A few moments ago I was reviewing my list of students who I had sent “life vests” and “life rafts” to in an effort to save them from themselves.

Let me explain.

Some of my students take on a weighted course load and find it more difficult than they expected to juggle school, work, family, and a social life. This is especially the case if they take a hybrid or online course, and then when you add that the course is with me, the stakes really get high.

Now don’t cringe.

I’m not a mean or difficult instructor. There’s balance with me. I’m firm and assertive yet I’m always open for negotiation. I pour myself into my classes because it is my mission to give my students enough information that becomes applied knowledge, that helps them in school, work, and in life. For me, it’s more than the textbooks that they read. I don’t want them memorizing and regurgitating information. I want to see and hear how they applied what was taught to them. I want to see their growth and help support their academic and professional needs. I want to provide them with as many tools and resources as I can; so yes, I’m extremely engaged in my classes. So no, the course work is not easy. There are no easy-A’s in my class. You will earn whatever grade that you receive.

As I tell my students:

Your grade is your paycheck and your GPA is your credit score“.

As an instructor, I’m also serious about meeting deadlines but I’m flexible in providing extensions to those who get clobbered or blindsided by life. The reality is, we all get clobbered and blindsided from time-to-time.

Someone who hasn’t needs to be studied closely.

How can I make mistakes and forget deadlines, yet punish my team for doing the same? Is that not hypocritical? The “do as I say not as I do” rule that our parents embedded in our minds is why we have as many problems in this world. We all simply wait until we gain the power to enforce that same rule on others. It’s ridiculous.

As a college instructor I run my classrooms much like a business. I inform my students that for the length of the term or semester, they are to conduct themselves as though this is a corporation, they are managers, and I am their senior manager. But as a servant leader, I am not here to bark orders and reign supreme over them; I’m also not here to hold their hands and coddle them. They are not babies or small children.

I am here to serve them, empower them, and help to elevate them to the next level.

I encourage them to respectfully challenge the textbooks and readings, and yes, even me. Their minds will only sharpen with critical thinking and by testing and applying tools and skills that they have acquired. I also make sure to frequently ask for feedback and evaluations on how much they are learning and applying from my classes, as well as how well they believe that I am managing and leading them. I frequently ask them to tell me how I can best support their learning and growth needs.

I try to intervene with students who risk falling below a “C”. I don’t want my students to fail my class. Not because of managerial pressures from the higher-ups. Not because of any of the reasons and excuses that most would assume. I don’t want my students to fail because it means that somehow I failed them. It is my responsibility as their manager-leader to help guide them. Just as I would for an employee that I don’t want to see fired or to watch go through the stages of “burn-out”. If I see “red flags” early enough I can step in and provide guidance as to how my students can improve or how they can withdraw from the class (by deadlines) and take it at a later date when life isn’t clobbering them so hard. Usually one of these two interventions work.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

There are some students who choose the chartered path that they know will lead to failure, and no matter how much I attempt to help them help themselves, they are content to splash around in that ocean while watching the life vest and raft float away.

So today as I reviewed my list of students who continue to drown in this academic ocean, refusing to use either or both the vest and the raft that I threw to them weeks ago, I ran across an old email from a student who is failing one of my classes. Weeks ago this person said that they wanted to do well in my class and that they would improve—they  just needed a strategy to do so. I provided the student with the strategy and the deadline extensions that they needed to meet in order to bring their grade up to a “C” or better.

I’m always aiming for better but I won’t force greatness on anyone who would rather be average or below. Everyone should be free to choose.

Weeks later this student still has not completed the past due work and sadly they haven’t completed any current work, yet they continue to log into the course room–most likely so that their attendance is tracked so they don’t lose financial aid and other benefits. Yes, I have students who are motivated enough to log into class to not lose their financial aid, but they aren’t motivated enough to do the work, to pass the class, to keep their financial aid. It’s a baffling logic that they operate by in their parallel universe.

Okay I should stop with my sarcasm.

