Earlier this week, I had the great opportunity to attend Executive Women’s Day at Trump National Doral ahead of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. The event featured a behind-the-ropes tour of the resort, a conversation with Phil Mickelson’s caddie and panel discussions with female leaders in sports and business.
One question asked of the female panelists was what practice they’ve witnessed men adopt in their careers which helps them move forward, which women seem hesitant to adopt. In particular, I loved Kim Stone’s response to this question. Kim works as the executive vice president and general manager of AmericanAirlines Arena and The HEAT Group. Kim began her response by noting that in her career, she’s seen men as always being willing to lend those they know a helping hand. The example she made was that oftentimes, men pick up the phone and call other men to ask for things. The favors they solicit range from job leads to sales leads and how to approach a potential client to whether or not they should accept a job offer. Kim said that when a man picks up the phone to ask another man a favor, there is no question of his motive nor concern over how each side is benefitting from the conversation. This practice is seen as normal and part of the ordinary course for men who transact business. Even if a man hasn’t spoken to the person calling him in ages, he will not chastise the caller for that and will do the best he can to help him.
I have seen this practice firsthand. Kim has worked in the basketball industry since 1996. Thus, it’s likely that the examples she was referring to stem from male contacts she has in the basketball industry. In my own life, I have also seen basketball coaches use this method. For instance, one night a friend of mine who is a professional basketball coach received a text message that a college coaching job opened. This text message came in the middle of a dinner we were having after not seeing each other for months. In the midst of our conversation, he looked at his phone and said verbatim, “Who do I want to get a job?” After we left dinner, he sent text messages to people he believed were qualified for the job and may have interest in it. For him, there was no discussion of what these people had done for him or how present they were in his life. Rather, he realized he had an opportunity to help others and sprung to action with it.
Kim notes that on the flip side, when it comes to women, we are often hesitant or questioning when we are put in similar situations. When a contact who we haven’t spoken to in awhile calls us for a professional favor, our first internal question is rarely “What can I do to help this person?” but more often, “What are this person’s motives?” Women are guided largely by their feelings, and because of this, we oftentimes approach business as skeptics. Kim argued that while intuition and emotions can be used to further a woman’s career, in this type of a situation, they can hamper it. Women need to be able to separate feelings over why someone is calling them to ask for something and rather, realize it is just part of business.
It’s understandable why women approach business this way. As children, we are taught to question others. That boy who asks you to the Prom? What are his motives? The guy who puts a ring on your finger? What does he really want from you? Not only are women taught early on to question why and what people want from them, but women are also taught to give selflessly of themselves to the point that they become fearful of asking of others to fulfill their needs.
In late-December last year, I experienced this. I felt that I was being asked so much from others, but nothing was coming my way in return. Every email I received was someone from some corner of the earth asking me for something. Publicists. Students. Advisees. Family. Friends. That random guy I met at a sporting event. Everyone wanted something from me and it was driving me NUTS, because nobody was offering me anything. Nobody said, “Hey, how are YOU?” Nobody said, “What is new with YOU?” Not one person offered, “Hey, here is how I want to help YOU!” All I was reading was “Me, me, me” and it was driving me crazy, crazy, CRAZY! Rather than furthering my career, I was throwing a pity party and doing a great job at avoiding corresponding with others.
Hearing Kim speak this week made me realize how terribly I handled my late-December situation. A man in my place would have responded to every request in a way that offered his hand to the best of his abilities. There would be no questions asked. There would be no feelings hurt over not being asked about his feelings. There would be no “poor me” stories. All there would be, is moving forward with business.
In order to get ahead in business, women need to realize that give and take is necessary. Each of us will confront situations in which we need something from others. We all take from others at some point in our careers. However, we need to be willing to give. And part of giving is realizing that you do not need to get to give. Maybe the person on the other end of the line hasn’t spoken to you in ages. Maybe you weren’t invited to their wedding. Maybe they blew you off at a happy hour. SO WHAT! The name of the game is “Business,” not “Best Friendness” (which is probably a good thing, since “friendness” is not a word).
The point in all of this, is perhaps men get further ahead in the business world because they do not question motives. If they have something that can help others, they give it. This practice creates efficiency for them. With the time they didn’t waste in questioning motives, they already helped another person and got back to their own work. By questioning motives, all that one does is waste time. Not only are they not helping someone, they are also not being as efficient as they can in their own work.
So, the next time the near stranger calls and asks for something, think first what you can do for them and not why they are calling. It’s a simple idea that can lead to greater professional success.
