The scoreboard reads the following… bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, 2 outs, 3 balls and two strikes. You are up to bat and the weight of the entire season is on your shoulders. You strike out, the season is over, you get a hit and the run scores from 3rd sending your team to the World Series. No pressure right? Ya, right, pressure like you have never felt before would be a better way to describe it. As I sit and watch the baseball playoffs this 2008 season, I sit in astonishment at the abilities of these athletes. Some of them have what it takes to answer the pressure of the moment and others seem to get caught up in the moment and fail to perform.

Well, you may never stand in a batter’s box awaiting the pitch that will determine your team’s future, but you might be in the proverbial batter’s box of life. You see, there are times in life where you feel the equivalent or more pressure. You feel like it’s the bottom of the 9th and you are up to bat. What am you going to do, how are you going to handle the next pitch? What I would like to share with you are some principles that will assist you in your quest to hit the upcoming curveball.

3 principles:

1. Embrace
2. Endure
3. Empower

#1 – Embrace It!
So, I’m on a flight from Phoenix to Seattle the other day. The flight was a non-eventful flight, a typical event these days. Plane was packed, absolutely no leg room and you were charged $1 for every breathe you needed, so it seems. Seriously, you have no idea how bad I feel for the Flight Attendants. They get the brunt of so much. It’s not their fault their executives have made decision after decision to continually stick it to the passenger.

Anyway, I digress. So the flight endured quite a bit of turbulence, more than usual. As I was sitting there I was thinking, “Just get me off this plane”. What a tremendous thought, for a moment I thought that anything would be better than what I was enduring, by the way, I struggle with a severe case of vertigo, so any amount of turbulence has the possibility of resulting in a visit to the lovely and pleasant smelling bathrooms. So, as I sat back in my seat and thought “I just want off the plane” the reality occurred to me, the momentary bliss of being relieved from the turbulence would be a great feeling, but, the moments that would follow that blissful moment would be devastating. Yes, I’m off the plane, but now I’m falling 34,679 feet to my doom. Not a very wise choice, to be sure.

Now, sure this thought pattern seems a bit outlandish, but the principles are solid. Sometimes life is a bit turbulent, we feel the answer to all the turbulence is to escape it. Well that’s just simply not true. The only way to get through the turbulence is to embrace it and hold on.

You trial is here, whether you want to be or not, you are experience some dark times. The moment has seized you, to deny it would be sure failure. I can remember when I had to embrace a huge darkness in my life. It was one of those things that you swear would never happen to you. I always heard of these types of situations happening to people I knew. In fact, I was the one who assisted them through their difficult circumstances. Well, I guess it was my turn now. I had been married for 10 years to the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We had the perfect life, 3 kids, great house and sustaining career. I was on top of the world.

Then out of the blue I was introduced to the 4 words that have forever changed my life “I want a divorce”. Have you ever heard those words before? There it was, my moment, over the next 12 months I had several individual moments where giving up and walking out of the batter’s box seemed to be the easy way out. I had to daily and still to this day, embrace my reality. There is no amount of denial that will make the trial go away. There is nothing I can do or say to change the circumstances. The results of the divorce are also out of my hands. My role in this game is to embrace it and allow it to make me a better person. By embracing the circumstance I am able to be a better father, co-worker, son, brother and friend. I have to realize that though I didn’t’ choose this predicament, I must and I mean must perform for the sake of my team. If I decided to give up and deny this curveball I would be forever be viewed as a quitter, weak and a detriment to my kids.

Whatever it is that currently entangles you, embrace it. What does it mean to embrace it? Simply put, to embrace it is to accept it as your own. This is your time, this is your moment, good, bad, positive, negative, hurtful, joyful, etc. You can’t afford to deny it. If you deny it, you forfeit the right to rejoice with the outcome. This is yours. It’s imperative to embrace the moment and perform to the best of your ability.