There is a portion of my email message that I typed to this student that I truly believe needs to be shared with others, with you. Someone out there needs to read these few lines below, because maybe it will be the added layer that helps to snatch them out of their “funk”, their “brain fog”, their whatever is holding them back and keeping them down.

Or maybe it won’t. But I’m sharing anyway.

…your dreams and goals in life are only achieved through the efforts you make. No one will give you anything of worth simply because you show up. You must put in the work and earn the things that you desire. Those that think that greatness will just magically come to them will always find themselves cast to the side, because greatness requires boldness—it requires commitment and dedication despite and because of the odds. 

You must choose if whether you want to be good, great, average, mediocre, exceptional, or just “blah”. Your actions and efforts will align and reflect accordingly. I believe that you have the potential to be at any level that you set your eyes, mind, and heart to achieve. 

If you aim low then you will always fall below that line. If you aim high and run your well-paced race, you may fall short of the desired point but you landed much higher than if you had aimed low to begin with.

Where are you aiming?

What efforts are you making to get there?

No one can do this for you, only you can!

I hope that my student gets what I was trying to convey in my email. I hope that it helps to snatch them out of their pit and motivates them to run, walk, crawl or even roll to the victory line. They may not cross in first place, but they will cross. Every race we start we’re expected to finish.

Love,

Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant/Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

The time is NOW! Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. You’re only stealing from yourself when you do. Seriously.

Yes, I’m talking about the new book Believe Bigger: Discover Your Path to Your Life Purpose

Invest in this book, this guide, this map to explore sides and crevices of YOU that you have overlooked, neglected, abused, misused, underutilized—yet you want to RECLAIM, RESTORE, RENEW, REINVENT, RECHARGE, REACTIVATE and REALIGN.

Get your copy of #BelieveBigger by my dear friend Marshawn Evans Daniels if you want to do more, see more, experience more, give more, receive more, and be more.

Abundance of anything positive can ONLY come from faith, discipline, and action.

You have to DO. You have to MOVE. You have to GET UP and GET OUT OF YOUR WAY, THE WAY, GOD’S WAY.

It starts by thinking abundantly, feeling it, visualizing it, speaking it, and believing it LONG BEFORE you see the first buds sprout, long before the first harvest becomes ready.

To #BelieveBigger you have to have FAITH in what you hope for, in that which has yet to arrive—but you have already staked your claim as YOURS!

Health, financial wealth, intelligence, a fulfilling and rewarding career, work-life balance, to travel more, marriage, or to start a family of your own—whatever it is—YOU MUST CLAIM IT AS SO—CLAIM IT AS YOURS, and then do your part to make the puzzle pieces come together.

God has already shown you what is possible. He’s already said it can be yours. But do YOU believe in His vision for you? Or will you settle on the small—lower your expectations below what He wants to gift you? Will you let fear tell you it’s not possible or will you let faith tell you “Oh yes it is!

Every successful entrepreneur knows that their forward-thinking vision must be stated, shared, and reinforced constantly and consistently in order for that vision to be fully comprehended and embraced; and the more that the vision is shared and embraced the more energy and passion is poured into making sure that vision becomes a reality. That’s the difference from merely being a dreamer and a doer. It’s seeing where you want to go and putting together the resources, and doing the job to achieve what you desire.

In organizations we focus on two primary drivers (besides our triple bottom line) which are Mission and Vision. A mission is your purpose—why you’re in business, why you do what you do. Your vision states where you want to go, what you want to be, what type of impact that you want to have as an organization.

Those same principles need to be taught and embedded in the mindset of individuals, not just business leaders. It’s not necessarily tied to your profession or you finding the cure for cancer (side note: but if you do please make sure that you keep those costs affordable for all).

Vision-tied-to-Purpose-aka-Mission….

