5 Reasons Why You Continue to Struggle and What to Do About It

It was the early 2000’s. I was at a More Heart Than Talent event with Mr. Golden Mastermind himself, Jeffrey Combs. I was in the audience, eager, desperately trying to learn and grow so I could live the life of my dreams. I was newly married, with one child and another on the way living in Pennsylvania just outside of Philadelphia. The event was in Chicago, I saved the money to go the event, stay at a hotel, have food for the time I was there so that I could move myself and my family closer to our dreams.

When I got there my credit card wasn’t working I had to have my wife put more money on it. The first day I had to walk a couple of miles back and forth to the event, it was a struggle in many ways and in others it was a dream come true. Each of us has a reason why we continue to struggle in life below are 5 common reasons and what you can do about them.

 

1. Not Sure How To Get Out of Your Own Way

While at the Jeffrey Combs event through a fortunate sequence of events I got to get on stage and do my thing. It was amazing, Jeff got the crowd hyped up and I just spoke from the heart. Later that same day there was a one on one marketing yourself section and I froze. Most people couldn’t believe how this person that just absolutely rocked a packed house could then freeze at what would seem to be such a less pressure moment. Years later I would attend another Jeffrey Combs event- sitting in the audience he asked what were the biggest lessons that we wanted to get out of the day. I raised my hand and replied, How to Get Out of My Own Damn Way! There came a sigh of relief and applause  from the audience as people would later come up to me and thank me for saying what they were feeling in their hearts. We all have issues that we struggle with but it’s hard to change until we can admit that we do. Once you admit it you will find others that feel the exact same way.  Problems in life are like puberty we all have to suffer through it.

2. Not Willing To Go Through The Process

Life itself is process of growth and development. You must be able to go through the process of growing which is often painful. Ask any parent about life with a teething baby. Teeth are an essential part of life but they hurt as they come in. There is even a term growing pains, (not the television show), which tells you just how painful the process is. Most of us would choose not to go through the pain of growth. Unfortunately without the pain of the process we cannot enjoy the benefits of the process. In trying to stop ourselves from having to go through pain we hide from our blessings, we stay stagnant in jobs that are not what we want or need, we stay in relationships that don’t benefit us- we choose to struggle. In order to end the struggle we have to be willing to endure the pain that goes along with the process. If you can, you will find that joy awaits you on the other side.

3. Exposed By The Success You Desire

Remember the phrase, “Be Careful What You Wish For Because it Just Might Come True?” Ask any great comedian about the process they had to go through to become successful at what they do. It often includes bombing on stage, getting heckled, telling awful jokes, being embarrassed. In other words you have to become a great comedian by going from where you are to being good and eventually to great- that’s the process. During each step of that process you will be exposed for what you lack.

Just like the movie Trouble With the Curve where there was a stand out baseball player, number one on everyone’s list Mr. Bigshot. On the biggest stage just before it was his time to hit the jackpot and make the Big Leagues he got exposed. The prospects issue-he can do everything else but hit the curveball making him a player with a glaring weakness. On the road to the success you desire you will be exposed for your shortcomings. When this happens don’t give up and learn to get out of your own way by understanding the area you need to grow in to achieve your dream.

4. You Failed to Learn the Lesson

Imagine it’s five years later and your that egotistical kid from Trouble With the Curve that got exposed for his inability to hit the curveball and you still have not learned how to hit the curveball. Instead you kept thinking your talent was good enough to make up for it in other ways or it was not that important as you watched this seemingly small thing taking away from your dream. Each time out the situation got worse to the degree that you had junior league pitchers embarrassing you with curve after curve after curve ball at nearly a slow pitch level. No scouts are calling anymore and you watched yourself go from the top major league prospect to not even a small town club level prospect.

