2017 was one of those years for me. Emotionally and physically I went through it. From getting sick early in March to battling with the sickness for the rest of the year put me on a rollercoaster ride I did not expect going into the year. I had aspirations that 2017 would be the year that I got back on track physically. Let’s just say that did not happen.
2017 was the year I learned a lot about myself. Through sickness, self-reflection, dealing with anxiety, making some poor decisions and going through counseling for a few months I was finally able to connect some dots and answer some questions I always had. For one, I am not as crazy as I thought I was! That’s a relief. 🙂
As a man and as an athlete, I was taught to fight through my emotions, not to feel, just tough it out and if you do feel it means you are soft. Years and years I suppressed my feelings. In tough pressure like moments, I would resort back to childlike behaviors and coping mechanisms that are quite frankly, not healthy. I never knew why I would resort back but I’ve learned this is what the brain does when it does not know new healthy ways to deal with problems.
“Out of your pain births a purpose. Out of your misery births a ministry. Don’t be so quick to run from the struggle.” – J. Scott Samarco
The struggle is real. We must confront reality. Not in a sense to make ourselves feel inadequate or unworthy but more so to understand that there is a battle and this battle is real.
We have to continue to push, fight, and battle to overcome adversity. Adversity is interesting. So often, adversity is viewed as being negative. To me, adversity is a tool to help us grow in character and in stature. Being able to take on adversity allows for the human mind to be stretched and challenged. This stretching, these challenges, help us gain a perspective that not everything in life is easy. I’ve heard many people say, “if it was easy, everyone would be doing.” Right!?
Life has a special meaning toward those individuals who understand their purpose. Cliche, true, whatever, I like it. For those who do not understand their purpose, life tends to constantly be challenging. More so mentally than anything. When one does not know or understand why they are here on this earth, they begin to question their value and what they can bring to the table. This questioning, usually leads to self esteem dropping, lack of self worth and a lack of confidence.
There are no quick fixes or points that say, if you do it this way everything will work itself out. I believe the main focus behind my thought process here is understanding we are all in a process. This process that we are in, is guiding us and helping us discover just what it is we should be doing. A constant message I share with myself, is to continue to embrace the process, to not let up, to work through the frustrations and to not beat myself up over my shortcomings.
I cannot be perfect. I can however, strive for perfection. Even with my striving I have to understand that I will fall short. With falling short, I know there are many lessons to be learned. These lessons help me stay in reality, all while pushing to be better daily.
I’m thankful for my journey in life and I know every pain I’ve ever felt, every misery I’ve battled through, it is all being used to shape and sharpen my calling in life. Whether we figure this out in our twenties or late fifties, we each have a role to play in this world.
God wants to use us for a purpose. Believing this is a great starting point. Happy 6 months!
It was the year 2011. My life was slowly beginning to fall apart. I had lost some close friends I trusted, was lied to by multiple people, lost a job, lost one of my best friends to a tragic death, and I had moved back home with my mom and was sleeping on the couch and in a bed on the floor in the basement.
Everything seemed dark to me. I wasn’t questioning God and wondering why I was going through this valley. I understood life is not perfect, and everyone at some point has to go through something tough, I was just wondering how long the dark season would last.
I don’t know about you, but when I am in darkness, my heart, my thoughts and my emotions seem to be off. My heart is usually heavy, my thoughts are distorted, and my emotions aren’t as controlled as I would like them to be.
So what did I do?
I got away…
The summer of 2011, I spent in another state with one of my closest friends. I had saved up some money before I lost my job. I just needed to get away from home, gather my thoughts, think a lot and begin to work on what my next steps would be.
We can only be in the valley for so long. At some point, we have to come back up.
Feeling lost, out of place, not significant and wondering when a change was coming, I decided I would not complain and mope around. Instead, I would fight back. Yes, the universe and my world were dark, but there is a greater power in me that is capable of shining light.
I needed God to begin shining His light!