What is your purpose in life? What is your purpose in your neighborhood or community? What is your purpose in your house of worship? What is your purpose as a member of your family? Why do you get up out of bed every day? Why do you keep living? Why do you want to keep living? Purpose is so bold and deep, so scary, so what if you swap the word and said “mission”, does it help? Probably not. Because purpose, mission, and vision, no matter what you want to call them they are all bold and dynamic, and anything worth achieving is a scary proposition. But if it doesn’t scare you a little or a lot then it’s not big enough, it’s not bold enough. You need to BELIEVE BIGGER!

A lot of people are suffering in their career and in their home life because they lack vision, and their hope is dwindling and dying a slow and painful death. They are focused on their present, their lack of, rather than on where they could be in the near or distant future. When you’re blinded by what you don’t have you don’t see the opportunities opening up around you and ahead of you. You walk right by them or you stop short of achieving them. You need to grab a defibrillator, also known as an AED, and you need to resuscitate your hope and vision.

Stop relying upon New Year’s Resolutions and start with (and be fueled by) vision and action plans. Resolutions are what we aspire to resolve to one day do, but we have become so casual and relaxed with them that we rarely achieve a quarter of the things on the list, and most of the things we aspired to achieve we fell short by January 15th of the year and never tried again.

An action plan fueled by a vision is our road map to GET IT DONE!

Some of you have fulfilled one mission in life and now you’re wondering, “what next?” well maybe, just maybe, Marshawn’s book can help you answer that question.

If you’re ready for that next level, of whatever it is and wherever it may be, then you need to get your copy of Believe Bigger at BelieveBigger.com or at any retailer that sells books, so that you can get moving and start claiming what’s waiting out there for you!

~Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant/Natasha L. Foreman.
All images within this post have a copyright protection enforced by Marshawn Evans Daniels.

For those of you who know I have more than a 20-year history within the music industry. I’ve taken a few breaks and realigned my focus, but I’ve never fully detached myself from the amazing world of music.

I love supporting the creative, especially the up-and-coming artists who are so vibrant, hopeful, and determined.

Several weeks ago I had the privilege of listening to a local singer, songwriter, and musician by the name of Takiya. Her manager, Juanita Bryan, is also a friend of mine, so I reached out to her and told her to let me know anytime that this young lady performs and in any way that I may be helpful. Today I was notified about an upcoming performance.

If you will be in Atlanta this Friday, January 12, please join us at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta at 8:30 PM where Takiya will be performing some original tracks and covers. This is a free performance. There is a $15 valet fee, if you drive to the hotel. Bring a friend and share this announcement. Thank you.

Some people wonder why I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and even more perplexing (and in recent years), a college professor. Below are some of the comments from students in my most recent Business Management course that just wrapped for the semester yesterday. We spent 17 weeks together, learning and sharing, and as they have learned from me I have learned a great deal from them.

It touches my heart to know that I made and make a difference, that the information that I’m sharing is not falling on “closed” ears and minds, and that they are not only implementing (in their professional and personal lives) what I’m teaching but they are empowered to challenge themselves in those areas of their life.

If I can help encourage them to be better students, employees, employers, managers, leaders, family members, life partners, and members of their community–then I’ve done my job. There are thousands of established organizations and thousands of future startups that will build and nurture a culture that will either thrive or die. My goal is pour into my students enough information and learned lessons that they can take with them to help positively change the culture and environment of organizations and communities all over. You never know who the next “big time” entrepreneur may be. It could be one of my students. So I’m going to give them all that I have and more!

I love to see those “light bulbs” come on when they grasp a concept that I’m sharing, or finally see “why Professor Bryant made us do this assignment“. I love to see my students step up, accept my challenges, and succeed. I love to hear my students share how they tested one of my concepts to see if I knew what I was talking about, just to discover I was right. That shows me that they are listening and not just regurgitating information to pass tests and get out of my class. I’m reaching them and what they are hearing and learning is “clicking”. Oh how that brings me so much joy. These are the the reasons why I’m a college professor and why I love what I do.

