If you watched the big game yesterday, you are quite aware of the excitement that fills the city of New Orleans. Even as I type this blog out on Monday morning, I am sure the French Quarter is still full of celebration and joy. As promised last week, I would devote this week's blog to a dominant thought focusing on that game. Actually, I think yesterday's game can be summed up in one word: improbable.
Words mean things
Webster's Dictionary gives us a great definition of the word saying it is something that is "unlikely to be true or to occur." To go a step further, if you Google the words "saints" and "improbable" you'll see a synopsis of their entire season. In my opinion, there is no sweeter victory than the one that comes from an island of belief surrounded by an ocean of doubt. This is what makes Warrior Life Coaching so rewarding.
My coaching practice works with the intent of providing all clients a unique and systematic approach to building the pillars of love, health, wealth, and self-image in your life. This methodology is the creation of Kelly Burris, who certified me as a Subconscious Restructuring Life Coach. I mention this methodology, because I see great examples of it working in everyday life. After yesterday's sporting event, I see the "pillars" of Self-Image, Wealth, Health, and Love, as they hold up the city of New Orleans. Let's take a closer look.
What do you see in yourself?
If I asked you this time last year, to close your eyes and envision the city of New Orleans,...what would you have seen? Most likely it would be the images of the destruction brought by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. But if I asked you today to envision New Orleans, how many of you have a different image of this community? This is the power of Self Image.
Have you ever heard the saying "only you can make yourself happy?" Well, as tired as that saying may be, it seems it may be true. A surprising survey of adults by the American Psychological Association has shown that the most important factor to happiness and well-being is self-esteem. Also important were feelings of independence and competency, often brought about by high self-esteem. Surprisingly, common traits like popularity, power, money or luxury were rated the lowest. Listening to your internal voice and judgments of yourself is the first step to changing your self-image and esteem. Being aware of self-criticisms (or lack of criticisms) can help you determine your current self-image and decide if it needs to be improved and how. The Empowering Questions we ask of ourselves help to shape our self-image in the direction of our choosing. As the days go by and the interviews continue around the Saints, don't be surprised to hear "we just believed in ourselves and each other" coming from the fans, coaches, and players. Their statements could be the same ones you make to yourself everyday. If you don't have a daily mantra of positive self talk, then what are you saying to yourself?
With 2009 representing one of the worst economies since the Great Depression, it would again be "improbable" to find examples of wealth in New Orleans. Don't look to see the usual signs of construction and rebuilding. However; if you are looking for wealth in the Crescent City you need to look at the people!
An article from Kelli Peterson in The Inspired Economist shows us that the uniqueness of who we are can sometimes be our greatest resource. Peterson writes, "In an era dubbed the creative economy, Louisiana is an interesting example of innovation. By creating tax incentives for film production to passing legislation to help create districts or cultural hubs within the city, commerce is facilitated at a very grass roots level. Block by block, business is developing, not from harnessing the internet or technology but from the firsthand understanding of needs and limited available resources. By tapping into the population that was born and raised in Louisiana and providing them training and guidance, Louisiana is an example of bottom-up development instead of top-down governance, a recipe for resilience."
Creating wealth in our lives is a process of finding our strengths. Once our strengths are identified, we can focus our sights on achieving the objectives we set for ourselves. These Objectives provide us purpose and the achievement of purpose is one of mankind's greatest treasures. Wealth is not about money, it is about abundance of something we find valuable. The city of New Orleans has apparently tapped into its culture to create wealth. My question for you is, What do you find valuable and how are you planning to create more of it in your life?
Making Healthy Decisions
A great military mentor of mine named Will Grimsley once said, "you can't make a decision with only one course of action." As I coach my clients, I try to pass these words of wisdom on by helping them develop multiple courses of action to reach the objectives they seek to attain. Your personal health is a shining example of the decisions you make for yourself. Yes, health is a choice! How you choose to live your life and how you take care of your mind, body, and soul are your choice. My greatest passion is working with today's warriors returning from the combat arenas around the world today. Many of them have suffered debilitating injuries and many exhibit the silent wounds of war caused by PTSD and depression. How they choose to deal with these issues will mean the difference in their future success.
