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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Center Street (January 6, 2009)
Bob Beaudine is the president and CEO of Eastman & Beaudine and recognized as the top Sports/Entertainment search executive in the U.S. Beaudine also serves as a member of the SMU Cox School of Business Associate Board. Bob and his wife, Cheryl, have been married for 24 years and have three grown daughters.
Visit the author's website.
List Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Center Street (January 6, 2009)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
“Sixty- nine percent of the country believes that a bad day at the beach is better than a good day at work.”
Just as we aren’t born with all the skills we need, neither are we were born with a strategy for living. We learn about life by living it, by pushing out on life while life pushes back on us. This is how we create our own space. Old sayings are still around because they usually contain an element of truth. “Life begins at 40” is one we’ve all heard. It’s true because the first 20 years of your life is programmed and controlled by others. The next 20 years is often spent working out a lot of the stuff that was put in during the first 20. Somewhere around 40 you begin to take ownership of your life. It’s here that youthful dreams begin to reawaken. It’s also here where you discover that some of your old strategies for living are going to need realignment if you’re to successfully pursue your dreams and goals.
All our lives we’ve been told that if we work hard, keep our head down, and mind our P’s and Q’s, everything will eventually work out. Really? If that were true, then what happened to our dream? What I hear more often in my role as an executive recruiter is something like, “I’m no closer to my dream than I was yesterday. If anything, it feels even further away. I feel stuck—stuck in a rut.”
But there’s the paradox. My life is filled with so many good things already. I’m blessed. Sometimes I may even feel a little guilty about wanting something more. But that’s actually part of the problem. The things I’m blessed with are the very things that crowd out the dream. My life is filled to overflowing. I’m like an aircraft carrier with so much stuff on the deck there’s no room left for anything else to land. I know the dream is still out there, but it’s become a little fuzzy. It’s just not as clear. A lot of this stuff on my deck needs to be moved somewhere else or just tossed overboard. I sometimes find myself wondering, “Can I even get there from here anymore? Can I make enough money in my current job, which I don’t particularly like, so that I can start doing what I always wanted to do?” The short answer is, “Probably not.”
Here’s more bad news. Only a small percentage of people actually end up living their dream. You may have asked yourself on more than one occasion, “Why that person and not me?” I’ve heard that question asked many times over many years in countless interviews. Surprisingly, I’ve discovered that individuals who are willing to make even a few slight course corrections were able to alter the entire trajectory of their lives. At first a lot of these people thought they needed an extreme makeover, but the good news is that just a small change in strategy makes all the difference.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
“Inside each and every one of us is our True Authentic Swing, something we were born with, something that’s ours and ours alone, something that can’t be taught or learned, something that’s got to be remembered.”
—The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
Hidden somewhere between laws and principles are universal powers that most people not only ignore but are unaware even exist. These silent powers have tremendous influence in our lives every day. For example, love is neither a law nor a principle but no one would deny its force and impact on our lives. “The Power of Love” is so dominant its felt and experienced by all people everywhere. Another universal power is Darkness. It renders us unable to see. The only way to overcome “The Power of Darkness” is with light. Interestingly, light can be measured but not darkness.
But there is yet another unseen power that works with equal or even greater force than love or darkness. It operates below the surface of our conscious awareness but with such profound force that it must be considered one of the supreme concealments of all time. This force is “The Power of Forgetfulness.” It can secretly overtake our thoughts and emotions like a giant glacier silently advancing through a canyon. “The Power of Forgetfulness” can be all-encompassing as in people with Alzheimer’s disease or other kinds of dementia. Or, it can be as benign as not remembering where you left your keys. In its more subtle and dangerous forms, however, it can undermine our dreams and professional lives in often devastating ways.
Imagine you’re in a science fiction movie. You’re on a university campus walking down a large hall on your way to class. But your schedule is so overloaded you’ve become confused and disoriented. You can’t remember where your next class is or even your professor’s name. Suddenly you hear a strange noise coming from behind. You turn to see a huge, black blob rolling toward you overtaking everything in its path. The “Power of Forgetfulness” operates in much the same way. In the midst of our full schedules and demanding priorities it rolls into our minds causing us to forget the truly important things in life. A divorce, loss of a job, death of a loved one and other crises only serve to increase the “Power of Forgetfulness.”
For example, the person who just got laid off after 15 years is experiencing some level of trauma. The degree of this anxiety is exacerbated by the fact that this person just read in today’s newspaper that 6000 other people in the same field also just lost their jobs. Now they’re all going to be out there looking for new employment. The feeling of being threatened is as old as the cave man with his fight or flight reactions. Only today, instead of running from or putting a spear into a saber tooth tiger, our eyes start darting back and forth as our thoughts become flashing questions exploding in our mind’s eye like a 4th of July fireworks display, “What am I going to do now?” “Will I be able to find another job?” “What are people going to think about me?” These are fear questions that tend to paralyze. They all lead to the same emotional place: isolation and fear. But hold it! Wait a minute! The truth is you’re not alone, you’re not isolated.