My friend that I was staying with in 2011 summer, I remember attending a church service with him. I don’t remember what the minister was saying; I just know I got extremely emotional and began to cry. I remember my friend looking at me in disbelief and shock as if he’d never seen a “grown man” cry.
At this moment, he didn’t judge, or tell me to suck it up. Instead he asked was I okay and just put his arm around me (I guess he gave me a bro hug).
I just needed support. I was grieving and mourning for months. The weight of the world and all of my thoughts got too heavy for me to carry alone. So I just cried. I let it out and released everything. I’ve learned that crying is good for the soul and as ET the Hip Hop Preacher once said: “Don’t cry to quit. Cry to keep going.” That’s what I was doing.
The darkness began to fade away, and I knew one day God would allow the light to get brighter.
All felt lost and apart but having friends and a God that cares, I knew there was hope. 2011 was one of the worst years of my life. Tough as that year was, I needed to go through it. My valley experience in 2011 allowed me to see and feel what it is like to do life alone. I’ll end with this: Life is not meant to be experienced alone.
From the bottom of my heart. I love you. I thank you for reading this. God is good even when it feels like everything has fell apart.
I had just turned six years old. I remember my Dad handing me a brand new watch, which by the way broke the same day. I’ll save that story and my thoughts toward that watch for another time.
Turning 6 was exciting. I was no longer in kindergarten. I now felt like a “big kid.” On the day of my birthday, my Dad and I had an important conversation. He said to me, “You are six now. You know right from wrong. You have more responsibility now, and I expect you to do the right thing.”
After hearing these words, I remember riding away on my red bike replaying these words over and over in my mind. I kept saying to myself, “I am six. I have to be responsible.” At this moment, I felt good. I felt important. I felt I was in control, and I could make important decisions. I felt like someone believed in me.
I am convinced what people want and need is for someone to believe in them. When someone close to you, looks at you and says words such as: I believe in you. You got this. You’re the right person for this job. You can get this done; something special happens to a person’s trust and confidence when you have people that believe in you, support you, encourage you and help you grow.
Here’s a two-fold question:
Who are the people in your life that you are encouraging, supporting and pouring belief into?
Are there people in your life that’s speaking into your life, dreams and purpose?
I remember back when I was playing basketball at the University of Detroit. I was in the weight room getting some work done and in there working out was NBA player Willie Green. Willie played at U of D and was having great success in the NBA. I asked Willie a question. I said, “Hey, Willie. What separates you from other players?” Willie responds, “When I am in the gym, no matter where I am at or who is in there, I believe I am the best player, and I go out there and play like that.”
That conversation happened in 2008, and it has stuck with me ever since. Now I didn’t go on to go to the NBA like Willie, but I did sharpen my belief toolbox. Did you catch what he said? “I believe I am the best player!” Belief starts with you. First you have to believe in you. If you don’t believe in you then who will?
Your level of belief can take you far in life. Others may not believe in what you believe in or see what you see, but you have to have faith in your belief system and trust that what you believe in can become possible.
Share how you manage to have a great belief system?
Share some challenges you have with believing in yourself and/or your dreams.
P. S. I look forward to hearing back from you! #Believe
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it will not change you.” – Urban Meyer
Can you believe a die hard Wolverine is quoting a Buckeye? If you understand sports and rivalries you will know what I am talking about. I am reading a book by Ohio State’s coach, Urban Meyer called, Above the Line. The book was referred to me by a friend. We were talking about coaching (I coach high school boys basketball) and leadership and he said it would be worth picking up despite your disliking of the boys in red.
The quote above is not just a good quote but it is a motto to life. As a former college basketball and semi-pro player I have always loved a good challenge. For instance, say I had a bad game, instead of sitting in pity at all of the things I could have done better, I take it upon myself to study the film, get back in the gym and work on how I can become better. This approach has helped me grow tremendously in life. – Taking on a challenge and allowing the challenge to help transform my life.
