cynical and sometimes angry because they seem to discount real life problems like my step-sons’. Nothing against Tony Robbins or others who encourage us to choose happiness. I agree with them in theory.

I have to remind myself that the article is not about things that happen to us. It is about our emotions and thought processes. My initial reaction to these statements come from the emotional part of my brain because this is a very emotional issue for me. It hurts that I cannot make it all better for my step-son or those who love him most. I cannot wish my son well.

However, I can choose how to deal with what I am feeling about his situation. I can choose to remain hopeful about his prognosis. I can choose to support cancer research. I can make a conscious decision to be joyfully present in the moments I have with him and his family.

Within any given situation, we have the power to choose how to respond. Although I do not agree with Robbins that any life events can happen “for” us, I do believe that we can make choices about how we want to be emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically in any given situation. We can choose to look for the positives and live into these. We can choose to make a situation work “for” us as much as possible. We can choose to live lives of gratitude, hope and grace.

What if you chose to have a greater life and have more to give and more to enjoy?