Live Like The World Is Gonna End

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The year has come to a close and it’s that time of year where we all do some reflecting on the past 12 months and previous years of life.  For some reason I find myself asking why it is that for the past few years I only take the end of the year for this kind of reflection.   And then I remember that the reason….it’s because I’m way too busy with life and it leaves far too little time for living.

While out on my run this morning I was listening to one of my favorite artist, Ben Rector of 2017.  In his song “Like The World Is Going To End” he paints a pretty good picture of what w say we would do if we thought the world was going to end.  The playful beat and lyrics articulate what we all wish we were doing during our days on this planet…living.

So, as you wrap up 2017 I have promised yourself to live more in 2018, to “live like the world is gonna end”.  After all, we don’t know how much time we have on this earth.  Take the time to love someone, hug someone, call someone up and say you’re sorry, mend a broken fence or just go for a run with your dog.  You only have one life, don’t forget to live it!

“Like The World Is Going To End”

If we found out that the world
was gonna end on Tuesday morning
What would everybody do
It’s funny how the thought of that
can make something real important
And a lot of things pretty worthless too

But I’d be dancin’ like a fool
I’d be laughin’, I’d be cryin’
Callin’ everybody I’d ever hurt and reconcilin’
I’d call everyone I loved
Say what I was scared to say till then
Now that I think about it
Maybe I should always live like the world is gonna end

I’d hit all my favorite restaurants
They’d be open for business
Would not care what people thought, yeah

And I’d speak love to everybody
Who came close enough to listen
And if someone done me wrong
I’d call and tell em’ I forgot

And then I’d be dancin’ like a fool
I’d be laughin’, I’d be cryin’
Callin’ everybody I’d ever hurt and reconcilin’
I’d call everyone I loved
Say what I was scared to say till then
Now that I think about it
Maybe I should always live like the world is gonna end

We spend most our lives
And almost all our time
One what we don’t care about
What we could do without

Every tragedy
Is that we can’t see it
We can’t see until time is running out

‘Cause I’d be dancin’ like a fool
I’d eat ice cream every mornin’
I’d call up everyone I loved
And drive them out to California
And we’d say the things
that we’ve been scared to death to say till then
Now that I think about it
Maybe we should always live like the world is gonna end

Live like the world is gonna end

Live like the world
Live like
Live like
Live like the world is gonna end

Greatness is Tough, Mediocrity is Easy

greatness-introSome time ago, I had the opportunity to work with my daughter’s soccer team on basic sprinting mechanics.  Her coach gave me about 30 minutes to work with the team, so we started out with some basic drills that the kids could practice at home. About 10 minutes in, I noticed I was losing the focus of team and I had to change things up a bit to refocus them.  I shared a little about the many great athletes I have had the privilege to compete and train with throughout my athletic career.  Without much thought at all, I found myself talking to the group girls about how easy it is to be mediocre and how tough it is to be great. Continue reading

Know Your Moment

There are but a few moments in my life that I can look to where I truly lived completely in that moment and lived it to the fullest. One of those moments was just prior to stepping onto the track at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.  8 years before, I was an alternate on the 1996 Olympic team and 4 years later, despite having one of the highest jumps in the world, I failed to make the US Olympic team. Over the course of those 8 years I had gotten married, got a job, been promoted, then laid off, lost my father, and somehow managed to keep the dream alive of being an Olympian.

I had been to the world championships in 2003 and my performance was not near what I had wanted it to be. Either the nerves or the stadium or the crowd got to me. I had let the outside in and not kept my head straight. I vowed to myself as I sat at the American University in Paris that the next year, the Olympic year, it was going to be different.

So there I sat, waiting at the check-in for athletes at the Olympic Games. It was hot and muggy, it was noisy and  I was surrounded by a group of gladiators that I had seen in battle before. People I had respected for their talents and abilities. For the most part, this group of warriors had competed better than me at nearly every event. But this year something was going to be different. I had made up my mind in the year preceding this event that I was going to be ready, I was going to be focused, I was going to be ready for war.

We moved to the next area as the officials checked our spikes in our bags to make sure that we didn’t have anything in there that we shouldn’t have.  Then the moment arrived that we all had been waiting for. The moment where we would walk onto the  track to represent ourselves, our country and our sport.  We all were standing in line pregnant with anticipation for the competition to begin. I was sitting just outside the tunnel as I walked into the stadium and looked up and saw a stadium filled with people from all over the world. There are not enough words that can describe the emotion and the feelings that come to you in a moment like that. As I reached down and touched the Mondo track I said to myself  “so this is the big show, now it’s time to go to war”.

As I look back  and reflect on those 60 seconds  I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if I didn’t take the time to breathe at all in, enjoy it, and then move forward with my mission. So as you look at your life right now and you think about what possible moments you could have, think about how you will respond when you get there. Will you take the time to enjoy it? Will you get lost in the emotion of it and lose your dream as a result? Will you take the time to breathe in and then go out there and have the best day of your life? My hope is that you’ll have the best day of your life. We only go around once so make your moments count.

Succeeding through Failure

Through my years of competing professionally one thing always happened at every competition no matter height of the bar. What was it? The bar fell down three times in a row. When that happened I knew I was done for the day and I would have to improve my performance for the next competition.

As I reflect on those competitions I see that I learned more from the failures than I did from successes.  In this respect, the High Jump is just like real life.  We set a goal and either  we fail or we succeed at the challenge in front of us. Even if we succeed the bar still must go up.  When that happens, the process starts all over again. If we keep raising that bar, failure is inevitable.

It’s important to remember that in the real world, the lessons are the same.  The bar is set and we either clear the bar or it falls off.  We pass or we fail.  The odds are that we will fail along the way.

Will we put the bar back up?  What can we learn from our failures?   My hope is that you do put the bar back up and take the time to learn from your mistakes.   It’s the only way to truly get to where you want to go.