I really hope I have children someday, if only so my dad can tell them his awesome stories. Like the time he caddied for Joe Louis at Denver’s City Park Golf Course. And Louis tipped him a buck (“That man was a cheapskate!). Or the time he walked out of a bathroom stall in a bar to see Chuck Berry washing his hands. ”No I didn’t shake his hand! You don’t shake hands with someone after you go to the bathroom!”
The one I learned today, though, might be my favorite.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the epic fight between Sonny Liston and the man the world then knew as Cassius Clay. For all the world knew, when the two men entered the ring on that February Miami night, the 22-year-old Clay was going to meet his demise. He was going to get pummeled. Destroyed. Leveled. There would be no Muhammad Ali, because Clay was going to be ended on February 25, 1964 at the behest of Liston.
Months before the fight, my 14-year-old dad was engaging in his normal day-to-day activities in Denver. During those days, he oftentimes found himself at City Park Golf Course. I think my dad was born a hustler, and at a golf course, he was amongst his kind. He earned money caddying and shagging balls for Denver’s upper echelon.
After he made his keep, he’d hop on his bike, cruise around the park’s lake and if he made enough change, he’d stop and get a snow cone. This day, he had enough in his pocket to pick up the snow cone. As he handed his money over for his treat, he saw a big, shiny black Cadillac pull up. Its driver, a large, athletic African-American man. Its passenger, a beautiful, svelte blonde woman. He thought nothing of it.
The man hopped out of the driver’s side, looked at my dad and said, “Hey, kid. Can I ride your bike?” And my dad said, “Sure, go ahead.”
This was the part of the story that raised a flag in my mind. My dad taught me street smarts, largely because he was raised by the street. While he doesn’t have a college education, he taught me how to play the game and in turn, how not to get played. So I chimed in, “You let a complete stranger take your bike?!”
“Yea, obviously, Alicia. I let him take my bike because I knew who he was.”
So, one day in 1964, Sonny Liston asked my dad to borrow his bike. And he rode it around Denver’s City Park lake (“It took him about five minutes,” per my dad) and brought it back to my adolescent father, who in all honesty, was probably happily eating his snow cone and ogling at Liston’s date. He said, “Thanks, kid,” hopped back in the Cadillac, shut the door and drove off. ”I was so stupid, that I didn’t even think to get his autograph. It didn’t seem like a big deal,” my dad would remember 50-years later.
Seven rounds into that epic fight in Miami, the champion sat in his corner, unwilling to come back out to fight. A kid, who would later be called the “World’s Greatest,” would come out of his to fight. And that night, the world changed. From everyone’s eyes, it was a big deal. It was the 1960s’ David and Goliath story in a sense. The toughest man in the world could be beaten. And nonetheless, he could be beaten by a kid, who just hours before, had to be physically restrained because his nerves had gotten the best of him.
As a sportswriter who comes into contact with some of the greatest athletes in the world frequently, my dad’s story spoke volumes to me. It told me, that even in the face of a brutal, barbaric champion, there was a childlike persona hiding behind the mask. To think that at the height of his success, Liston was still curious enough and playful enough to ask a stranger boy for a joyride on his bike, puts into perspective the mindset of an athlete who knew he was about to engage in one of sports’ greatest battles. That story–of perseverance, being able to accept defeat and of finding joy in small things even when great success is achieved–is one that someday, I hope my dad gets to tell my children about the day he let a boxer borrow his bicycle.
I have a Monday evening after-work ritual.
I live in a bubble in Miami. My condo is on a private island that is gated. My neighbors are CEOs and NBA players and yacht owners. When I go to work, I drive down a tree-lined street. My office is on one of the most beautiful and perfectly groomed campuses in America, if not the world. My students are intellectual and from impressive backgrounds. In my day-to-day life, the world looks perfect. It’s blissful, happy, cheerful and welcoming. All is right.
I don’t come from this bubble world. I come from a background where my dad worked seven days a week so that my family could make ends meet. I come from a household where for the first fifteen years of my life, we lived in a tiny two bedroom duplex and all shared one bathroom. I come from a life, where although my family did not have much financially, they always taught me to give to others. Whether it be the extra couple of dollars in my wallet or my time, my parents both taught me that with a richness of spirit, I could live a good, happy life.
As I get deeper into this life and more opportunities come into it, I don’t want to lose that little girl whose circumstances drove her ambition. I never want to become disconnected with my roots. I never want to lose sight of the struggles that fueled me to succeed.