I won’t lie, after reading some of these comments below I shed a few tears:

Dear Prof Bryant,

Thank you so much for really challenging me and being there every step of the way. There were times when I felt like giving up, but thanks to you and the self discipline that I’m still practicing, I survived from flunking and I will still read my book and reference it as long as I’m in the workforce and when I get enough courage to become the entrepreneur that I dream to be. Thank you! God bless!!! 


Hello Class & Ms.Bryant 

This semester has been very interesting. This has been my first online class that required a weekly assignment and a discussion. I really enjoyed that there was weekly assignments and we were able to communicate with each other. Being able to see how others react and think about situations help me understand that theres always different ways to solve problems. I really learned some great knowledge of management and will always apply them to my everyday living. I’m going to continue  to read my book so I will have all skills mastered.


The time I have spent in Prof.Bryant’s class has been fresh and a new breathe of air. I have been a student online and have never met any of you, but still felt a big connection to this wonderful class. I enjoy reading everyone’s discussion posts….I also intend to use my management information from this class to better understand people of all levels,whether an owner of their store. The management sides are enormous and able to advance to top level with hard work. I have really enjoyed this class. Thank you


I really enjoyed being in this class.  I learned a lot from the other students.  I wouldn’t mind having some of them as my supervisor or manager.  I learned a lot about them, such as what goes on at their job, how their family lives and their lives are.  I can learn from the feedback that they gave me during our discussions and apply it to my everyday life or with events happening in my family.  They were an excellent group to participate with and I enjoyed my instructor.  She said she was going to shake us a little and she did.  She kept me on my toes and there was a little pressure which made me concentrate and get the work done like it was supposed to be.  Thank you Prof Bryant and thank you class.


These 17 weeks went by very fast and I’ve enjoyed learning and growing with this class. I’ve learned so much from motivating employees, building an effective team, planning, control, ethical responsibilities, how to handle stress, along with many other things. This class also taught me management isn’t as easy as I wanted it would be but I’m more knowledgeable and gained confident. I plan to further my education and continue to learn everything there is about management.


   This semester has been great and very informative. The information I learned during this course will definitely benefit me while pursuing my dream as the future owner of my own radiology clinic. Ms. Bryant you have showed me different fundamentals of management and made me realize that its not as easy as it looks. Now I feel somewhat prepared to be a manager and I will always go to my references to refresh my memory….Thanks so much for being a great professor Ms. Bryant!!!


I am glad that I took this class with the instructor that we have had because at first I thought the class was going to be hard, not to say that it was easy writing all those assignments on Zestiful, Inc., but I must say it was a lot better experience than I thought it would be when I was sitting at my computer 17 weeks ago.  Truthfully, I thought the class was going to be a lot harder. We did work our butts off though. I am also glad that we used the whole book, even though reading it was a chore. Being that I work in a college bookstore, the main complaint that I hear from students is that the instructor never used the book at all, so I am glad we used the whole thing.      


I have learned a lot from the Principles of Management class. Professor Bryant I enjoyed being your student this semester!! Thank you for being a great professor!! I enjoyed interacting with my classmates weekly through the discussion board. I pray that everyone pass this class. I gained a lot of knowledge from this class and I will apply the management skills to my career and  everyday life.


…I have learned a great deal about planning and setting realistic goals and also about the different levels of management and what decisions and issues each level should handle. I have also learned about some of the different unethical situations that happen in the workplace and some of the ways to solve them. Learning the principles and fundamentals of management in this class has prepared me for my future in Property Management and will also help me to continue that success even in my personal life.


 

One of my students [hi Michelle!] shared this TED Talks by Jason Fried, co-founder and president of 37signals.

Fried’s theory is that the office isn’t actually a good place to work, and that M&Ms are the real problems in the modern office today. “What?” you ask. Watch the video and hear what this brilliant software entrepreneur had to say, and see why I love how his brain works: https://www.ted.com/talks/jason_fried_why_work_doesn_t_happen_at_work

Never have I experienced the level of care, consideration, thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and efficacy from an airlines until meeting the amazing Korean Air team. You can tell from the moment you step up to the counter to check in your bags, that they are here to serve you.

