November 25, 2016

The Key to Conquering Your Giants

Do you believe in miracles? "Great moments are born from great opportunity!" These were the opening words to a pre-game speech that became the prelude to one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. Words that shine a light on the key to conquering giants.

How great an opportunity—David versus Goliath great.

There is something uniquely powerful about chipping away at a daunting and overwhelming challenge to discover you are holding an opportunity in your hand.

We love rooting for the underdog—but few if any of us relish being the underdog. We don’t see a “David” emerging from within us capable of conquering giants. We love the story and commonly miss the powerful truth underlying how a great moment emerges for a great opportunity.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Even the most optimistic of people would not have given the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team any chance to beat the Soviet Union team—especially in light of the embarrassing 10-3 defeat the U.S. team suffered at the hands of the Soviet team just two weeks earlier.

The Soviets were a dynasty—winners of four straight gold medals from 1964 to 1976. They had nearly defeated a team of Canada’s top professional players and did beat several N.H.L. teams in exhibition games leading up to the games.

“Nothing truly stops you. Nothing truly holds you back. For your own will is always within your control.” 

~ Epictetus

Herb Brooks was the coach of the U. S. team. He walked into the locker room and looked at a team that did not look like they were ready to take on Goliath.

Fully convicted and emblazoned with enthusiasm, Brooks chipped away at the challenge that towered over the minds like a giant and handed them a gift-wrapped opportunity.

"Great moments are born from great opportunity, and that's what you have here tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here tonight. One game; if we played them ten times, they might win nine. But not this game, not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight we stay with them, and we shut them down because we can. Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world.

You were born to be hockey players—every one of you, and you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It's over. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw 'em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it!"

The final minute ticked away and as clock hit 00:00 the U.S. Hockey team defeated their “giant” 4-3—“Do you believe in Miracles?"

Do you see it—the powerful truth? Great opportunities surround us every day. The journey to the finish line of great goals and dreams will present a few “giants”. The powerful truth that emerges when you look at people who rise up, defeat the “giants”, and create great moments is the presence of a coach.

Great moments are born of great opportunities. Opportunities are going to present themselves and that is what you must prepare for in the coming weeks.

Your time is now. Write it on your heart—no one has your unique place in the world to positively impact the people you love, teams you lead and the causes that stir your heart.

Two critical questions

Two simple but powerful questions that will produce clarity that drives out randomness and brings into the focus what is both vital and essential. To achieve the clarity necessary to recognize the opportunities for your great moments, answer two questions.

1. Who do you want to be remembered by?

2. What do you want to be remembered for?

I answer these questions every year—in the absence of a significant change in life the answers are not likely to change much. After you gain the clarity from answering these questions, they likely won't change for you either. The big payoff in reviewing and refining your answers is a laser-like focus on who and what is important.

The key to conquering giants?

Who is your coach?

You will uncover the depth of your talent and break through performance barriers by cultivating a relationship with a coach. Coaches come along side of you to support you with encouragement and subject-matter expertise you could not gain on your own.

The bigger the “giants” you are going to face in the pursuit of who and what you want to be remembered by the greater the benefit you will derive from expert coaching.

Herb Brooks was a great coach! Sure the players had talent. But it was the coaching that took them to a place they could not have gotten on their own. If you want to conquer the “giants” and extend the boundaries of your current performance, enlist a coach.

You must commit yourself to conquering giants because they won't simply fade away or disappear. They will be up as early as you rise ready to distract you from focusing on who and what is important.

Today will never happen again. Opportunities to serve and create impact will present themselves. You were born for these moments. Be prepared to go out and take them—clarify and surround yourself with coaches who can take you there.


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