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45 Days and Beyond

Point to Ponder:

What choices do you need to make in order to truly have a seize the day mindset?

I believe the allure of the New Year is having a fresh, hopeful and enthusiastic opportunity to begin again and experience more mountain top moments than the year before. January 1st may in fact be the most optimistic and opportunistic day of the year. On that particular day, everything feels possible but did you know that statistics tell us by Valentine’s Day 92% of our Near Years Resolutions will be forgotten? By February 14, 45 days after we begin, real-life has set in and the hope of the mountain top moments often becomes a distant memory. Maybe this phenomenon isn’t because we aren’t disciplined or focused, but rather it’s because we are made more for the journey than the mountain top moments.

Being “made for journey rather than mountain top moments” are not my words. I wish I could claim the credit, but they are the words of Dabo Swinney, the head football coach for the Clemson Tigers. He will lead his team against the Alabama Crimson Tide tomorrow night for the National Championship title. Given this is Dabo’s 3rd time leading his team to the National Championship game, you’d likely assume his life is nothing but mountain top moments, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Dabo is the youngest of three sons and after graduating high school his mother divorced his father, due to his father’s alcoholism and violence. Prior to his parents divorcing, he would avoid his father by sleeping in the family car. After his mom divorced his father, they entered into a a very difficult financial season. He and his mom house hopped, staying with family and friends and living in motels. As a student at The University of Alabama and a walk-on on the football team, he afforded school by working odd jobs, receiving federal grants and using credit cards. In addition, because his mom was unable to afford a place of her own, he invited her to live with him and his college roommate, in a their two bedroom apartment. Not only did his mom live with him, but they shared a room..and a bed! As a college student and football player, can you imagine sharing an apartment and bed with your mom? In his words, it was family. It was his Mom. It was the cards he was dealt he made the best of it. Despite being described as “an average player”, his coach said he was a good leader and had a lot of heart. This eventually earned him a scholarship and during the final game of the 1993 season, which was also his senior year, Alabama defeated Miami to win the National Championship. Following college, he went on to get his graduate degree while being a graduate assistant at Alabama. To coach for Alabama was his lifelong dream, however the staff was eventually fired, which caused him to stop coaching for two years and begin a career in commercial real estate. In 2003, he was hired as Clemson’s wide receivers coach and was eventually named the head coach.

Beyond extreme poverty and plenty of adversity, I believe what makes Dabo Swinney so successful and his story so inspiring is his steadfast faith, unwaivering spirit and ability to make Carpe Diem a life-long habit. As one of his college teammates said, “He’s always seized the moment and lived every day to the fullest.” Despite hardship and pain he is tirelessly enthusiastic, incredibly grateful, and extremely optimistic. Fortunately his father became sober in 1997 and they were able to reconcile their relationship. Although his father passed this summer from lung cancer, after living in Dabo’s basement, the two men seized their days together by going for rides in Dabo’s pick-up truck, attending his son’s baseball games and watching TV together in the comfort of their boxers. Yet again, Dabo made the most of the situation and exhibited his Carpe Diem way of living. Dabo said during the year with his Dad, they enjoyed some of the happiest times of their lives.

As we begin the first full week of January 2019, I encourage you to enter into each day with less emphasis on the mountain top moments and more on the daily journey. If you can focus on finding the joy in the journey, even better! Successful people do consistently what other people do occasionally, and with our life being the sum total of all of the small decisions we make, making the decision to consistently approach everyday (not just Jan 1), hopeful, opportunistic, grateful, enthusiastic and optimistic is a sure fire way to truly have an amazing New Year. Carpe Diem and Go Tigers!


Action Item

Identify one thing you need to change to so you can consistently seize the day and give yourself the opportunity to make this a great year.

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