When we’re feeling threatened it can become very difficult to tell ourselves the truth. The fog rolls in and takes up residence in our minds and we’re not able to think clearly. Hence the term, “I’ve been in a fog.” It’s like you need a red light on the dashboard of your brain that starts flashing whenever you get fearful, fretful or forgetful. This blinking red light is an “anti-blob” device that sends you an instant message that says, “You are about to be overtaken by the “Power of Forgetfulness.” You’re in danger of losing yourself. Stop immediately and call a “Who” friend.”
What is a “Who” friend?
A “Who” friend will call a halt to fearful thinking by insisting we stop listening to our own negative self-talk. In the face of those lies they will start speaking truth, the truth about your value and uniqueness, the truth about your accomplishments, and the truth about the value of your dreams and goals.
A “Who” friend will intercept you on the dark path you’ve taken and redirect your steps back onto the path of light. They know you, care for you and will remind you that you have a future and a hope.
A “Who” friend knows your true identity and won’t let you forget it. When the “Power of Forgetfulness” tries to roll in like a blob – you need your “Who.”
Many of us have gotten sidetracked and forgotten our original dream, spending our lives doing derivative work. This memory lapse has become epidemic. We have less and less time to calmly think about the direction our lives have taken and reflect on our current course.
Like those “black holes” out in space that suck in everything around them, the obligations and busyness of our everyday lives can drain our energy and take up all our time. In the process, our true desires can get diminished and we begin to forget. The “Power of Forgetfulness” has affected too many otherwise successful people. When you forget your “True Authentic Swing,” you can be drawn, inexorably, into an apathetic attitude that breeds cynicism—the tool of the lazy thinker.
Lucy tells the hapless Charlie Brown:
“You know Charlie; life is like a deck chair. Some people place their deck chair so they can see where they’re going. Some turn it around to see where they’ve been. Others, Charlie, place their deck chair right in the middle of the action to see what’s going on all around them.” Charlie sighs and says, “I’m just trying to get mine unfolded!”
Some of us are a lot like Charlie. We’re so busy just dealing with job and life issues that we can forget some of the important things so essential to who we truly are. You’ve probably had the experience of checking your pockets, looking around because you sense you’ve forgotten something. But you just can’t think of what it could be. Perhaps it’s a distant dream that’s still alive, so the sensation keeps popping up, but it’s been so long since you’ve consciously thought about it that you no longer connect the sensation to the dream. Is it possible that you once dreamed of living a different life than the one you’re living now but just can’t remember—something for which you’re uniquely and wonderfully “wired?” As an executive recruiter who has talked with literally thousands of job seekers over the years, I can tell you there are many, many individuals who are seeking something else but missing something more.
A Lesson in Destiny
Perhaps there has been a time in your life when you felt you shouldn’t try to accomplish what you always wanted to do because it looked like the odds of succeeding were against you. Don’t be discouraged when a door is closed. It’s simply a message telling you that this isn’t the right one for you. Stay alert. There’s another one opening that will lead to you to something better.
I met George W. in 1983 while planning a political event for his dad (then vice-president) and President Ronald Reagan. We couldn’t get either of the two fathers to come speak at our event, so we did the next best thing—we invited their kids: George W. and Maureen Reagan. When my wife, Cheryl, and I picked up George W. at Love Field in Dallas, I expected to see Secret Service and an entourage of helper bees swarming the Vice President’s son. But to my surprise, there was no one with him. The future President of The United States came off that Southwest Airlines flight from Midland, Texas, wearing the basic uniform of a Texas oilman: a blue work shirt and jeans. He even carried a backpack. George was down to earth, charismatic and had an engaging smile. It wasn’t long before he made Cheryl and me feel like we were his closest friends, partly by his endearing style of calling me “Bobby” instead of Bob. Nobody had called me a nickname since college. Through the years, this term of affection went from Bobby to “Bobby Boy.” We hosted George throughout the event. Watching him, my wife and I both commented that he seemed naturally gifted with the skills needed for this type of political fund-raising event. He made friends easily and seemed like he cared about those he met. He also had one exceptional skill that cannot be learned. When he first meets you, he has the rare ability to create a special moment just between the two of you. He would put a hand on your shoulder or tell a story or a joke as if it were meant just for you. Had I been more perceptive perhaps I would have recognized some of the clues that indicated greater things to come in George W’s future.
