What's Your Chicken Line?

What is your chicken line?

One of my buddies talks about the chicken line as the place in your life where, at a certain point, you become a chicken about stuff.

Maybe you would jump off a 10 foot cliff into the water, but at 20 feet you draw the line. That’s your chicken line.

There’s nothing wrong with having a chicken line. We all have them. The thing we need to make sure of is that our chicken lines are in the right place.

When our chicken lines are too low, sometimes, we miss out on what life has to offer us. Sometimes, we need to work on moving that chicken line out just a little bit further, so that we don’t miss out.

Tim Ferriss talks about how usually, the thing we most need to do is the thing that we fear the most. In other words, the majority of the effort that you put into self-improvement needs to come from your fears.

Where are you afraid? Is it being vulnerable in relationships? Is it taking that leap in your career? Or settling down and starting that family? Maybe you need to move your chicken line.

Whatever area of your life that you want to grow in is going to require you to adjust that chicken line. To grow, you’re going to have to go to a place that you’ve never gone before.

Again, chicken lines aren’t bad. It would be harmful if we just got rid of them all together. When they’re all out of whack, they look like fear. But when they are fine tuned, they look like healthy boundaries, set by someone who knows what they want and where they are going.

So where are your chicken lines?  

Don't Flinch at the Impossible

You know those times in life when it seems like something is impossible? When you can’t possibly get over that obstacle that’s standing in your way?

Commander Mark Divine talks about not flinching in the face of the impossible.

Last year I ran the Spartan race. If you don't know what the Spartan race is, it’s basically a gigantic obstacle course with a 5k thrown in for good measure.

At one point, there was a rope climb. I have no experience climbing ropes.

As I stood there and stared up at the rope, I realized that no matter how long I looked at the rope, no matter how much I tried to psych myself up, that rope climb was never going to get any more possible for me than it was at that moment.

So I relied on the one thing I knew I had going for me. My upper body strength. I attacked that rope as if it were possible, and before I knew it, I was at the top, ringing the bell. I had conquered it. Because I didn’t flinch in the face of the impossible.

Where are you flinching? What is it in your life that seems impossible? Maybe it’s a conversation that you know you need to have. Maybe it’s a decision you know you need to make. Whatever it is, know that flinching is only going to delay the discomfort.

Leaning into the impossible is what will get you through to the other side.

On the day I am recording this podcast, it is Loving day. If you’re not familiar with Loving day, it’s the anniversary of the day that the Supreme Court struck down laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the United States. Behind that court case were Mildred & Richard Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who never flinched in the face of the impossible and changed the world with their refusal to back down. They made the impossible possible.

If they can stand unflinching in the face of the impossible, surely we can as well.

Sacrifice Required

When it comes to reaching your goals and dreams, a lot of things are optional.

Talent is optional. There are a lot of successful people with very little talent.

Genetics are optional. There are a lot of “too short” players in the NBA, and there are a lot of “too small” players in the NFL.

Privilege is optional. It may help you get there, but you don’t have to come from the right place.

The one thing that is not optional is sacrifice.

Sacrifice is required. This is easy to hear, and incredibly hard to understand, and even harder to put into practice, because out of the overflow of your heart come your actions.

This is why it’s so easy to get hyped at pre-game, but it’s so hard to win the game.

If you want to get stronger, you’ve got to put more weight on the bar. If you want to get faster, you’ve got to get to the track. If you want to get smarter, you’ve got to crack the books.

Success is expensive and it’s currency is sacrifice.

A lot of people talk about success, but very few people will do anything about it, because as soon as it starts getting hard they throw in the towel.

You will never regret sacrificing for the right thing.

Why do i sacrifice?

Because the reward of success is greater than the sacrifice required.

While You Rest

I was recently talking with a hero of mine.

We were chatting about life and careers and work, and he told me a story of when he was a little boy. His dad would send him out to work the farm during the day, then at lunch time, would give him chores to do during his “break.”

It got me thinking about the value of rest, and how a lot of folks tend to have a skewed view of what rest actually is.

