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What will you do with your “dash”?


Friends, Navigate Chaos comes out next week! I hope you’ve enjoyed and valued the excerpts we’ve shared on the blog in the weeks leading up to its release. In preparation for its release, I share one final selection below. Look for Navigate Chaos on Amazon on October 10.

With a daughter who spends many hours per week perfecting her craft, I often park myself in the lobby of her gymnastics club. It was there that I was drafting my first blog post tackling the subject of healthy balance. I was experiencing writer’s block, so I decided to take a break. I went to the window overlooking the gym. There my daughter stood on a narrow wooden rail that is sixteen feet long and four inches wide. She leaped into the air and flipped backward. As her right foot landed squarely on the beam, her left foot grazed the side, and my daughter tumbled to the ground. She gathered herself and pulled herself back up onto the beam.

After a couple deep breaths, she again leaped into the air, tucked her legs, and tumbled backward. This time her left foot followed the lead of the right foot. She landed squarely in the center of the beam. She glanced at the window and smiled before repeating the skill a couple more times.

After my heart began beating again, I returned to my seat and woke my computer from its slumber. I heard the familiar ding of an incoming email. It was a message from a friend sending an embedded video link.

I clicked the link, sat back, and watched for the next three minutes and fifty-two seconds. The video began with a bald man about my age, standing on a narrow wooden plank sixteen feet long and four inches wide. The man’s name is Francis Chan. He briefly mentioned a few facts of his life: his mother died during his birth, his stepmom died in a car accident when he was nine, and his father died of cancer when he was twelve. After a few years under the care of an aunt and uncle, his new parents had an argument. His uncle shot his aunt before turning the gun on himself.

By age sixteen, Francis had lived a shaky, unbalanced life. However, he refused to be a victim. He took the CONN. Francis built and sustained a strong faith foundation in spite of the adversity he’d faced. He pursued a Master of Divinity degree, founded a church in California, authored multiple best-selling books, and led various businesses that he used to fund mission work across the world. The video had more than one million views at that time.

In the video, Francis was standing on the beam just as my daughter had minutes earlier. Only he performed a much simpler routine. He described our propensity to play it safe when life throws adversity our way. Overcome by fear and anxiety, he demonstrated how we crouch down and hug the beam. We’re afraid to fail, afraid to fall, afraid to take a risk and live our life to the fullest. He ends his routine with a slow and cautious dismount. He capped off the metaphor with an Olympic-style salute before God in recognition of the life he had been blessed to live.

As Stuart Scott said, what are you going to do with your dash? If that “dash” were sixteen feet long and four inches wide, would you hug it tightly for the rest of your life? Are you content as one of the two-thirds of the workforce going through the motions as a disengaged zombie? Will you continue to blame others for your lack of balance, fulfillment, and peace, all the while surrendering the CONN to your boss, your spouse, your colleagues, your kids, or the socio-economic and political circumstances of the moment? Or will you, like my daughter, take a risk, fall, and get back up?

Stand up on the dash that is your life! Risk your balance to restore it. Fall. Get up. Perfect your routine. CEEK a Better Way!