24 November 2017

Belichick Fired!

fired

Bill Belichick

With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, I wondered how many of you know that Bill Belichick was fired after five seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Since then, he’s won three Super Bowls. If he doesn’t get thrown in the NFL prison with a life sentence for stretching the rules, he will be a first-ballot entry into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame.

Sports reporters and analysts were ready to write Belichick’s obituary after the 1995 season. After five years as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, his record was a paltry 37-45; that’s a 45.1% winning ratio. In 1994, Belichick’s fourth season, the Browns were 11-5 and made the playoffs. When they stumbled to a 5-11 record in the following year, he was fired.

Belichick didn’t give up; instead he went back to work under his tutor, Bill Parcels, under whom he’d previously coached for eight seasons with the New York Giants. Paul Katzeff wrote in Investor’s Business Daily, “Rather than mope about his lesser position, he worked to improve on past weaknesses. He studied successful coaches to glean their secrets. Then he broke down what he learned into concrete actions: He delegated. He emphasized character. He stretched his creativity.” He got a second chance, and earned a place in football history, after Robert Kraft hired him as head coach of the Patriots in 2000.

Since becoming head coach of the New England Patriots, Belichick has led the Patriots to 14 AFC East division titles and 11 appearances in the AFC Championship Game. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007, and 2010 seasons. Since then, he has coached the Patriots to seven Super Bowl appearances. His teams are 4-2 in the Super Bowl.

Let’s hope they are 4-3 in a few days!

Like him or not, Bill Belichick is now considered one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time.

Persevere in the face of adversity.

There’s an obvious connection between what happened to him, and how he resurrected his career, and what has happened to many of you reading who are reading this message. Just because you are let go by one company doesn’t mean you can’t be successful in the same role in another company.

Friends, being let go by one organization can lead to much greater things – if you do the right things: seek God’s will, trust Him, keep a positive attitude, prepare for success, and work hard on high payoff activities. Like Belichick, no successful person has ever avoided rejection and setbacks; instead, he or she has persevered in the face of adversity. You can too.

Jesus rejected at Nazareth.

Jesus faced rejection far worse than Belichick. In fact, he faced rejection and even death from the earliest days of his public ministry. After John baptized him in the Jordan River, he went east into the desert where Satan tempted him for 40 days. According to Luke’s account, from there he headed home to Nazareth. He ticked off some folks at his hometown synagogue when he said he was the Messiah, and that they would reject him. He compared himself to Elijah and Elisha, who, after being rejected by the Israelites, ministered to Gentiles instead.

Jesus’ friends were so angry about his “blasphemy” they took him to a nearby cliff, intending to throw him off and kill him. Jesus somehow managed to get away. The first attempt on Jesus’ life was made shortly after he started his public ministry. He faced rejection and prevailed. With his help, we can too.

Here’s the story from Luke 4:14-30:

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'”

“I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed–only Naaman the Syrian.”

All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

 Go prove ’em wrong.

The rejection we face as job seekers, and Bill Belichick faced as a head coach in the NFL, is minor compared to what Jesus faced. When a company lets you go, when an organization turns you down, when the HR department refuses to call you back – remember that Christ has empathy for you because he was rejected too. My prayer is that you will feel his presence, and be empowered to move forward in your job campaign.

Be like Bill Belichick; go prove ’em wrong.

Go Falcons!!!

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where we prevail in the face of adversity, setbacks and rejection!

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

To Get Better Results, Be Your Authentic Self

Celebrate-silhouetteOne of the themes in my teaching and writing in the past few years has been to “be your authentic self.” The more authentic you are, the better results you will get. I have experienced this myself, in both my personal and business life. If you are your authentic self, you will get better results too.

Rick Warren writes about authenticity in his inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life: “Of course, being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection and being hurt again. Why would anyone take such a risk? Because it is the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy. The Bible says, ‘Make this your common practice: confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.’ We only grow by taking risks, and the most difficult risk of all is to be honest with ourselves and with others (p. 140, the scripture is James 5:16a from The Message).”

Form Small Groups

I have a vision of JobSeekers having small group meetings throughout the week; we’ve taken steps forward (and backward) in this direction. After the JobSeekers meeting on Friday mornings, many folks hang out for a while in several informal gatherings. I hear that many of you meet at other times during the week.

My vision also includes support groups meeting at some of the local churches as well – not for a official, formal meeting, but instead for the heart-to-heart relationship building that takes place during some of the more difficult days of our lives.

Here’s more from Warren’s book: “People wear masks, keep their guard up and act as if everything is rosy in their lives. These attitudes are the death of fellowship (p. 140).”

If you want to see a textbook example of this, go to a little league baseball game and listen to the dads and coaches talk to one another. In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge calls these men ‘posers.’ He says, “Most of what you encounter when you meet a man is a façade, an elaborate fig leaf, a brilliant disguise (p. 52).” I’d rather sit by myself than witness their puffed-up pride and listen to their braggadocio.