Korean Air is celebrating their 45th year of service, and I wonder if for 45 years they have been providing this level of service for passengers, and how did they get their start? That of course requires me to do some research (which I haven’t done as of yet, because I’m too busy enjoying this cappuccino that the attendant just brought me!).

Now let me share a disclaimer. My husband and I are both medallion members with two super awesome airlines, and with our travel records (his definitely, definitely more extensive than mine) there are added perks when you travel with these airlines and partnering airlines. There are various upgrades and accommodations that you receive as a medallion member (or even just First-class passenger) that you don’t receive as a non-member (or Coach-class ticketed passenger), but I have to say, that even when I observed the treatment and accommodations of Coach and non-Medallion members flying with Korean Air, they still had a great experience throughout their travel.

VIP Treatment
Medallion members and First-Class ticket holders get a VIP treatment that makes you feel as though this is your private jet and your personal staff serving you.

Arrival at the Istanbul, Turkey ticket counter was met with smiles and greetings. They immediately synced our medallion status with our tickets so that it showed across the board on all of Korean Air’s computers. They then offered to plastic wrap our bags for free (a service that many people prefer when traveling around the world as it helps to protect it from bumps and bruises, as well as sticky fingers that may want to snatch an item or two from your precious cargo).

To and From Gates: Personal Guides to Escort You
The staff offers to have a personal guide to escort you to your medallion club lounge, direct you to any airport shops or restaurants that you might be interested in visiting (even escorting you there if needed) and then they escort you from the lounge (or store) to the departure gate. Yes, they come inside of the lounge and personally assist you with getting to the gate. There’s not just the traditional announcement from the lounge’s front desk (that you hope you don’t miss hearing) that indicates boarding times of flights.

With Korean Air they personally collect you and make sure that you get to your gate on time (personally handing your boarding pass and passport to the gate agent, and waiting until you board the plane). But it didn’t end there. Korean Air also has a feature that offers this same service when you arrive at each of your destinations (including connecting flights). All of this is optional, and honestly I don’t know why anyone would pass on this.

So when we arrived in South Korea we were greeted at the plane doors by a young man carrying a computer-printed sign with our name. This young man then escorted us through the security check points, answered questions about South Korea’s history, growth, culture, customs, and people (not to say that that will always be an experience that will be shared—but this was ours, and most likely because we asked the questions). Then our private escort guided us through the airport to the lounge and then returned in time to escort us through to the gate, graciously hand us off to the gate agent, and send us on our way with wishes for safe travel.

Flight Crew Experience
On board of every Korean Air plane, and now I’ve been on two, so of course I would boldly say “every”, right?!? the flight crew takes your experience up about ten or more notches. From being greeted by each crew member (even pilots), to receiving fresh and very comfortable pajamas and slippers aka “house shoes” (which normally the slippers are the only thing you receive in Business and First Class along with your toiletry bag), Bose noise-canceling headphones (Delta also offers these on select flights), an awesome toiletry bag with tons of goodies–Delta airlines also has a super awesome Tumi toiletry bag that I love collecting, and I believe it’s Air France that carries some scrumptious toiletries both in their bags and restrooms.

Speaking of restrooms…even Korean Air’s on board restrooms are spacious, comfy, and filled with travel essentials (and some pleasant potpourri that make being in that space more than tolerable). I assumed that the same accommodations are made in the Coach section of the plane. I couldn’t imagine their level of care dropping significantly, so I checked it out…wowsers, not only were they favorable, they were twice the size of the First and Business Class cabins. Why? Because Korean Air uses common sense, there are more Coach passengers than Business and First Class (and also more families traveling with small children in Coach), so you build out their restrooms with this in mind.

Class, consideration, and dignity. Just awesomeness!