Yesterday's game, again, gives us an improbable health scenario where choice of health makes all the difference. In the same year that Katrina would bring such devastation to New Orleans, Drew Brees suffered a horrific shoulder injury while playing for his former team, the San Diego Chargers. The following is from an article by Tim Layden in Sports Illustrated that encapsulates the essence of the story:
"But in the final game of 2005, with the Chargers out of playoff contention, Brees dived for a fumble in his own end zone, and Gerard Warren, the Denver Broncos' 325-pound tackle, landed on him. When Brees stood he held his right arm as if he were resting the elbow on a fireplace mantle, his shoulder gruesomely dislocated.
More than 1,700 miles away in Birmingham, renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews watched a replay of Brees going down. "I thought, my God, what an injury," says Andrews. Four days later he examined Brees and diagnosed a rare 360-degree tear of the labrum, the ring of cartilage around the entry to the shoulder joint. During surgery Andrews discovered a deep, partial rotator cuff tear. He says the damage in Brees's shoulder joint represented "one of the most unique injuries of any athlete I've ever treated."
Andrews and two other surgeons mended the labrum with the unheard-of total of 11 surgical anchors (three or four is common) and also repaired the rotator cuff. The 90-minute procedure was performed arthroscopically--a godsend for Brees. If the doctors had had to cut through shoulder tissue, his recovery would have been prolonged by months.
Still, Brees faced an arduous rehabilitation, with long odds. "Lord, I was just hoping to give him a functional shoulder," says Andrews. "An average athlete would not recover from this injury."
Andrews handed Brees off to Kevin Wilk, a physical therapist and clinical director at Benchmark-Champion Sports Medicine in Birmingham who has been rehabbing Andrews's patients for 18 years. " Dr. Andrews told me, 'You've got your work cut out for you,'" Wilk says. "I had never seen an injury this severe in any elite-level throwing athlete. We were in uncharted waters."
Brees attacked his rehab voraciously. He moved in with his in-laws, Pete and Kathie Dudchenko, who live in Birmingham, and spent four months of seven-hour days at Wilk's clinic. Told he could be out of his sling in four weeks, he lost it in two and a half. Told he would have full range of motion in 12 weeks, he achieved it in eight. Told he would throw a football in four months, he was outside on the lawn of the clinic playing catch with New York Giants safety Will Demps, who was rehabbing an ACL, in a little more than three months.
"His recovery has been one of the most remarkable of any patient I've ever treated," says Andrews. "And the biggest thing was Drew's motivation and toughness." Not bad for the game's Most Valuable Player, eh? How do you approach your health? Is it as important as Drew Brees makes it? If not, would you like it to be? Contact me for help...it's your choice!
What about Love?
I saved the pillar of Love for last. Not because it should come last...quite the contrary. Working with warriors I get the occasional "rolling of the eyes" or disgruntled looks from my fellow combat tribe members when I first mention the word LOVE. I recognize there can be lots of confusion when using this word and I think Wikipedia does a great job of explaining the confusion. "Love is any of a number of emotions related to a sense of strong affection and attachment. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure ("I loved that meal") to intense interpersonal attraction ("I love my husband"). This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states."
Love is the emotional state that allows us to see what is possible. Love makes us commit to something greater than ourselves. Love allows us to heal, to forgive, and to move forward. Love is what we feel when we salute the flag and when we hear the Star Spangled Banner (by the way, nice job Carrie Underwood). The city of New Orleans could very easily stopped loving itself, its sense of community, at the very least they could have stopped loving their Saints...but that is improbable.
When the storms in your life bring chaos and disorder to your world, pause and reflect. Then try and see a little of the New Orleans that now resides in all of us. For more information on Warrior Life Coaching and my practice, go to www.warriorlifecoach.com.