So, on Monday nights, I take a drive north. I get out of Coral Gables and drive past my island home. I go into Miami’s projects. And I just cruise and cruise and take left turns and right turns. I stare into faces and look at dilapidated houses. And I see what so many others would probably describe as “bleak” as opportunity.
Neither of my parents hold a college degree. Yet, with their limited educations, they steered me well through life. They both realized that an education was the key to improving my future. While they instilled the importance of an education in my mind, outside mentors largely helped steer the course I took from that point on.
While I credit my parents most for the success I’ve found in life, I would not be where I am today without the individuals who took an interest in my life and taught me how to be a leader. These individuals range from my big sister in my sorority to my pastors at church and the student activities director at my undergraduate college to my sports law professor in law school. The time and attention each of these individuals gave to me in ensuring that I was becoming the best I could be is why I have been able to accomplish what I have in my life.
On my drive today, I saw a handful of children presumably walking home from school. As I looked at their surroundings, I wondered what dreams they have for their futures. When your life is surrounded by chaos, poverty and despair, where do you look for hope? How do you have a dream bigger than your situation when that is the portrait that is painted for your life?
If I had not been exposed to outside influences and a variety of people who outlined the options I had for my life, I do not know where I would be today. When this realization hit me today, there was only one thing I could think of: It is time for me to become that positive influence for somebody else. While I am not an artist, I can help paint a brighter future for a child who could benefit from seeing the picture of her life depicted in another way.
One of my favorite quotes is the Chinese proverb that reads, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” For those of us with hectic schedules, it’s so easy to just write checks to organizations or attend galas and believe that we are making a difference. While those efforts are commendable and help address issues, they are not the best when it comes to digging to the root of an issue. To really address our society’s issues and problems, we must get down into the trenches and lend a hand. We must teach those we want to inspire how to fish. We must be leaders for our community’s young people and show them how to steer their lives down productive paths. We must model to our young people the value of a life well lived and the importance of using platforms to serve others.
I’ve been putting off the opportunity I have to help young people outside of the university setting for too long. So, today I made a move and applied to become a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. My goal in doing this, is to teach at least one young woman how to fish, and hopefully build a more positive future for her life.
In the summer of 2007, I interned at the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles. CLCLA serves over 40,000 abused and neglected children in Los Angeles County. Then, the waiting list for children to receive a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters was in the thousands. My colleagues and I would often discuss how a particular child client’s life might be steered in a more positive direction if only they could be matched with a mentor.
Will you join me in stepping up and teaching a young person in your community how to fish? Over the next ten days (through February 28), I will be hosting a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer drive. How many people in the #Sports4Good community are willing to teach a young person in their community to fish? How might a couple hours of your life each month improve the outlook of your community’s future?
To motivate you to apply to become a volunteer, I will be raffling off a $50 Visa gift card. To be entered in the raffle, take a screen shot of your completed volunteer application and email it to me at RulingSports@gmail.com. Every person who emails me a completed volunteer application by 11:59 p.m. ET on February 28, 2014 will be entered in a drawing for the gift card. On March 1, 2014, one entrant will be selected at random as the winner. This person will be notified by email.
So, are you going to sit on the shore or are you going to come out to the sea and teach someone to fish? The choice is yours.
I’ll admit it: I snap selfies. Often.
Recently, one of my sorority sisters wrote the following Facebook status:
I’ve taken selfies everywhere from the car to the Super Bowl and the White House to the CNN newsroom. With my broad selfie experience in tow, it was only with minor embarrassment that I answered my friend’s question:
In that answer, though, lies a key takeaway about my millenial generation: The moments we feel worthy of sharing with others aren’t necessarily the ones when we are surrounded by others, but ones of solitude. We are a “me, myself and I” generation, whose boldest and brightest moments are oftentimes punctuated by lengths of time spent alone rather than surrounded by loved ones. Work trips. Soul seeking trips. Designated alone time. The millenial generation’s fascination with selfies is one that demonstrates the culture’s growing ability to separate itself from its surroundings and ignore the people around it. Selfies proclaim, “Look at me” not “Look at what or who is around me.” Selfies define my and my peers’ willingness to disconnect from everything around us in the growing age of connectivity.