There’s no secret to success. You want to be successful? You be the first person your boss sess in the morning and the last person your boss sess in the afternoon.

You find out what your boss is reading and what they’re into, and you read and care about those things.

While you wait, work. Waiting is an active thing, it’s not passive. So many people in this hustle culture are down on time off, or vacation, or rest, because they have a flawed idea of what rest really is.

Rest is not being lazy. Rest is not doing nothing. Rest is doing things that refuel and recharge you, and often times those things are active and take work.

Think of it this way: eventually, your car has to refuel. So you pull into a station and fill up. Technically your car is sitting, but there is still activity happening in order to refuel that car. There's something happening to get that fuel from the pump to your tank

While we rest and wait, we are pausing one aspect of our movement so that we can do something else to put the fuel back in so that we can move forward.

While you wait, work.

Just because the season comes on the calendar, doesn’t mean you’ll be ready for that season. It’s very easy to put something on the calendar, but it’s also easy for that thing to come and you not be ready for it because you haven't’ been preparing or refueling adequately.

So by all means, unplug. Take PTO. Leave the office and turn off the laptop. But if we don't do something to actually refuel, we are never going to feel truly rested, and we are never going to be ready for what’s to come.

They Say it's Better to Give Than Recieve, But....

You’ve heard the old adage, “It’s better to give than to receive.”

And to some extent, that’s absolutely true. But I think that we need to put a caveat on this saying.

Yes, it is better to give than to receive, but you cannot give unless you have received. You cannot give unless you’ve been given to.

The reality is, receiving help and gifts and wisdom is not something that a lot of us are very good at. What happens is that a lot of people give and give and give and then up completely burned out because they’re giving everything they have and not being filled up at all.

Yes, it is good to give, but we can’t give if we don’t receive.

Be filled up.

If you’re at a place where you need to receive, don't’ be afraid of it. Much like a cup that is full, receiving doesn’t hinder your giving, it enables it.

The Undisciplined Pursuit of More

Our culture wants more.

More money, more status, more square footage, more horsepower. More.

More is not always bad. Here at 2Words, we are doing everything we can to reach more people with our message, get in front of more students, and impact more people with the 2Words curriculum.

But my friend Brian reminded me of a quote the other day by Jim Collins that says, “The undisciplined pursuit of more is how the mighty fall.”

When our pursuit of more becomes undisciplined, when it becomes more for the sake of more, we lose sight of what is really important.

Our eyes shift off of our core values and pride begins to creep in. We think, “if I just got that promotion, or that house, or that spouse, then I’d be happy.”

It can be easy to look at the season of life you're in and think that it is the only place you will ever be. But you know what’s great about seasons? They change.

So by all means, pursue more. Seek to be better, seek to grow your impact, touch more people, do more good, and be more generous.

Just make sure that your pursuit of more is disciplined. Otherwise you’re just doing more for the sake of more.

My Son Has a Girlfriend

My 5 year old son Harrison told me the other day that he has a girlfriend.

You can imagine my shock and surprise. He’s 5. He’s not supposed to have girlfriends yet.

So I pressed him a bit. I asked him some details about this girl and this is what he said. “She doesn’t be mean. She doesn’t take other people’s snacks. She’s 4 years old. She does everything the teacher says.”

After I pressed him, I realized that I’m an idiot. My son wasn’t telling me he had a girlfriend. He was telling me that he had a friend who was a girl.

What he said and what he meant and what I heard were 3 different things.

This happens in life all the time.

Sometimes we don’t say what we mean. Maybe we’re afraid of what the other person might be thinking. Maybe we don’t like conflict, and so it’s easier to just go along with whatever is happening.  

Sometimes we don’t mean what we say. We say things out of emotion, or anger, or frustration.

Instead of responding, we react.

And sometimes we hear what we want to hear, not what the other person said. We forget that we have 2 ears and one mouth for a reason, and that maybe what we need to do is shut up and listen, not just wait for our turn to talk.

So this week, make sure that you mean what you say, say what you mean, and take the time to listen and understand what is being said.

