A joy and pain of coaching is when athletes transition from working with us to what’s next.
In some cases, we have spent years with the young man or woman, doing athletics, fitness/nutrition and life together. We play the role of coach, but often also big brother/sister, and in some cases a paternal figure. The Actualize mission is accomplished when we have contributed a verse in empowering the individual to actualize their purposes and potential in athletics and life—which means they have to leave us at some point to make their goals a reality, whether for a sporting season or the rest of their life.
It’s a bitter-sweet transition because we love the people we coach and there is a sense of relational loss. However, there is a superseding expectation and joy for what the individual will accomplish in the days ahead, and a great sense of honor that we have been invited to be a part of their journey.
One of my favorite parts of coaching is when we speak to athletes several years after working with us and they talk about how their training with Actualize was used as a metaphor to uncover and incubate their core values and gifts, and equip them to be successful men, women, sons/daughters, parents, leaders, business owners and world-changers.
It makes our day when athletes drop by to say hello, or when we receive phone calls, emails and texts like the one below from Grady Miller. Grady, a former Wenatchee High School multi-sport scholar-athlete, began working with Actualize in 2015.
Grady, a 515 pound deadlift is an insane deadlift increase…180 pounds! Click here to watch the video on our Facebook page.
As I shared above, our mission is accomplished when what we do goes beyond big deadlifts, increased athleticism and performance enhancement, injury reduction, etc. and also correlates to life. When I received this text from Grady, I congratulated him and shared a few encouraging words, and asked about how he’s doing in school and baseball. What I did not express to him over text is how him reaching out to me to share his success tugged at my heart, and how his role in my life has empowered me to actualize more of my purposes and potential.
Back in 2015, Grady’s goal was simple. I remember Grady and his father, Mark, sitting on my living room couch the fall of 2015. Grady said, “I intend to play college baseball and I’m ready to do what it takes to make that a reality.”
What the text above doesn’t share is the difficult season Grady was going through. His father and family were dealing with a terminal cancer diagnosis. I remember thinking during our meeting, “This kid is amazingly strong. He could shrink back from his dream, and the huge investment of time and energy we require out of our athletes, and it would be very justifiable because the pain and the need to support his family is as real as it gets.” Grady’s father recognized his son’s goals and could not be more supportive.
Unseen and intertwined in Grady’s sharing above is the process I saw Grady undergo over the time we spent together pursuing his purposes and potential. There’s a powerful story and adventure he underwent that I’m going to share minus the details of his life. I don’t regularly offer thoughts on my faith through articles like this, but as I contemplate the power of Grady’s story, I feel prompted to offer some thoughts on why I think Grady’s process is all of our process. And if you’re not a believer, I hope you are encouraged by the universal truths at the heart of my sharing.
Purpose, Potential & Vision
God gives every one of us a unique purpose and potential. As we explore and discover what these are, it is God’s delight to give us the desires of our heart that He put there like buried treasure for us to find. To move us toward our heart’s desire, we are given the gift of vision to see ahead, in faith, to a not-yet-actualized reality.
We are at a crossroad at this point. We are presented a powerful gift and decision—permissibility. All is permissible, but not all is beneficial. We have the permission and choice to shrink back from our vision, or activate faith by moving toward the unseen to make our purpose and potential into action and fact.
As we all know, it’s not a matter of if we will encounter adversity—it’s a matter of when and how we handle it. I believe one of the great measures of man or woman is how adversity is handled. And while God is not the author of adversity nor the pain and suffering of this world, in His goodness, He allows these things to enter into our lives precisely because of the gift of permissibility and choice. In other words, what we choose matters, and the attached blessings and curses have affected all of our lives since the dawn of time.
But having vision and adding adversity isn’t enough. As the testimony of all of our lives shares, we’ve all shrunk back from our dreams at some point instead of move forward. God is up to more, there is a mountain to climb.
Hunger/Passion & Perseverance
One way we know if the purpose, potential and heart’s desire we are pursuing is real, is if the gift of hunger/passion comes alongside vision. It takes vision to show us a prophetic picture of the unseen reality of what we want and sight to see the steps along the way, but we will not head up nor endure the rigors of the mountain’s adversity without hunger/passion. The climb always presents trials and temptations through adversity, and hunger/passion fuels us to utilize the gift of perseverance through the blood, sweat and tears required.
Hunger/passion and perseverance are critical. This is where God does a master work. We are not only fueled to get to the top of the mountain through the bumps, bruises, missteps and falls of the journey’s adversity, but we are equipped each step of the way with the required identity, skill and authority to bear and actualize the weight of the responsibility of our vision, purpose and potential.
Sharing Our Purpose & Potential
Once we begin actualizing our vision, purpose, potential and heart’s desire–through passionately persevering and overcoming adversity, and increasing in our ownership of identity through actively learning we have what it takes–the skills and authority to bear the weigth of the responsibilty of our vision, purpose and potential can be shared with others. In fact, I believe the process shared above is all about getting to this point.
Actualizing our purpose and potential makes us come alive. As Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” God gives us purpose, potential and our heart’s desire to bring a joyfully, abundant life. Also, I believe we are not supposed to actualize these things for ourselves alone, but to share them with humanity to make the world a better place. I would contend there is nobody on the planet that has your unique purpose and potential. If you don’t set out on the journey to discover and actualize what you were created to bear and share, something very powerful will be lost to the world. Imagine a world of people living fully alive from their purpose and potential!
The process above (minus a bunch of personal information) is what Grady underwent to not only actualize his goal of playing college baseball but handle the unfortunate passing of his father, while not shrinking back from his vision and becoming prepared to handle the weight and responsibility to make his dream a reality.
Grady, I know your dad is so very proud of you!
The cool thing about pursuing purpose and potential is that it’s an ideal. There are many mountains (in each category of our life) along the journey. There is no end point, there’s always more. Grady actualized his goal of playing college baseball, and he’s now committed to playing a level higher at the University of San Diego next Fall. With a 92 MPH fast ball as a lefty (first 82 when he started at Actualize), I’m thinking professional baseball might be a purpose and potential Grady’s exploring now?!
Grady, I’m so very proud of you, you have what it takes brother! I love being included in your journey while you’re away, and especially enjoy seeing you in the summer months to get you prepared for the school year.
Click below to see Grady’s progress on his Actualize Sports Featured Athlete Page:
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Actualize Your Purpose & Potential