Your fall from grace included each step along the way from the minors to the small town club. Each team saw your talent, they wondered why isn’t this kid in the majors, they thought they could teach you the curve ball but you failed to learn the lesson and your fall from grace continues. My friend you are struggling only because you failed to learn the lesson. If you ever say to yourself, why does this always happen or keep happening to me, that is a prime indicator that there is a lesson in that challenge that you are not learning and the challenge will only get worse until you do.

5. Not Clear About What You Desire- Clarity Of Purpose

My late great Pastor, Pastor Kim Egolf-Fox always told me to be clear about my purpose, what I desired and what I was trying to communicate to other people. One of the reasons I froze at the one on one session of the Jeffrey Combs event in early 2000’s was because I was not clear on my purpose, who I was or what I was about. I had heart, I had talent but was not clear about what I desired and it showed. Until I became clear about what I desired and the purpose I desired to pursue in life I continued to struggle. It is the old adage that if you fail to stand for something you fall for anything. When you become clear about what you desire you can make decisions that align with that clarity of purpose and go from struggling to achieving.

 

Please be sure to leave your thoughts and any questions below!

 

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The True Meaning of the American Flag and 5 Reasons Why the NFL Failed

We have all watched the quiet protest, before NFL games, of kneeling during the anthem in response to injustice and seeking to give a voice to the voiceless. As the story grew the perspective and conversation on the topic changed drastically as the current President got involved and to my disappointment created unnecessary imagery that generated a huge backlash. Neither the President or the NFL acted in regards to the true meaning of the American flag. In his words the President failed us as did the NFL and here’s 5 ways why. Continue reading

Top Ten Reasons Why Most People Fail

Imagine if everything you did or tried always culminated into the success that you wanted. At that point wouldn’t life be, well, just plain boring. Let’s face it failure is a strong and unavoidable part of life. Failure is also an important part of purpose that if harnessed correctly will make your life more than worth living. In order for us to grow and develop we need to fail. Although failure is necessary how you do it and what you get it of it will determine your eventual success or non-success in life. Below are the Top Ten Reason Why Most People Fail and never recover.

1. They Give Up

There’s a great story called, “Three Feet From Gold.” In the story a prospector finds a vein of gold that runs dry. They continue to dig but after coming up with nothing decide to give up. They sell the rights to prospect and sell the equipment which still leaves them financially indebted to friends and family. The new prospector decides to bring in experts who predict that if they continue to dig just three feet from where the former prospectors left off they would again find that vein of gold. The rest of the story you can guess. Instead of giving up you need to quickly adjust your plans so you can pivot when and where necessary.

2. Don’t Give Enough Time to Succeed

The music channel Vh1 used to have a great series called Behind The Music which profiled famous music artists and their climb to success. In almost every story I noticed a pattern, often they had a break before the break. The artist often had that big opportunity and initial success that looked like they were well on their way after all the struggles and turmoil of trying to make it. Usually that success would be fleeting and heartbreaking, they had to move back to their hometown seemingly as failures and back home with their parents, starting all over again. Fortunately they did not quit or give up they learned, readjusted and went back at it more prepared to skyrocket their careers. They gave themselves the time to succeed. Music was not something that they were trying out to see what happens it was something they were dedicated to regardless of the time it took to make it happen.

3. Underestimate What it Takes to be Successful

As a general rule of thumb you should always factor in that it will take at least twice as long and three times more than you thought it would to achieve your endeavor. Often we underestimate not just the time but the resources and growth of ourselves and those around us in order to achieve our desired goal. A large part of the process of success is your own personal growth. You have to grow into being the person capable of achieving what you desire. Most people will grossly underestimate the importance or fail to understand the necessity for personal growth and cost themselves an opportunity at success. As we all know growth is often painful but short term, failing to grow is painful and ongoing.

