This year's Olympic gymnastic events have been riveting and fun. Our children watch with stars in their eyes, dreaming of their own great feats. We watch with heart in our throats, groaning at every mishap - remembering our own trips through failure.
If you watch the gymnasts carefully, you will find that most of the mistakes happen for one of a few reasons. These reasons parallel problems in real life. Are you ready to face your moment of truth? Have you prepared to face these problems of life?
1. Balance. This is foundational. Even the best gymnasts have an off day, but if you are out of balance, you will find the ground rushing up at you much faster than normal. Your life consists of different parts - physical, social, mental and spiritual. Don't neglect any part of your preparation and training. Take time to exercise, interact with friends, learn and grow, and know God.
Closely associated with balance is purpose. Are you doing what you were made to do? If not, you will feel out of balance. Take time to find your strengths, and begin doing what you were meant to do. You will find that life balance is much easier to maintain if you have purpose.
2. Transitions. There is a moment in the balance beam where the gymnast loses sight of the beam. In these moments of transition, serious things can go wrong. William Bridges tells us that transitions have three parts:
- knowing what you are letting go of, and letting go of it
- feeling out of whack, like a ship at sea in a storm without instruments
- new direction
Each part of the process is important. You have to leave the beam with purpose before you can float through the air. You have to stay facing forward while your body whirls around, and you have to land - finding new direction. In life's transitions, it is the middle part that is so important. In this part, you redefine who you are without what you lost. Out of this redefinition comes your new direction.
3. Crisis. In the men's gymnastic event, we watched in disbelief when Orozco's pant leg got caught under his hand, making him miss part of his routine. What do you do when crises hit? Do you lose all focus, or are you centered enough to overcome the event and keep yourself on target? Three things can be done in preparation of events:
- Know who you are. You are on this earth for a reason. If you don't know why, even little crises will bump you off course.
- Know what you are made to do. If you were made to be a gymnast, then every crises is an opportunity to shine. If you weren't, then crises will sink you. We get our "push through" from our sense of purpose and belonging.
- Get encouragers. Make sure you have people around you that will tell you the truth AND dig you out of a hole.
4. Stick the landing. Don't give up. Give life everything you have, no matter if you face mistakes, crises, or even basic transitions. Every day is a new opportunity to shine. Give it your all, all the way to the end.
Like the great Olympic gymnasts, doing great at the moment of truth has more to do with how you practice every day that anything else. Take time every day to think through your balance, purpose, transition planning, crisis management and end game. You are here for a reason. You might not get the accolades of a star, but the world needs you to do your part.