Last fall, I spent a pleasantly warm South Beach afternoon lunching at Bianca at the Delano Hotel with fashion company, Peace Love World’s, founder Alina Villasante as I interviewed her for Forbes. As we picked at the last pieces of grilled calamari on our table and pushed around the truffle tagliatelle on our plates, my interview wound down and our conversation quickly turned to my and her publicist’s single status. As Alina’s publicist and I commiserated over dating stories gone terribly bad, Alina chimed in with some advice that was more so insight into our millenial generation. Alina told us that our generation doesn’t pay attention to its surroundings. We are so immersed in our iPhones, our next social media posts and our selfies, that we are out of tune with what’s going on around us. It is that being out of tune, that for many of us, is the cause of our solitude, our singledom and our ultimate inability to connect on a deeper level with those around us. To make her point, Alina turned over her left shoulder and quipped, “Look at that man over there! How handsome is he?! I bet neither of you even noticed him when he walked in!”
She was right. We hadn’t. Neither of us had noticed the model-like man who was sitting mere feet away from us, at a table dining alone. The point Alina had in all of this, was that as my generation is so immersed in itself, we are letting opportunities slip by. And for the most part, those opportunities are good ones. They are opportunities to connect, bond and feel something deeper.
After this conversation with Alina, I began wondering what opportunities I’m missing out on when I am so connected to my phone, social media and myself. What person am I not meeting when I am immersed in these things? What chances are passing me by as I devote my time to these things? How am I not achieving what I am capable of when my attention is turned so deeply inward and into channels where people are not present in person, but online? At the least, what kind of people might I be meeting if instead of snapping pictures of myself, I just hand my iPhone off to a stranger and ask him to take my picture?
In thinking about these questions, I realized that my generation has a problem. The technological globalization of our world has allowed us to surpass communication boundaries in a way that no generation has before. Yet, in the midst of that, we’ve forgotten how to connect with those around us. Our ability to communicate with people thousands of miles away in the blink of an eye has stripped us of our ability to look at the handsome man at the table across from us and say, “Hello.” As we reach for opportunities outside of our surroundings, we are forgetting how to connect with those closest to us. The inability to connect with those nearest to us is the culprit for many of our loneliness, singledom and constant desire for something “more” with someone other than ourselves.
Recognizing these things, what is a millenial to do? Must the selfies stop? Should the communication with those around the world cease? Do we need to approach every attractive single man dining alone? Obviously, the answer to all of those questions (save for maybe the last one, if you have enough cojones) is, “No.”
Rather, like many things, recognizing the connection problem that exists amongst the generation is the first step to addressing the problem. If connecting on deep levels is the problem my generation is facing, then perhaps, we must disconnect. Why don’t we make rules amongst friends to set the iPhones down while dining? Why don’t we scan the room when we enter a restaurant or other public place to see if anyone catches our interest? And if someone does, why don’t we make it a point then and there to connect? And for all the single ladies, why don’t we make a pact to stop snapping selfies, and instead, start asking that handsome someone to snap your picture? Only by disconnecting from ourselves–whether it be surfing the web on our iPhone, promoting ourselves via social media or capturing our God-given beauty through selfless–can we begin reconnecting with others.
Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year in 2013 was “selfie.” How much better might 2014 be, if the word of the year is “together”? Put down your iPhone and start making it happen.
Who knew that six letters and two syllables could turn your world upside down?
In January 2009, while home from law school over Christmas break, I was out at a bar celebrating with friends when my phone rang late in the night. The caller ID read, “Home,” and I remember thinking, “That’s weird. My parents never call this late.”
Despite how loud it was in the bar, I picked up the phone. All I could make out over the loud music was that my Dad was crying. The toughest guy I knew was crying. And because I was somewhere so loud, I couldn’t figure out why. In all honesty, what I made out was, “I’m being arrested.” This only added to my confusion.
Hearing my dad cry and thinking he was being arrested only led me to do one thing: Cry. I burst into tears in the middle of a crowded bar. And when my friends asked me what was going on, I said, “I don’t know. I’m really confused. Can somebody take me home?”
I spent thirty minutes on the drive to my parents’ house in shock and confusion thinking that my Dad was being arrested. It didn’t make sense. My Dad is a good man with a good job with no real vices. Arrested? For what?
When my friends pulled into my parents’ driveway to drop me off, I didn’t see any cop cars, which only added to my confusion. My dad greeted me at the door, obviously shaken up.
It turns out that what I heard as, “I’m being arrested” was actually, “I’m passing blood in my urine.”
In that moment, I was strangely relieved. My dad wasn’t going to jail, after all!
That relief was short-lived, though.
I said, “Well, that doesn’t seem normal. Neither of us is doing anything. Why don’t we head up to the emergency room?”
