Did You Ever Think It Might Be A Blessing?Jun 03, 2013
Abrupt change, “bad things” happening, unexpected setbacks or transitions of all kinds are part of living. Two stories of unexpected setbacks or catastrophic events drew me to think about how we can face unimaginable trauma and discover the blessing.
The first story is about Robert Griffin III, a dynamic, rookie quarterback playing in the National Football League. Nicknamed, RG3, he is a graduate of Baylor University, is a Heisman Trophy winner, and was selected number two in the NFL draft. His talent is exceptional especially his ability to run something quarterbacks usually don’t do. In a play this past season, he was running full tilt and was tackled (he didn’t slide). His right leg whipped forward with such force, his knee completely hyperextended. The team captain heroically got up, hopping on one leg executed another play before going down again. The Superbowl playoffs were the next game. He attempted to play. Tackled again, his already injured knee completely gave out. Torn knee ligaments (ACL and LCL)—six months minimum rehabilitation. A possible career-ending injury.
RG3 was interviewed on local TV recently. The reporter asked all the obvious questions: How’s the rehabilitation going? Will you be ready to play? How’s the knee feel? How’s spring practice? One of his responses piqued my interest. He described how his injury was forcing him to get deeper into the mental part of the game. With the rehabilitation limitations, he realized that he could focus on learning his entire playbook and mentally sharpen his approach to playing the game. So why did I find this so intriguing? He could have lamented the lack of physical activity or spend time worrying about the major rehabilitation process after a knee reconstruction. But he didn’t. He chose what he could do–strengthen his mental skill and understanding of the football plays. The blessing of a knee injury enabled him to strengthen his mental approach to the quarterback role.
The second story is powerful. This past weekend in DC, an adaptive rowing program launched at the Stonewall Regatta. Paul Hurley’s story is inspiring. A Navy veteran, Hurley lost a leg in 2006. He speaks of isolating himself, feeling sorry at his traumatic life change. How many of us could overcome the loss of a limb…and all that most likely led to the loss? Another veteran thought that his choices and opportunities were limited as a paraplegic, but found his world was expanded and enlarged through rowing.
Paul Hurley’s statement was powerful. “This is a blessing in disguise. It’s brought me all sorts of opportunities I would never have imagined. You gotta look at the positive in everything and keep pushing forward.”
How we choose to respond to abrupt change, “bad things” happening, unexpected setbacks or transitions defines the lives we will live—limited or expansive. RG3 has a potentially career-ending knee injury, but still able-bodied, he chose to focus his time on improving his mental approach to the game. Both veterans are inspiring on many levels.
Choice is powerful. I thought about the obstacles, setbacks, and traumatic events that we experience. How often we may give up believing our lives are over. You may be reading and think…but I’ve lost a loved one, I’ve been abused, I am divorced, I was fired, I lost a limb, I have this disease. Consider that maybe it’s a blessing designed for you to expand your life; fill others with love; build something new; develop compassion; or inspire others with the same disease. I believe, from my lived experience, that choosing to see life’s valleys as blessings IS the most power-filled, life-affirming choice we can make. Life’s valleys are not punishment they are blessings designed for us to expand our lives beyond our wildest imagination. Just ask Paul Hurley and Dan Ahr, two wounded warriors, preparing to compete for spots on the U.S. Paralympic Team! What event can you choose to experience as a blessing and expand your life?
Peace & Blessings~
Jenny DuFresne is the CEO, Leaders Transform. Our mission is to develop leaders who grow, inspire, and evolve people, culture, and impact. Our team supports executive and mid-level leaders with executive coaching, leader, team, and culture development in mid-market companies. Learn more at www.LeadersTransform.com
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