Energy Vampires

Today we’re talking about vampires.

Not the ones that wear capes and suck blood, but a different kind. Energy vampires.

Everybody has an energy vampire in their life. It’s those people who suck the energy out of the room with their negativity and bad attitudes. They’re so focused on what’s wrong that they drag everybody else down with them.

I recently had a coach reach out and ask what do you do when your best player is an energy vampire? When things are great, they’re amazing. But when things aren’t going well, they’re a nightmare.

What do you do with an energy vampire?

From a 1:1 Level

You’ve got to help them see what they don’t see. If you go simply tell them, they may not believe you or might not get it because they’re defensive. They’re already in a negative headspace.

Rather than coming down on them, come down to where they are. Ask questions like “Tell me about what’s happening? What’s going on with you? How do you feel the energy of the team is? How are your actions impacting the rest of your teammates?”

Show them that though they’re intending to help the team, they’re actually dragging the team down because the way they’re behaving is a direct result of not having the right tools to deal with their frustration. Kicking, cussing, & throwing helmets are the best tools they have.

It’s up to you to help give them better tools.

From a Team level

At some point, you’ve got to speak out and say there are certain things we don’t do. It doesn’t matter if you're the best player or the worst, or a coach or an equipment manager. You show that no person is above the standard. Nobody is exempt from the rules and the code of conduct.

You’ve got to put the tam above the individual

At 2Words, we have the 3X rule. If someone is doing something that upsets you, and you can’t resolve an issue 3 times by saying it to yourself, the 4th time you’ve got to say it to their face.

We all have those energy vampires in our lives. It’s your job as the coach to help give them the tools to quit sucking the energy out of the room.

There's a Rattlesnake in the Dugout

My buddy Coach Russell Lucas told me one of the craziest stories I’d heard in a long time lately.

He was in the middle of a full day of baseball games. They had some crazy weather, some game delays, and he was just filling me in on the day.

To be honest, I was kind of zoning out, when he said the following words: “We had to stop the game because there was a rattlesnake in the dugout.”

Um, what?

Yes. For 4 hours, they had been standing in the dugout with a rattlesnake. One of the players found it, he got everybody out of the dugout, killed it with a bat, disposed of it, then finished the game.

Not how I would’ve handled the situation, but whatever.

What stood out to Coach Lucas was how dangerous the snake was. He was standing there for 4 hours with no idea that a snake that could’ve killed him was lurking right at his feet.

Life is full of evils that we can see. Things that we know are there trying to sabotage our work, our marriages, our jobs, whatever the case may be.

We have to seek those things out and defeat them, because they are seeking us. They are seeking to destroy us unless we destroy them first.

What stood out to coach was how dangerous that snake was, but I was standing there for 4 hours and i had no idea that it was there, but it could’ve killed me.

Be active about protecting your life against the things that will ruin it. Get a partner to walk through life with. 4 eyes are better than 2 when it comes to seeking out the things that can ruin you and protecting against them.

Be on the lookout for the rattlesnakes in the dugout, and get your bats ready for them.

Rep the Brand

I recently heard Coach Braxton from Howard Payne University say something to his football team that really impacted me.

He said to his players, “if you guys make the honor roll, when they call you out, they’re going to identify you by the fact that you’re a football player at Howard Payne. But the same is true if you get arrested tomorrow. Rep your brand well.”

Wherever we go, whether we excel and succeed, or stumble and fall, we are repping a brand. We are repping our family’s brand, our company’s brand, and for a lot of us, our God’s brand.

Rep your brand well.

You’re in control of the brand that is your life. You’re in control of how you rep the brands that you are a part of.

Ask yourself this week, “Have I been an accurate rep of all that my brand stands for?” If you find yourself doing something, or saying something that you hope nobody ever finds out about, then you probably shouldn't be doing it.

If you’re not okay with it being in the light, don’t do it in the darkness.

It’s been said before, but you may be the only Jesus someone ever sees, and the only bible someone ever reads.

Do everything you can to rep your brand well.