I drove my Dad the five miles to Lutheran Hospital in the early hours of that morning. We waited for a short time in the waiting room and then got moved back to see a doctor. The doctor ran tests, gave him some medicine and handed him a phone number for an oncologist to call at a more reasonable hour.
Within the week, we got the diagnosis that nobody wants: My dad had cancer.
Six letters. Two syllables. World upside down.
Within days and before we knew the seriousness of his diagnosis, I had to drive back to California to return to law school for my last semester. My dad was the biggest motivation in my life for my pursuing a law degree. I spent all 1,000 miles wavering between tears, anger and confusion over the thought that I didn’t know if he’d make it to my graduation that May.
Each of us has a cancer story. A mother. A father. A grandpa. A 26-year-old sorority sister who cancer took away to heaven too soon.
As a writer, there is nothing I love more than telling a story. Cancer, though, is a story that must end.
It is because I want the story of cancer to end that I have partnered with Coaches vs. Cancer in their Suits and Sneakers Challenge benefitting the American Cancer Society for this month’s #Sports4Good campaign.
Here’s how it works:
On Monday, January 27, basketball coaches and employees alike will be lacing up their sneakers for work. Whether your work wardrobe is a suit, warmups or pair of jeans, by donating $5 or more to the campaign, you earn the right to wear tennis shoes to work on January 27. All donations benefit the American Cancer Society and are tax deductible. You can make your donation by clicking here.
Will you wear sneakers to work with me on January 27? Will you encourage your friends and co-workers to wear sneakers to work, too? Will you skip a latte or a beer or eating just one lunch out so that you can donate $5 to put the story of cancer to an end? Will you share your story of why you want the story of cancer to end?
To keep up with the campaign, be sure to follow the hashtag #Sports4Good on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. There, you will be able to see who is lacing up their shoes to kick cancer where the sun doesn’t shine. And while we may not all agree on sports teams or who will make it to the Final Four, I think it’s safe to say that we ALL can get behind that!
$5. That’s all it takes this month. And given the stories we all have about cancer, I think it’s safe to say that it would be $5 well spent to end this story.
I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest lately.
It started in the “Quotes” section, where I’d pin inspirational messages on a board aptly titled, “Inspiration.”
Then I maneuvered over to the “Food & Drink” section. There, I convinced myself I was the next Rachael Ray, pinning away everything that looked somewhat delectable and as my mom pointed out, a lot of cookie recipes.
From there, my Pinterest sessions took me to places most other women probably frequent on the social media site: ”DIY & Crafts,” “Holidays & Events” and “Weddings.”
In each of these sections, I saw things that I fancied. Beautiful chandeliers. Candle lit celebrations. Gold, sparkly adornments.
As a single woman, or someone who is in the early stages of a relationship, society warns you of not coming on too strong. You are told not to discuss marriage or children too soon for fear of running a man off. You are taught to let him pursue you and to put your desires on the back burner until he decides that he is ready to make a move. You are encouraged to let him make the move related to one of the biggest moments of your life, and propose marriage. As women, we are taught to wait.
I must admit in embarrassment that I subscribe to all of these notions. I’ve never wanted to come on too strong in a relationship for fear of being seen as pushy. I’ve held back stating what I want in a relationship for fear that I wouldn’t be seen as feminine. I’ve waited. Time and time again.
It’s for these reasons that when I poke around on Pinterest and see things I’d like to be present at the wedding I someday hope to have, I don’t pin them to a board excitedly called, “My Wedding!” Rather, they get stuck to one vaguely called, “Event Planning.” The dreams held on that board are disguised by more than the board’s name. I’ve gone far enough to ensure that it’s vague by adding pumpkin decorating ideas and birthday cakes. Society has taught me that I need to be secretive when it comes to one of the greatest desires of my heart, that yes, indeed, someday I hope to get married. And at my wedding, I want to have twinkly lights and hanging chandeliers and long tables filled with friends clinking champagne glasses.
So, I guess now the secret is out. The cat is out of the bag. And hopefully I can land a date in 2014.
In mid-December, with the lull of finals and the excitement of the holidays around me, I found that I had a lot of time to spend on Pinterest. During that time, I kept coming back to these beautiful parties with glitter and gold and sparkles and happy friends. And I kept wishing and dreaming that someday I’d meet my Prince Charming and that someday, we’d get to have a party just like that.
In the midst of all of this dreaming, though, a little voice began to whisper to me. And that little voice said, “Don’t wait.”
Don’t wait to have fun. Don’t wait to celebrate friendships. Don’t wait for happiness. Don’t wait to drink champagne in a room filled with glitter. Just don’t.