“Average leaders have quotes. Good leaders have a plan. Exceptional leaders have a system.” – Urban Meyer
As you may know, we are already a week into #2016. This week I have been reflecting a lot on life, my health, leadership, my many hats I wear, friendships, goals, relationships and my marriage. Here is what I need to keep in front of me in #2016: #Challenges – I look at challenges as goals I can accomplish. With each goal that is before me, the goal is a challenge that I want to accomplish in a timely matter before the year ends.
I have to be frank with you. I absolutely love where God is leading me. I am learning more and more about myself, my character, my identity, my work habits, what gets me fired up, my weaknesses and my strengths than I ever have. I find this to be a wonderful discovery gift to my life. I read more than I ever have, I ask more questions, I am more confident in who I am and in my leadership. I believe my growth is a result of my competitive drive and the hunger to be the best I can be.
What does all of this mean?
Set more S.M.A.R.T. Goals (Specific. Measurable. Actionable, Relevant. Timely. Goals.)
Find ways to challenge yourself.
Get some time to yourself to reflect on what you want to accomplish this year.
Know what your dreams are.
Come up with plans, systems and strategies to get you where you want to be in life.
Find a word, a phrase, a quote, maybe even a hashtag that will remind you of what you are chasing after this year. (For example: My hashtag is #BetterThanYesterday. My phrase: You are more than average, so work and act like it.)
Work hard, be consistent, build momentum and make great things happen this year!
P.S. In #2016 work on being less condemning to yourself. Instead, speak more positive life changing words. Don’t let a failed challenge discourage you. Treat a failed challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow from what didn’t go right. This is your year. So is 2017, 2018, 2019 and so on…
“You will not be successful as a leader if you are constantly changing directions.” – Urban Meyer
P.S.S. You got this!
Question: What challenges are you looking forward to this year?
The lack of self confidence, the pressure to perform at a high level, life beating you up, all of this can make it extremely hard to have a strong belief system. I am here today to say, it is time for a shift in our lives. You and I have the greatest opportunity in the world to make a difference. Wherever you are on this earth reading this, it is time to take our self confidence to another level. There is no more time for you and I to say we cannot do something. There is no more time for taking the back seat to life. We have to believe and the time to start believing is now.
Throughout my life, I fought against myself. In fact, my biggest competitor has always been the person I look at in the mirror each day. Some of my friends would say to me, “J Scott, you are your biggest critic and you’re too hard on yourself.” I appreciated my friends sharing this with me but what they failed to understand, I had to be this way. There were many moments throughout my life where people didn’t believe in me. People told me I couldn’t do what I was wanting to accomplish in life. I had to dig deep inside and find self motivation and an inner drive. I had to find a way to believe.
“If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will?” – J Scott
I don’t know where you are on your journey in life. What I do know is at some point you and I both battle with having the confidence we need to be who we are suppose to be. I have come to learn and understand, when I have great confidence in myself I usually do a much better job compared to when I lack confidence. I may not be the best speaker, the best teacher, the best leader, but the fact I believe in myself, helps me to understand that I can be confident in who God made me to be. I do bring something valuable to the table, I do have something to offer, I am worth listening to.
Confidence is something I believe God wants you and I to have. If you think about it, usually, lack of confidence stems from having fear. God did not make us to live life on earth in fear. He has given us power to overcome our fears. Imagine, if you and I became a fearless warrior toward our passions and gifts. Imagine the lives we can touch. Imagine the people we can help grow and overcome their fears. I’m getting excited knowing the possibilities that are heading our way all because we have decided to believe in ourselves.
Here are 5 ways you can start believing in yourself:
Write down your fears.
Write encouraging notes all around your house.
Tackle something you’ve been afraid to do.
Get around people who are immersed in self confidence.
Tell yourself every morning, “I can and I will accomplish what I set out to do today.”
“More self confidence and less self condemnation.” – J Scott
P.S. What are some ways you have built confidence in your life? Leave a comment below and don’t forget to share this on your social media with your friends and family.