Holidays always provide a time for reflection. Spending time with family, childhood stories that we had forgotten often find their way to the dinner table. It’s fascinating that we haven’t touched those memories for years, yet when they surface the exact same feelings are invoked.
One of those memories for me is backyard football games with my brother. Every Sunday Johnny, and his friends, would gather at Bobby Hayslip’s house. They would split up teams, then spend the next 2-3 hours playing cut-throat, winner take all pickup football. The end zones were marked by a giant oak tree on one end and a gravel driveway on the other. The rules were simple, we played tackle - no flags, no two hand tap - tackle.
My brother is seven years older than me. I can still remember the first time he let me go with him. I was ten and had been asking to be a part of their games for a few years already. When Johnny finally gave me permission, I spent the remainder of the week consumed with the big game. On Sunday morning, the excitement was that of a five year old on Christmas morning.
As we were heading to the game, Johnny had three words of advice for me:
If they throw you the ball, catch it so they’ll throw it to you again
Tackle low - you’ll be the smallest one there
If you get hurt - get up
Why Should We Care? One of the greatest gifts of time is perspective.
At the time, I had no understanding or appreciation for everything those Sunday football games were teaching me. Replaying the memories now, I’m blessed with the ability to see how those Sunday backyard battles have played such a huge role in shaping my beliefs - and it’s our beliefs that guide our lives.
It’s not enough to know what we believe. I mean it’s more than the average person; but if we are seeking to lead, and to pursue excellence through that leadership, we need to know why we believe what we believe.
Our memories are the foundation for this understanding. Some are good and some are bad. We are often more connected and willing to cite our lessons learned from those negative experiences, but our positive memories play just as significant a role in forming our lives.
It’s important that we explore both.
REAL TALK - Action Steps We have thousands and thousands of memories that shape our lives. All are important and worth considering, but we need to start somewhere - and that somewhere is with Level 5 Moments.
Identify Level 5 Moments
What events in your life do you immediately remember as being powerful or emotional? Do any events stand out as tipping points for you in a certain area of your life? Are there any situations that you can see as clearly impacting your life? Make a big list here. The major events are Level 5s, but the others can be just as important.
Talk about Level 5 Moments
Once you identify these moments, it’s important to find someone to share them with. This person can serve as a tremendous asset to helping you clarify your feelings and lessons from each Level 5 Moment. They should listen and watch for indicators of emotional connection to stories - lack of eye contact, softer voice, tears, etc.
Deconstruct Level 5 Moments
After sharing with someone else and receiving their feedback on the events they felt were the most impactful, spend time reflecting and connecting the Level 5 Moment to your present day life and actions. How did that experience possibly shape your decisions now?
Nothing trumps self-awareness. To gain it, we must reflect and take deep dives to answer the question: why do we do what we do, the way we do it? The answer to that question is only in our past.
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