Eric, when you get this message can you please call me? Zoi was suspended from school today.
This is what my ex-wife called me about one day about eight years ago when Zoi was in junior high school. Turns out that Zoi was at her locker in between classes and she was trying to put some books in her book bag and her friend was walking by. As a way to say hi she thought it would be cool just to, kaboom, punch him square right in the crotch, which subsequently dropped her friend to the ground and then he had to go to the ER for an evaluation.
I was really worried… Her mom and I were really worried because in this day and age of people filing lawsuits and getting really upset about things like this, we didn't know which way it was going to go. Fortunately, Zoi's friend knew that it wasn't anything mean and I'm sure that he told his mom and dad. And, they were probably like, "It's fine. Just as long as you're okay everything's cool."
Zoi felt pretty bad about it, but they cleared things up. The only thing I knew is that Zoi had a good right cross. The only consequence that Zoi got from this was that she was suspended a couple days from school as a matter of protocol. They knew that she wasn't even doing anything to be harmful.
But, that was Zoi in real life too, she never pulled her punches. I'm talking about the kind of punches where commitment is made.
A lot of times in life when we're faced with challenges and struggles and other things that come at us, we're unsure of ourselves, we're un-confident. Sometimes we're unwilling to actually get into the arena and face that challenge that's ahead of us. Look, I've been there. There have been many times in my life when I have been faced with a challenge that was so difficult that I backed away from it because I didn't have anything to, any confidence. I wasn't sure about anything, I didn't know what I was doing and I certainly didn't want to face the fear of getting into the arena.
When I lost Zoi about four year ago something inside of me changed with regards to what I wanted to commit to for a path of healing. I wanted to be different. I wanted it to be a path that had a brighter future for me and the only way that I could articulate that at the time was to say that we have to fight for our better days which are ahead of us.
I know Zoi made commitment to making positive impacts with everybody that she was around, everybody that she met. She kind of did this in a few ways that I'd love to share with you.
- The first thing that she did was that she always inspired and she gave people hope. This was something that she did with her friends and a lot of her friends told me about this after she had died.
- When you met Zoi for the first time she wanted to establish a deep connection with you right away. For Zoi, it was all about the relationship.
- Most importantly though, I think Zoi gave all of herself generously even when she wasn't at 100%.
To me, those three things have left such a huge impact in our life that I feel like she's still throwing punches that are landing today.
Let’s look at what life is like when we do pull our punches, when we do back away from a commitment.
- One, we live a life of mediocrity. We become victims to the world around us.
- We feel lost and we have no purpose.
- We sit in the stands as a spectator and we make comments about the men, and women, and the kids who are in the arena playing with everything that they've got.
To me, that's no way to live life. That's what's at stake here.
If we punch like Zoi, with everything we've got, and we give everything we've got to others many changes can happen in our life. When we inspire and give hope, when we go that extra mile and everything we do it's awesome because, frankly, it's not busy at that extra mile, there's not many people there. We love a little bit more in our family and friendships when we do punch as hard as we can.
As my friend, mentor, and a former Green Beret, Lieutenant Colonel Scott Mann would say, "We've become a leader without a title." That's someone who is willing to commit to something that is much bigger than they are and without wanting attention, recognition or reward. They literally and figuratively punch above their weight.
I feel like Zoi was that way and I also feel like we were meant to punch like Zoi, not pulling anything but hitting as hard as we can. To me, that's thriving in life.
Overcome adversity and build the resilience leader in you.
Struggle is inevitable. And, inside of any struggle we face lies the opportunity to navigate our way through it and thrive because of it. We ask questions that must be answered in order for us to move forward to the other side of that struggle. We cannot look outside of ourselves for the answers. We have to look inside.
When we are empowered to answer these questions, we build the toolset that helps us not just survive the struggle, but to thrive when we are in it. By a process I call MAPS, you too can address struggle in all aspects of your life including the workplace and at home. This is the process I use daily, and it has helped me navigate some of the most difficult struggles I've faced in life.