So back to the pajamas…after you have slipped on your pajamas (in the restroom of course) you return to an attendant who is waiting by your seat to offer you comfy bedding that they will place over your fully-reclined seat that converts to a bed, and then they give you a fluffy blanket and pillow. I must add that Delta also has an amazing blanket and pillow for International flights. I wanted to ask for one of each to take home. But Korean Air is the first airline experience that I’ve had with full bedding for added comfort.

The Food
Oh my goodness…so I’ve already ruined my detox from my trip a few weeks ago to France, so I was rarely thinking of my food consumption when I returned to Paris several days ago, and then while in Turkey for a few days, and definitely not while aboard these fabulous planes. I just don’t have that level of willpower to say “no” to local cuisine. Besides I convince myself that their food is more organic. Yeah, like I said, I have no willpower. So anyway, from dinner to breakfast, each and every meal I had on Korean Air was absolutely scrumptious. Whether you chose Korean dishes or Western dishes (I sampled both), you will be amazed (unless you have a bland and barely exposed palate). I had the Bibimbap (and other Korean delicacies) and a glass of Gewürztraminer 2012 (that I enjoyed with my fruits and cheeses) on my flight from Turkey to South Korea.

On my flight from South Korea to Los Angeles I had the Jedong Beef, foie gras (which I normally pass up but sampled this go around), a huge salad (that I barely put a dint in) and a partial glass of Chateau Lascombes 2006 (from the village of Margaux in Bordeaux). I’m not a red wine lover or even a wine connoisseur, so this was a big girl step that wasn’t that bad. I could actually smell and taste the fruits. I think being 30,000 feet in the air may help with your senses. Maybe.

Breakfast heading to South Korea I chose an omelette, Danish, fruit and cheese, and orange juice. There was no way I could eat the yogurt or cereals offered. One reason, because I knew I couldn’t eat that much food, and the second reason is because I was trying to show that I had some willpower in limiting my amount of dairy, empty carbs, and sugar. So both flights I elected to skip that portion of what seemed like a six-course meal. Two hours before arriving in Los Angeles, my breakfast choice was scrambled eggs, cherry tomatoes (garnished with sliced red onions and tangerines), a slice of bacon, two delicious cups of cappuccino (one of which I’m sipping as I type this), and a cinnamon Danish.

Both flights I’ve been absolutely stuffed to capacity. So on this leg to Los Angeles I’ve chosen to skip the fruit and cheese because I have no more room in this belly that I’m trying desperately to get back in tip-top shape! Matter of fact as I sit here typing I feel like an ever-expanding balloon. Who could possibly eat all of this food and not pass out? Jeesh!

Arrival in Los Angeles: See you Later Korean Air!

Landing in Los Angeles was just like landing in South Korea, individual salutations by each crew member including the co-pilot, and then a group thank you and bow to the entire plane of passengers. Korean Air shows from the beginning to the end of your journey that they value you as a customer and guest with their airlines, and they value their careers and roles not just with the airlines but in the world.

Korean Air as Servant Leaders
You can tell when people are servant leaders and when people simply take a job that requires service of others. Korean Air truly has a staff, a team, a family of individuals that value excellent service and express that through their daily interaction with guests as well as amongst themselves. I will definitely travel with Korean Air again, and this time I will remember to take the complimentary pajamas and slippers with me. I naively left those comfy threads behind.

I strongly recommend that if you ever get the chance to fly with Korean Air that you seize the moment and then share your experience so that others can benefit from your viewpoint. People are quick to post negative comments about negative experiences, so let’s pour on the love when we receive an awesomely rewarding experience!

~Natasha

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.

By Natasha Foreman Bryant, MBA

Today in my Breaking Bread post I shared a prayer that used a football analogy, and I think that this conversation is appropriate to use outside of a spiritual or religious setting, to include our personal and professional lives, regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs. So I’m sharing a significant excerpt from today’s post with you. I hope that in some way you see the connection that I’m attempting to achieve, and that you see the ways in which you can make those achievements in your life:

…Life is like football. I could use a chess or golf analogy, because they are also top notch strategic examples. I’m using football, because some people don’t realize that it’s a game of strategy, and in the U.S. it’s one of the sports we heavily promote our children into, without teaching them the fundamental connection between what they do on the field and how it relates to what they do off of the field.