Over the next three to four years I would run into him at the airport as we were both headed to New York on business. He would always say, “Let’s sit together,” and he would share what was going on in his oil business and later the beginnings of his role in his dad’s campaign for the presidency. George W. had been asked to join his dad’s inside tactical team, and he was very passionate about that role. When he talked about it you could sense his energy rising. At that same time I was slowly moving my search practice towards sports. Since sports was one of his passions, he loved hearing about the type of assignments I was handling for the NBA, PGATour, USTA or Major League Baseball. We would share cabs to our respective meetings or hotels and then go our separate ways.
Within three years George W. became managing partner of the Texas Rangers. He loved America’s greatest pastime. He was the one who recruited Nolan Ryan to pitch for the Rangers which, to George, was like getting Billy Graham to join your local church. After several years as owner of the Texas Rangers, he started being encouraged to make a run for governor of Texas. Simultaneously, the announcement hit the papers that I had been selected to handle the search for the commissioner of baseball. Next day, I received a phone call from George W. giving me a hearty “Congratulations, Bobby Boy!” He invited me to come over to his office at the Ballpark in Arlington to talk about the search.
Following a long discussion about the game of baseball, he turned the conversation in a different, more serious direction. He told me he was in a tough predicament and had to make a decision quickly. The decision to be made was whether to begin a run for governor against the very popular incumbent, Anne Richards, or try to land the job as commissioner of baseball. “Bobby-boy,” he said,
“You might as well get me the commissioner’s job because I don’t think I can beat Anne Richards.”
—George W. Bush
Amazing, huh? The man who would become President of the United States for two terms almost made the wrong choice. He was seeking something else but missing something more. After some very detailed research I came back to George W. to report that the timing seemed to be wrong to pursue the job as commissioner. About that same time Karl Rove, his closest aide, had been doing his own research and concluded that the timing was right for a run for the governor’s office.
What if you and I could slip inside a time machine and go back to my meeting with George W. What if when he said that he didn’t think he could win the governorship, we said, “Whoa! George, we’ve seen the future and you’re going to win the governorship not once but twice. Then you’re going to run for President and win that twice!” He probably would have said, “You guys are crazy. I can’t beat Anne let alone win the presidency. Have you forgotten I’m the son of a President? You know the odds of my winning? Besides, I have a past.” Then we would say, “Yes, but none of that matters because you’re destined to become president.”
It’s interesting to look back and see how the patterns woven into the fabric of our circumstances have led us to where we are now. Listen, if the guy who became President almost missed the clues to his destiny, it’s easy to see how we could make the same mistake. The point of this story is: if you’re going to fulfill your destiny in life you’re going to need some wise friends and advisors to help you see a vision of your future that, perhaps, you can’t see yourself.
Setting a Course and Sticking To It
One of the big lies many of us tell ourselves is that our current position in life disqualifies us from achieving our dreams and goals. Some of the common phrases I’ve heard are, “It’s too late for me. I’m too old.” Or, “I’m too young,” or “I’m too…” whatever. Is that true? No! It’s absolutely not true. You’re never too early or too late in life to begin walking on the pathway of your dream. One thing is absolutely certain: the future is on the way. Ready or not, here it comes.
The only really important question you need to answer is:
What am I doing right now to steer my life in the direction of the future I truly desire?
In sailing, when you set a course for a destination, it’s necessary to stay on course until you arrive. Bad weather might blow you off course temporarily but, as soon as possible, you re-establish the correct heading. The same is true of your destiny. Set the course of your desired future and stick to it. Many don’t. They start out with the best of intentions but when the “winds of life” blow them off course they just go with the flow and never get back on track. Because of “forgetfulness,” you can lose your ability to watch carefully, and so end up just taking life as it comes…or worse, crashing on the rocks.
Discernment is the ability to see things deeply—beyond the obvious and below the surface. A hawk soars along hunting for prey hiding in the brush. Because of its extraordinary eyesight the hawk sees what’s hidden just under the ground clutter and gets his reward. Much of life is camouflaged. Discernment is like having the eyes of a hawk. It enables you to see below the surface of things. If you’re going to successfully traverse the unpredictable, often rough and treacherous waters of life you’ll need the ability to read the currents below.
You’re heading somewhere right now. Life is in motion. Do you like your current direction? Who’s steering the ship of your life? Do you have a firm grip on the wheel or have you been on auto-pilot for so long you forgot where you were supposed to be going?
It’s way too depressing and frustrating to have dreams, goals and a vision for where you want to go but no way to get there - or even an inkling of how to get started.
Take hold of the wheel, you’re closer than you think…