TIME OUT!

I was so confident – so assured – so wrong!

As the opposition’s best hitter readied himself in the batter’s box, Coach called, “Time Out!”  “Rob, let’s walk this guy and go after the guy on deck.”

“Coach, best hitter or not, I own this guy!”

So with confidence I threw and with confidence, he swung.  In milliseconds I realized that his swing was greater than my confidence.

No-one needed to tell me I should have been more receptive to what the coach had to say.

Every so often life reminds us that we call a Time Out on it or it calls a Time Out on us.  These life pauses are to help us assess where we are and where we are going.

If we are wise, we will initiate time outs to re-assess, re-align, then re-engage.

Re-assessment examines our life purpose.

Due to his brother’s death, a sorrowful Alfred Nobel slept poorly.  Upon waking, Nobel scanned the paper hoping to take some comfort in how his brother would be remembered.   His sorrow turned to shock then utter dismay.

There in print was his obituary.   A reporter erred by reporting the death of the wrong brother.  Alfred saw himself as the world saw him – the “Dynamite King,” the great industrialist who, as the merchant of death, made an immense fortune from explosives. His efforts to promote peace and understanding were completely ignored.

Given this gift to re-assess his life, Nobel resolved that the world would know his life’s purpose. Ever since, Nobel’s endowment has honored those who promote science, literature, and peace for the good of mankind.

Re-assessing our purpose requires asking some hard, “Why’s” in order to determine what defines our lives.  Is our target – contribution or accumulation?

Re-assessment requires awareness, Re-alignment requires decision.

 “Why?” may be a great question for self-assessment but it is a terrible question for re-alignment.

–  Try asking your adolescent “Why?” for an explanation of a broken curfew

–  Try asking your salesman “Why?” after he just lost your best client

–  Try asking your husband “Why?” after he forgot that special anniversary

The adolescent defends.  The salesman blames.  And, the smart husband runs.

At best, “Why?” provides explanation not exploration.

Re-alignment requires course corrections – no excuses and no blame.  This necessitates moving from judgment to curiosity – changing “Why?’s” to “What’s”, “How’s?, and “Help me understand ….”

“What could we have done differently …?”   “How did we misunderstand his needs and ours?”  “How can I make course corrections …?”

Finally, re-engaging requires action. 

Time Outs are called to equip us for Time In.  These life pauses aren’t to disqualify us from the game rather they are to help us compete more effectively in the game.

For this to occur, we must see things as they need to be seen.  This means adjustments not white flags.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright recalls, as a 9 year old, walking across a snow-covered field with his no-nonsense uncle.   After a time, his uncle turned and pointed out the footprints.  “Frank, notice how your tracks wander aimlessly from the fence to the cattle to the woods and back again and see how mine aim directly to my goal. There is an important lesson in that.”

Years later Wright wryly observed, “I determined right then, not to — miss most things in life, as my uncle had.”

As you re-engage from your Time Outs, get back in the game not losing sight of what your pause times have taught.  Re-assess, re-align then re-engage with a joy-filled purpose that makes Time In worth living.

What lessons have you learned during the Time Out’s of your life?

Copyright © 2012 www.RobInrig.com. All Rights Reserved.

I welcome your responses and stories.  Submissions are made with the understanding that they may be freely and without obligation be used in any future publications.

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