Our life is the ultimate game of strategy. There are moves and counter moves, there are obstacles and barriers that we must overcome, and there are opportunities made available that allow for our success. But to gain those opportunities we must be patient with eyes and ears open, and we must constantly look at the “field” from numerous directions. Just like a chess board.

Just like a wild animal that waits for its prey. It doesn’t just get up and go out each day saying, “I’m going to do my own thing and find my food myself”. No, it waits for God to provide its food. It waits for the opportunity to present itself because it runs on limited energy and cannot afford to waste it walking and running around in numerous directions. It waits for the smell of prey that comes with the gush of wind. It waits to hear the movements of its prey coming through the grass, brush, and dirt.

We must realize and embrace God’s role in all of this, and especially in our lives. He opens up windows, doors, nooks, and crannies of opportunity for us, but we can only seize these moments if we’re paying attention, receptive, and cooperative. If not, the opportunity goes to someone else.

Consider an American football game.

A player from the defensive team causes the ball to fumble and hit the ground. The ball is now open for either team to capture and attempt to recover for their side. It’s an opportunity for the defense to take the ball and possibly run it in the opposite direction, score a touchdown, and earn points that could ultimately lead to victory. It’s an opportunity for the offense to recover the ball and either protect it until a referee blows their whistle, or it’s an opportunity to pick up the ball and continue running across the field to score a touch down, which was their initial objective.

Both teams have been given an opportunity to score points. What happens if no one is paying attention to the ball? What happens if you have the ball, lose the ball, have difficulty getting it, and no one else on your team is paying attention when you need help recovering the ball? Or, flipping sides, what happens if you see the ball, realize the opportunity that it represents, but your reaction time is too slow, or your team is non-responsive (or also slow to react)? What happens in each of these scenarios? You miss the opportunity and leave it open for someone else to seize and succeed.

God is preparing us to learn how to run with the ball, protect the ball, keep our eyes on the ball, and even how to recover the ball when it is dropped. Here’s my last football example…

Do you know why most defensive backs have lower conversion rates of intercepting a ball from the opposition? It’s because when they are only focused on the wide receiver from the other team, and not on the ball itself, their reaction time is slower running down the field. They are only focused on the other player, while the other player (the wide receiver) has his eyes focused on the ball. By the time the defensive back realizes where the ball is and reaches his arms up or out to catch it, he is already several tenths of a second behind the receiver, whose arms and hands are already stretched outward ready to receive the ball.

The best defensive backs in football learned how to patiently yet swiftly run, while constantly looking at the ball, and still skillfully checking the status of the receiver they were chasing down. They learned how to strategically place themselves between the receiver and the ball without causing what is called a, “pass interference” which is a violation and punishable by a penalty of yardage awarded to the other team. The best defensive backs learned to think like the patient wild animal, waiting for their food each day. The food that God provides.

We need to learn how to be patient, how to see the field, keep our eyes on the ball, while being aware of our surroundings, and then be ready to reach out and catch that ball—seizing and capitalizing on our opportunities, which results in our success.

So, what do you think? Are my football and wild animal analogies solid examples in your opinion? Can you see that even if you don’t believe in God, or don’t believe in His influence in you life, how you can see the importance of patience and strategy in seizing and capitalizing on opportunities?

Let me share with you some of the questions that I posed to my Breaking Bread audience. If you have a moment, I would love to read your responses:

1. How has today’s message changed your thinking about your life and the opportunities that are waiting for you?

2. What steps are you going to take to be more like the wild animal or the football player?

3. What can you do to be better at waiting, listening, watching, positioning yourself, observing your surroundings, and being better prepared to seize opportunities?

~Natasha

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.