I love the storyline and the battle scenes in the movie “Troy”. I often use a certain moment in this movie to illustrate a point with my team and at home. Paris, the son of Troy’s King Priam, has fallen in love with Helen of Sparta. The major problem is that Helen is also the wife of the Spartan King Menelaus. Paris decides to steal her from Sparta and take her back to Troy. King Menelaus soon brings his army across the sea to not only avenge her but to conquer the Kingdom of Troy. At the beginning of the siege, King Menelaus challenges Paris to a death match in front of the castle walls. While preparing for battle, Paris is very fearful of his fate and the fact he may never live again to see Helen. His brother Hector (Prince and Great Warrior of Troy) is with him and gives him some much needed advice. Hector looks at him and says,”You think of his sword and your sword and nothing else!” In other words, he needed to focus on controllable factors and execution of skill over personal fear.
I have this message burned onto a plank of wood for my daughter. Haley is a ballet dancer that thrives in performance and lights up the stage. She trains incredibly hard and am so proud of her passion to perfect her craft. Haley also knows the meaning when I say to just “Focus On The Sword.” I encourage her to not focus on the lights, crowd, or any thoughts of doubt, but to dominate each step, turn, and movement of her everyday preparation. To perform with absolute passion for every step and moment on that stage. This same message to “Focus On The Sword” is shared with our team in-season. We can not focus on the crowd, the media, outside opinion, results, or weather factors. We have to focus on the group that has trained since January when no outside factors were present. Football is a game comprised of eleven men who each have an individual battle. Each player is specifically trained physically, mentally, and is equipped with a technical plan. Successful fundamentals of football will always remain the same but the mentality of a player can change. Outside fear or complacency cannot take away the preparation and focus that brought one to its current level. We have to focus on our technique and effort to win each battle one play at at time. Each player must thrive in the moment to defeat the 12 inches in front of their face.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear……” -2 Timothy 1:7
So for us, what is it that we might fear at times? Is it unknown scenarios, negative perception, regret, disappointment, or painful emotion. You get it…. We have all been there…. You are nervous before that big sales meeting and need to focus on strategy and a connecting relationship. Those times trying to focus on giving your mind and heart to your family but your mind is still dealing with issues at work. That day when chaos breaks loose with a broken refrigerator, sick child, and locked keys in the car. Focusing on fear, fate, or frustration does not bring value, is outside of your control, and can lead to added anxiety. The Holiday season can also bring outside stress and pressure that makes us miss the main point. We are fearful of not doing enough or not being enough for those in our life. When in actuality, everyone remembers joyful times together over unwrapping any gift from years ago. When we go through these different emotions, know that “Fear” is not from God and is external. I want to encourage you to focus on the controllables and to be the “Best Version of You.” Give yourself a process that creates focus, calmness, and peace in tense situations. Take a deep breath, take a walk, or whisper a quick prayer…. What can I do in this moment and how should I treat those around me? Tough days will come and go but relationships will last forever. People will remember how you deal with situations and connect with them longer than any result or gift. Think……..”Focus on the Sword.”
I have learned that the most successful teams and people can compartmentalize and focus on a successful process. Whether preparing for competition, personal challenges, a day at work, or life’s purpose know that you are built to be “Strong and Courageous“. In the battles of life, focus on your purpose, people, and plan for success. So the next time you are frustrated, confused, or having some doubt, “Focus on the Sword“, and prepare to conquer the importance of what is in front of you.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9