4. Hobby Instead of Passion

On the road to fulfilling your dreams you will have to do things you do not want to do, face situations and consequences you have no desire to face and grow often through the painful process of failure. In order to withstand these steps to success you have to have a passion and a love for what you do. In the beginning you are not going to get paid for what you do, most likely you will have to be paying, go into debt, beg borrow and steal to get there. This will not happen with something you are just interested in. You must have a deep passion and desire. As it states in Napoleon Hill’s great book Think and Grow Rich, “Desire is the starting point of all success.” If you do not have that deep desire most likely you will not withstand the process of success and fail.

5. Take Learning as Failure

Often the setbacks we face are learning experiences packaged as failure. Setbacks are stepping stones to our success but they look like we failed so most people accept the failure. If they would take the time to examine the setback and see what they can gain from it they would find great learning experiences wrapped inside. Setbacks are part of the process of success find the jewels of learning so you can turn that into experience and wisdom.

6. Mistake Opportunities for Challenges

Just as learning experiences often come wrapped as failures, opportunities often come wrapped as challenges. The greater the opportunity the greater the challenge. Take a second to think about this, has there ever been something you desired or wanted to achieve? What happened when you started working toward the achievement of that goal-did you come across a bunch of challenges that seemed overwhelming. For example in sports if you want to win a championship you will have to go through the process and that often includes challenges such has having your weaknesses exposed, being embarrassed and losing until you master those situations. These challenges are opportunities for you to grow and master the necessary aspects to achieve what you desire.

7. Misunderstand the Nature of Success

Success is not about a destination it is about the process of growth and development-the journey. The destination or goal helps to determine the direction or focus of the journey. Many people mistake the destination as success so they try to get to the end instead of going through the necessary process of success. Sometimes you will see people who try to skip the process and go right to the trappings of success, the cars, the jewelry, the lifestyle without the growth and development. Success is about who you are and what you accomplish which in turn will help to determine what you have.

8. One Person Team

We all love the classic hero like Sylvester Stallone in Rambo and Daniel Craig as James Bond, a one man army rising against all the odds. In reality one man armies fail, falter and fizzle out miserably. On the road to success no one knows enough to do it themselves and even if somehow you did it would be impossible for you to do it all. Think of your business and personal success like a sport and the game is life. You need your team in place to help you achieve and grow. From teammates in the trenches to advisors who can help you see through the fog along with mentors, coaches and trainers. Even people like Tim Ferriss with his 4 Hour Work Week still need a team to help them accomplish that lifestyle and in fact could not do it without their team.

9. Lack of Resourcefulness

One of the necessities for life in general that most people miss is the need to be resourceful. You will never have everything you need or the ability to acquire it through financial means so you will need to be resourceful and figure out other ways to accomplish and acquire what you desire and need. For example most people will encounter challenges such as lack of finances to purchase what they need and give up  instead of finding other ways to get the financing or acquiring what they need through bartering, asking or other means. Resourcefulness is useful creativity, solutions and the ability to build relationships, see opportunities in challenges and realize solutions in obstacles.

10. Lack of Vision

In the Bible it states that where there is no vision the people will perish. Most of us are perishing because we lack vision for our own life so we get pulled into the vision of other people’s lives. Vision is beyond a goal it is beyond a destination it is a way for how things will be at some point, it’s the forging of possibility into reality. From there you set into place plans for how to achieve that Vision. Vision itself then becomes that North Start keeping you on course through the storms and challenges of life. Vision gives you purpose.

Please leave your comments below and your thoughts on these reasons for failure. Pass  this on to a friend and be sure to sign up to recieve great insights and updates.

Dr. King’s New Dream…as told by me

Hello My Dear Friends,

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I Have a New Dream…

It is a dream still deeply rooted in the American Dream only it deals with the greater purpose and truer meaning of that dream.

In this New Dream there is a God-given place for all of us. In this New Dream our existence as worthwhile human beings is no longer predicated solely on the acquisition of money nor will money alone determine the quality of our lives.

No my friends in this New Dream the quality of our lives will be deeply rooted in the realization that there is a unique purpose set aside for you in this life. It is the realization that your life does matter and your voice is needed to strike a chord that resonates across humanity.