So, I got to planning. I created a new Pinterest board, appropriately called “Sparkle.” And onto it, I began pinning every sparkly, glittery, festive thing I could find. I began pulling up recipes and researching champagne cocktail ideas. I worked on putting together a guest list and finding the perfect date. I called my friend Megan, and asked if we could throw a “Sparkle Party” at her house in Denver the first weekend I got home for the holiday break. She said, “Yes!” And we didn’t wait.
In the days leading up to the Sparkle Party, I collected every vase I could find. I sprayed adhesive on them and then proceeded to glitter the living daylights out of them.
I was taken back by beautiful, golden tables that served as champagne bars. So, on the day of the Sparkle Party, we filled Megan’s table with glittered vases holding perfectly pink roses…
and festive mini balloons.
And we lined up bottles and bottles and bottles of champagne accompanied by perfect mixers and petite fruits next to sparkly pom-pom swizzle sticks that I spent an afternoon making.
I used Pinterest to find inspiration for how to decorate for a Sparkle Party. We lined one wall of Megan’s house with a golden sparkle backdrop surrounded by gold and black balloons.
And as Megan and I scurried to get everything set up, the best thing happened: Friends started arriving. And chatter began. And laughter. And music was playing. And we were all so happy. We didn’t wait.
Most people would tell you that when it comes to life, I’m a go-getter. There are some very clear areas in my life, though, where I’ve been waiting. I believe in being patient in finding “the one” and being hopeful in the possibility that that kind of love really can and will find its way into my life.
At this age, though, when I’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid eight times, it becomes very easy to begin to want to quit waiting. It begins to become very attractive to succumb to the idea of, “Well, maybe that’s just not for me; maybe I’ll never get to have my fairytale day.” It becomes too easy to build Pinterest boards called, “Event Planning.”
While the man of my dreams and that wedding day still awaits me, what I’ve learned, is that life doesn’t. You don’t have to wait for the perfect relationship to find happiness. You do not have to wait for a wedding day to have a celebration–sparkles, glitter, champagne and all.
Life–and happiness–awaits you right now. And in this New Year, it is my resolution to cherish that notion and to believe in it with all of my heart. And perhaps, to throw some more really, really awesome parties as a celebration of it.
So, my friends, cheers to a New Year! May you find it to be your happiest yet.
This past spring, I visited the Denver Press Club to have dinner with the club’s president. As we sat there, I told him about a big media opportunity that was knocking on my door. The thing, though, was that I needed more TV reps to have a better chance at getting it.
He said, “So, what are you doing to get those reps?” I told him I had emailed every contact I could think of in TV. I was grateful for the opportunities these people offered me to come and be on their shows. In all honesty, they were all so generous. Still, though, I didn’t have enough reps for the great opportunity at my door. Explaining this, I said, “I’m a very religious person. I have faith that what will be will be. As long as I have done the best I can, that’s all I can do.”
He looked befuddled.
Some six months later, I still stand by that response.
What will be, will be.
And won’t, will not.
I’ve been questioning my own faith a lot lately. I’m on the cusp of some big decisions. There are some big things, too, that I’d like to happen in my life. The last year has been challenging. It’s been filled with goodbyes and hellos and one cross-country move.
Last night I laid down to bed with my heart spinning. I can feel so much waiting at my doorstep, but none of it seems to be coming in. I’m in the frustrating spot called flux. It’s enough to drive someone crazy. And if you’re me, crazy means tears. Ugly, tired, painful tears.
I’ve decided, though, that’s where faith comes in.
Faith is the place where you stop fighting. Faith is the point you reach where you hand over the reins and say, “I cannot control this.”
Faith is not being idle. Faith is not refusing to take action. Faith is not expecting things to happen without your participation.
When I think back to the points in my life where I’ve felt this collision of chaos where life felt uncertain, one thing has always rang true: Life worked out. Not only did it work out, but it worked out in a way that far exceeded any expectation I created for my life.
One of my favorite quotes is a Bible verse. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”
That verse is so powerful to me, because it re-instills in me the belief that if there is an honest hope in my heart for something, faith will give me an answer for that hope. That answer may not be the thing I hoped for itself, but may come in the form of something that is better suited for me.
So today, I’ve decided to make a big, bold step. I’m choosing faith over fear. I’m powerless to fear. Yet, faith defeats fear. Its powers are limitless.
How would your life improve if you chose faith over fear? And what will it take for you to hand over the reins?