Waking up – My courageous quest for greatness

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’m wide awake.

What’s keeping me up? Well mainly jet lag. It’s night 2 in Doha, Qatar and I’m visiting my daughters for the first time in their new country. It’s hard to believe the last time I saw them was July. But in addition to battling the beast that is Jet Lag, my mind is also battling something over which I have lost countless hours of sleep.


My whole life I have wanted to be great at something. Grades, sports, friendships, brotherhood, teaching and coaching. I’ve wanted to be great and I’ve wanted others to recognize me for being great. Even though a lot of my motivation was driven by a fear of failure, I do think that I have also been motivated by a core desire put inside me by my Creator.

A desire to help people.

But because I am human and because over time I developed a self seeking disease called addiction, I have fallen short of greatness time and again. Honestly I have fallen well short of greatness on many accounts.

But as I sit in this hotel room and look over at the two people I am sharing it with, I am realizing that greatness is still within grasp. I know that I am destined to be a great dad. I am more sure of it then anything in my life. I also believe that I finally have stumbled upon the winning formula. Ironically the winning formula of being great at something is less about me and more about others. Over the last several months through recovery I have noticed that I succeed in life not when I take the bull by the horns and grip it tightly. Quite the opposite. I succeed when I lead with my weakness. I succeed when I am vulnerable, humble and when I surrender to God. Because the truth is I can never truly achieve greatness on my own. I need the help of others and I need God everyday.

Once you become a parent everything changes. Your priorities. Your outlook on life. And even your definition of greatness.

Right now I can honestly say that I would sacrifice everything for those little girls. I would move anywhere in the world, give up any job, take any job, do anything within my power to help them. I am learning to not take myself so seriously but that by no means undermines the importance of my role. Being a dad is more important than any earthly position man can create. We measure great coaches on wins, great musicians on record sells, great presidents on leadership and policy.

How do we measure the greatness of a Dad?

I measure it two ways: Modeling and trying.

If I am living my life in a way that promotes health, honesty, serenity and faith then I am helping my daughters. If I speak kindly, pray for others, trust God during hard times – I am helping my daughters. If I can have a sense of humor, live fully, feel deeply and love others well – I am helping my daughters.

Not that I will do all these things perfectly or even do them well but recovery has given me the tools to courageously attempt them everyday. That leads me to the second part of the formula. It has been said that half of success in life is achieved by merely showing up. I don’t necessarily agree (and quite frankly it’s pretty obvious to most that the saying is meant to be an oversimplification). I would argue that half of life’s success is merely trying.

Right now it’s the preseason for high school basketball. This year at my school I am working as an assistant on the girls varsity team. Let’s just say we have quite the rebuilding job ahead of us! Last week we were running laps for conditioning and I was shocked how easily the players give up and start walking when they think they can’t do it. I find myself shaking my head in disgust until I realize a few things. Most of them haven’t learned how to be mentally tough. They haven’t had that modeled to them at all. I also realize that my disease has very much weakened my mental toughness and much like a muscle that has been neglected I have developed atrophy. These girls need me to encourage them, give them tips, push them so they can believe they can do it. Through recovery I have been able to surround myself with several “coaches” -people who have walked the path before me. Just as I need my players to trust me for us to succeed, I must trust my counselor, my sponsor and my pastor. I must listen to their advice and encouragement.

I am learning that the easy way out is giving in to the voice of my disease. He says that it’s not worth it. I should just give up. It’s just too much. But I am learning how to listen to the voice of others.

They tell me a different story.

I must try. I must do my best and leave the rest. I must for my sake and for the sake of my family.

If I take it one day at a time, if I look for ways to get better, if I live out my recovery and if I give it my best shot – I will become a great dad. And I don’t have to win awards or approval/recognition of others to achieve greatness. I will know how well I achieved it by how well my daughters live.

You put in all the hours of doing the hard work of recovery so your children can just live it.” – My counselor



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