In this New Dream no longer can you sit idly by trying to get by, no my friends God needs you to be you so that all of humanity will benefit.

No longer can we allow others to be stewards of our hopes and dreams or gate-keepers to the American Dream. Only God has that right and last I checked God has not given that away or leased it to any corporation or government agency.

In this New Dream we advance by adding our unique essence to the tapestry of life. We do so by standing on the precipice of something new, the edges of the known staring deep into the face of the unknown-not afraid but embolden by the knowledge that within our spirits are the wings that will carry us to sweet freedom, to a land of purpose and meaning. It is the knowledge that A Promised Land that has been set aside for each one of us.

In this New Dream with this land of Promise, a land where through who we are and what we stand for we are able to live a life of purpose and meaning which allows us to have a richly abundant life, no longer are we trapped in someone else’s dream but free and embolden to live life on our own terms.

Yes I still have a Dream that in this New America the collective brightness of our individual lights casts a glow so bright that it becomes a beacon for the rest of humanity showing us a better way.

I Dream that we let go… standing on the edge of change we choose to take a step in faith even though we cannot see the whole staircase as I once said. Knowing that a way has been made and within us is not only a way but a light which if we allow it will shine bright, illuminating the showing us the way.

I Have a Dream that a life well lived will sprout from a strong foundation of who we are and what we stand for. Purpose and meaning will lead our way and we will stand upon a strong foundation hand in hand, spirit to spirit, purpose to purpose, having elevated the whole of humankind.

And on that day we will truly be not only free but uplifted enough to enjoy the fruits of freedom having lived out God’s Dream for Humanity.

In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Please be sure to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts and what you feel Dr. King’s legacy has meant to you.

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To Play or Not to Play: The Great Concussion Debate

The Other Side of the Story

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With the retiring of 24-year-old linebacker Chris Borland from the San Francisco 49ers and a new football season around the corner we find concussions once again in the forefront of national debate. As a Vice President of a Youth Football League and a coach I am once again faced with the questions, worries and fears of parents as they make that crucial decision whether or not to let their kids play. I must admit as a parent with four boys all of which play football, one in high school and three in the youth program, seeing all the news stories, documentaries and information is quite frankly terrifying.

I find that I have to question myself and ask if it makes sense for my kids to continue to play this game. It is a game that my kids love and I enjoy being a part of, even my wife enjoys it, but not at the risk to their lives. The only thing that saves me from not calling it quits and pulling them off the field immediately is…the truth. The truth is none of my kids are in the NFL, a big time college program or high stakes all or nothing high school programs.

The youth game is a completely different entity than the pros. In the youth program if any of our kids were making the maximum pain and violence type hits they do in the pro’s they would immediately be pulled off the field. Brutality is not part of the youth game it is more about sportsmanship, competition and character- no one is getting paid out there. Outside of this I feel there are a couple of points we really need to address, that the national media has not done the best job at, when it comes to concussions.

There are many former professional football players saying they do not want their kids to play, but why has no one asked the questions: why and what does that mean? Sure we can assume that it’s due to risk of concussions but shouldn’t we clarify to make sure. For example when Ray Lewis was asked if he would let his kids play his answer sounded more like it was about bad coaching at the youth level. At the youth level what is the real issue is it concussions, coaching, lack of skill development, size differences? I am not sure because the questions have not been asked. Also a former professional football player can be looking at this quite differently than you or I.

A former pro may be looking not at his kid playing the game but making a career of it. For most of us we are hoping our kids can make a youth team and if they love the game maybe play in high school. In my town in 2012 our high school team the Panthers went undefeated for the season and ended up winning the championship in their division. They happened to win against Doug Flutie’s nephew at quarterback in a game that went to the wire. The core of the team had played together at the youth level and only about 3 or so of them went on to play football in college and I don’t believe any of them are playing at Division I colleges.

For most parents this is the typical experience, play at youth maybe high school and who knows for college. The former professional player may be looking at his kid not only playing at the youth level but a high caliber high school program, a top Division I college and then as a professional. If you look at it this way then yes it may make sense for your son to start playing the game a little later and have less wear and tear. Again the national media has not asked these questions for us to get that understanding but I feel it needs to be part of the conversation. For most of us parents our kids may love the game but never play beyond the youth level. It would be a shame never to allow them that experience.

Another point that has been tugging at my cape deals directly with the words of the now retired San Francisco 49er Chris Borland. Chris said he did the research around the risks to being the linebacker he would like to be to play the way he needs to play. I am not sure about you but I would like to know a little more about what that means. Is it simply the hits, which are more than enough, or also the medicines, pills, enhancers and treatment you may need to keep you in the game. It’s a loaded statement and it could attest to a deeper hidden culture that fuels life as a professional. We also still have yet to identify what if any role performance enhancement drugs have been playing in this concussion debate.

In the end I believe the debate is just beginning. We as a whole, from parents and players to the national media, need to do more to really understand what is being said and what is happening.

Dominic Copeland

The True Verdict: A Word on the Trayvon Martin Decision

What has frustrated so many people about George Zimmerman being found innocent is the true message behind the verdict. If he is innocent then not just Trayvon Martin but an entire race has been found guilty for the crime of being black. The verdict felt like a justification for every time I am in a store with my kids or out with my family and being watched by security as if at any given moment I will be prone to commit some sort of crime. The verdict felt like a justification for not knowing my place and not knowing the neighborhoods that I can and cannot walk through. The perception of what being black symbolizes to society is the only reason why a young boy eating skittles as he walked down the street could be guilty of anything.

I have worked extremely hard in my life to rise above the circumstances I was born into, to climb out of poverty, to overcome homelessness. I have worked my entire life to grow my character so I can achieve what I desire out of my life. I have gotten to a point in life where like millions of African Americans I have to ask when is enough simply enough? When have you finally made it, do I need to play ball or rap to have a chance to earn the opportunities that I am deserving of? At the end of the day I realize that my character cannot combat the color of my skin.

My skin color is what people will always see first and you cannot judge character while walking down the street at night. What is so chilling about the Trayvon Martin case is the question we have to ask, why did George Zimmerman approach him in the first place? Did Trayvon commit some sort of crime, was he in the act of committing a crime or creating some issues that he needed to be approached by a guy on the neighborhood watch carrying a gun. The only answer most of us can come up with is that there was only one crime being committed, Trayvon being black and not knowing his place. The problem is we thought that stop being a crime a long time ago in this country.

I understand that good people die everyday, sometimes it is just the wrong place at the wrong time. But has anyone growing up ever told you to be careful you could die because you are black or that you would face harassment because you are black or that you could be denied opportunities that you have earned and deserve just because you are black. Has anyone ever told you that you would have to prove yourself two to three times more than everyone else because of the color of your skin? Did they also tell you by the way don’t complain about it, don’t mention it because that will just make it worse. Telling the truth will just make it look like you are looking for a handout or some sort of welfare assistance when you are simply looking to have the opportunity to put in the work and earn your way through life.

You are not looking for an unfair advantage but being black should not be a disadvantage, you already in most cases have more than enough you have had to overcome. You cannot hide the color of your skin, you cannot change it but time and time again you are asked to deal with the consequences and just suck it up no matter how unfair or demeaning the cost. At some point again I ask when is enough just enough. There is no way that we can allow this verdict to go by and not change anything.

It is the perception of what it means to be black that must change. Until the perception changes we as a people and as a nation wear this verdict like the mark of a slave. Regardless of the chains we are not free and we as a nation and a people are all guilty, from the media to the culture to the inadequate system of education to the neighborhoods and communities that we come from, all guilty. I feel like Trayvon died for our sins and what we have failed to do in order to rectify them. He was not the first and until we do something about it he will not be the last.

Dominic Copeland