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

If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survive hell on earth

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery pit — who’s the fourth guy?

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”
– Sir Winston Churchill

When I’ve gone through tough times in my life, I’ve found it helpful to remind myself that the difficulty I’m in is only temporary. I know many of you are going through some unimaginably tough times right now. When we find ourselves in a fiery pit, it may seem that we are bound to stay there for eternity. That’s not the case of course; oftentimes what determines how long we’re in the flames are the things we think, feel and do.

Meet Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. 

The ultimate example of being in the flames took place during the captivity of the Hebrews in Babylon. The story is told in the first three chapters of the book of Daniel. After Daniel had interpreted a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar’s, the King was so impressed he appointed Daniel governor of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar also gave important posts to Daniel’s three friends: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Later the King gave orders for a statue to be built; it was to be 90 feet high, nine feet wide, and made of solid gold. With great pomp and ceremony he commanded his officers, governors, captains and counselors to come and worship the statue as god. Only Daniel’s three friends refused.

When King Nebuchadnezzar learned that his order had been defied, he flew into a rage and demanded that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be brought before him. “If you do not worship as I tell you, I will have you thrown into the furnace and burned to death!”

They replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Nebuchadnezzar had the furnace heated to seven times its usual heat (How would they have measured it back then?). Then the men, fully clothed, were thrown into the flames. To his astonishment, Nebuchadnezzar saw not only that the men were unharmed, but also that there was a fourth man in there with them. When the king called them out from the flames, everyone saw that not a hair was singed, not a thread of clothing was burnt. Nebuchadnezzar decreed that he and his people would worship only their God.

God delivers us while we are in the flames.

Chuck Hodges, senior pastor at Athens First UMC, describes this as more than a divine encounter. He says that sometimes God delivers us from the furnace, but other times he delivers us while we are in the furnace. Our goal is to avoid the flames, but God is right here with us while we are in the flames. Many believe that the fourth person in those flames with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was the preincarnate Christ.

Charles Lindsey, a former member of JobSeekers, wrote to me: “God is always able – but sometimes does not remove the circumstances – and that should not alter our commitment to faith in God. The three men had no assurance of a physical rescue, but were solid in their spiritual health. That has always seemed to strike much more of a chord with me than biblical heroes that heard directly from God with a future promise.”

Never, never, never give up!

I opened this message with Churchill, and I will close with Churchill. On 29 October 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited the Harrow School in Harrow, England to speak to the students. This became one of his most quoted speeches, due to distortions that evolved about what he said.

The myth is that Churchill stood before the students and said, “Never, never, never, never give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.” The first time I heard the myth, it was only five words: “Never, never, never give up.” Then he sat down. (That would have been a great speech, by the way.)

In reality, he made a complete speech that included words similar to what are often quoted. Here’s the excerpt: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Friends, never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

You are in the midst of the flames right now, and Jesus in right by your side – just as he was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. In spite of the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy, they claimed the ultimate power – the power of God almighty. The difference is in what you think, feel and do. Choose God, the ultimate source of encouragement and strength.

See this Friday at JobSeekers, where we never give in and never give up!

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