#2 – Endure it
After you have made the conscious decision to embrace the trial you must endure to reap the benefits. Sure, there were moments and continue to be moments where I want to turn and run from all the circumstances of my situation. Yes, there are moments when I strongly feel that if I can just give up and move to Jamaica all would be great. Nonsense, departing in the midst of a turbulent time is like rationalizing jumping out of an airplane simply because it’s experiencing turbulence. All things might seem fine when you step out of the plane but soon you realize that you were much safer in your seat with your seatbelt fastened.

The same principle applies to our difficult times. Sure, giving up and jumping out might be bliss for a while, but in the long, and sometimes short run, it all catches up to you. We have all heard the old adage, “The grass is greener on the other side”, well, it’s not. Your circumstance is there for a reason. If you fail to endure, you lose the opportunity to reap the rewards. You see, I believe that by enduring, we are prepared for the next step along the way. If we think of our lives like a stair case, every step allows the next step to be less difficult. Can you imagine a 35 step staircase without steps 8-25?

Ya, me neither. Getting to step 26 from step 8 is possible, but you would have to go to great lengths to make it happen. There is no way I would have been able to handle what occurred in my life without enduring life crisis moments along the way. My turbulent times allowed me the preparation to endure the most difficult of times, thus far. You must say to yourself “GIVING UP IS NOT AN OPTION”, over and over again.

Here’s what I did in the midst of my trial to encourage me to endure. I decided to employ motivators. I called them “centers’. I would place pictures of my kids all over my car, bathroom mirror, walls, office, my mind, etc. Their bright shining, smiling faces everywhere. These smiling and sometimes laughing picturesque moments would remind me why I fight; they would give me the “centering” effect needed to endure that day. I would also place images of all those who I had the opportunity to counsel through their difficult times. My constant encouragement to them was to “not give up”. I would think of the consequences that would follow my “quitting”. If I were to give up, up all my counsel and instruction would be forever hindered.

Even in the darkest of times, these images and memories drive me to strive to endure. Then I would think, if I endure, I will get to have an active role in the rebuilding. Same goes for you, if you endure you will reap the rewards when all the dust settles. If you run, it will catch up to you. You will have to endure it at one point or another. My challenge to you is to endure whatever your circumstance might be, now! Don’t give up! Stay connected to your center and keep your hand to the plow. Another old adage… “Things will be better in the end, if they are not better, then it’s not the end”. Endure!

#3 – Empower it
So after we have embraced and are beginning to endure, now it’s time to empower it. Allow your circumstance to be used to bring encouragement to one who is going through a similarly difficult time. I sat across from one of my best friends the other day, we were sharing stories of life. He mentioned to me that he and his wife were having some major issues. After my heart broke for him and his family knowing what might occur, I was able to use my current circumstance to shed light on his upcoming circumstance. That’s what it means to empower your trial. It’s very easy to get caught up in the self pity movement. We tend to focus our energy on the “what ifs”, and the difficulties of the given circumstance. What you are enduring is happening for a reason.

You are being strengthened for a purpose. I firmly believe that nothing is coincidental. The trial that you are enduring can be used to assist others find hope and encouragement. Don’t let it defeat you. Ask yourself on a regular basis, how might what I’m going through be used to counsel or assist others. It’s amazing what happens when you help others in the midst of difficult times. Your burden becomes lighter, your outlook on life brightens. You begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You regain confidence that you are valuable and the current trial doesn’t define you, rather you begin to learn that what you do with the trial defines you.

My experiences are real, there are times when I felt like giving up and along would come someone who needed an ear or shoulder to lean on. I could barely stand on my own two feet, but would do what I could help, the end result wasn’t the termination of my trial rather it allowed me the foresight to see the potential.

Can you imagine if the baseball player just up and left the batter’s box? He decides that the pressure is too great and he doesn’t want to be there anymore. He would be forever viewed by history as a failure. Maybe you are facing the darkest of your days thus far. You find yourself facing…Unemployment, foreclosure, divorce, death of a loved one, financial crisis, or business struggles.

Whatever your circumstance, there is hope! There is an end to the hurt. It’s coming! It might take longer than you would like, but its coming. In the meantime, embrace, endure and empower your trial and you will notice a dramatic benefit.

Author's Bio: 

Scott is a Father of 3 who is passionate about encouraging those who are enduring extreme difficulties!