By the way, I am not immune to this; I’m trying to overcome my human condition every single day. I confess that I am guilty of ‘posing’ sometimes too.

Be Your Authentic Self

Friends, if you are out and about, put your game face on. Be positive and energetic. Smile. “Fake it ’til you make it.” But let me make this strong recommendation: don’t fake it with your close friends, with God, or with yourself. Yes, first be honest with yourself. Then be honest with God and with your closest advisers. We are here to help, or just to listen.

One of the many reasons I enjoy what I do is that I get to meet with and help people when they are more in touch with their authentic selves. The loss of a job and the challenges that come with a career transition can remove several layers of pretense!

I get frustrated with the few clients who keep secrets from me. How am I supposed to help them when they don’t lay all their cards on the table? They experience negative consequences like longer job searches, lower pay or less-than-satisfying jobs because they withheld information that I need to know in order to help them.

Which cards are you holding back? What do you need to disclose to your three closest advisers? What secrets are you keeping from God? (You aren’t doing a very good job on that one, by the way!) Think about it. Pray about it. Then do something about it.

See you this week at JobSeekers, the place where we can be our authentic selves!

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Where David Found His Strength

strengthAs we begin a new year, I want to share what I’ve learned about how, when and where David found his strength. The great warrior poet of the Old Testament had his ups and downs. If you don’t believe me, read the Psalms. The most difficult days of his life prepared him to lead a nation and to write psalms that still inspire us 3000 years later.

I’m looking forward to 2017 with hope in my heart, optimism in my eyes, and faith in God that through Him, all things are possible! In recent weeks I’ve spoken to many of you who are feeling quite the opposite: you have lost hope, are feeling depressed, and don’t believe much of anything good is possible.

Maybe we can learn from David.

Spring always follows winter.

Sometimes the seasons of our life aren’t always synched up with the seasons of the year. When many people are full of joy, you may be in the doldrums. Ecclesiastes says there’s a time and a season for everything. It may be winter in your life now, but spring is just around the corner.

David had a rough winter in his life before he became King of Israel.

John Ortberg tells the story of how David hid in caves to escape Saul in “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.” Although I’d read the story about hiding in caves before, I didn’t realize that David was on the run from Saul for about 10 years. In my mind he went from the youth who slew Goliath to King David in a short period of time.

Here’s what really happened: after being a shepherd and slaying Goliath, he was a musician in King Saul’s court. From there he became a warrior and rose to become the most successful officer in the army. At that point Saul became jealous (see 1 Samuel 18: 7-9). He tried various ways of killing David, including using his daughter Michal as a snare. The trap didn’t work; in fact, David married Michal.

As the story progresses, David loses his job (here’s our link), loses his wife (she was given to another man by her father), loses his best friend (Saul’s son Jonathan), loses his mentor (Samuel, who had anointed him when he was just a shepherd boy, and had continued to give David advice over the years – he died of old age), he lost his friend Ahimelech and 84 other priests who had sided with him (they were killed by Doeg the Edomite because they had protected David), and he had survived a few assassination attempts (Saul himself hurled a spear at him, 1 Samuel 20:33).

Are you getting the picture here? Things weren’t going so well for David.

David found strength in the Lord his God – in caves.

David hid in caves; he was constantly on the run from Saul’s army, just like Saddam Hussein when he was hiding from the U.S. special forces. David found 600 loyal men and their families who stuck with him. Things got even worse when David and his men returned from some raids on nearby towns to find that their city, Ziklag, had been burned to the ground and all their wives, sons and daughters had been taken captive by the Amalakites. Now even his loyal men turned on him. Ortberg says what David did next was one of the great statements in scripture (1 Samuel 30:6): “David found strength in the Lord his God.”

The story ends well. David and his men killed the Amalakites and got back their wives, children and all their possessions that had been taken as plunder. The Philistines killed Saul and his sons. David was anointed king, and he became the greatest king in the Bible, a man after God’s own heart. And he was the father (many generations removed) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Ortberg says the cave is a wonderful place to find that you are loved by God. He says, “The cave is where God does some of his best work in molding and shaping human lives. Sometimes when all the props and crutches in your life get stripped away and you find you have only God, you discover that God is enough.” (p.139)

How many of you reading this message today are in a cave right now? I’ve spent quite a bit of time in caves myself these past few years, and I am a better man for it. Use this cave time to allow God to mold and shape you. Use this time for good. It has a purpose. God has a purpose. Like David, there are indeed brighter days ahead for you. It’s God’s promise to all of us. As we begin a new year, listen to Jesus’ words to us, the sheep of his flock:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

Let’s all look forward to 2017 with hope in our hearts, optimism in our eyes, and faith in God that through Him, all things are possible! Amen!

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we always find hope.

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved