The two greatest days in our lives are the day we’re born and the day we realize what we were born for.
Do you know what you were born for? For years Mike Flynta college football player turned insurance salesmancertainly didn’t. Then one monumental day he stumbled into what he now believes is the career he was made for and, in turn, the life he was meant to live.
The Power-Based Life was developed out of Mike’s desire to help others discover who God created them to be and, consequently, the work they were designed to do. But what exactly is a power base? As Mike explains through heartfelt personal accounts, notable sports stories, and biblical references, a power base is the center of personal strength used to meet challenges that, once discovered and maximized, will lead to a more significant, satisfying, and successful life.
He offers twelve strategies designed to tap into your specific points of personal strength, such as Cultivate a Winning Attitude, Defy the Skeptics, and Practice Radical Mercy. These principles empower you to rise above life’s challenges and identify and embrace your goals and dreams. Find true meaning in your work and how you can impact the world by strengthening your body, mind, and spirit.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Mike Flynt played football for Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, where he helped start a winning tradition, inspiringFriday Night Lights. In 2007, at age 59, Mike received national attention, returning to his college alma mater, Sul Ross State University, to play his senior year, becoming the oldest contributing football team member in NCAA history. Today Mike's company, Powerbase Fitness, helps people of all ages live a better, more productive life through strength training.
Read an Excerpt
The Power Based Life
Realize Your Life's Goals and Dreams by Strengthening Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
By Mike Flynt
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2010 Mike Flynt
All rights reserved.
POWER BASE: PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
Let me ask you a question: What do you want to be when you grow up?
We all have hopes and dreams, but what we most often dream about is the career that is absolutely perfect for who we are, how we're made, and what we want to become. We sense that if we could only get that one opportunity, we would live a power-based life. I'm referring not to political power or financial power but to the personal power that comes from achieving something significant in life and that allows us to go to bed each evening with the knowledge that the day has been another effective investment of our time.
When I first entered the job world, I was working construction by day and washing dishes by night—right after being kicked out of college. It wasn't where I'd expected to be, but you know how that goes. As kids we want to be anything and everything when we grow up: astronauts or pro athletes or president of the United States. But when the time actually comes to go seek our fortunes, we go to the back of the line and take what we can get. I started at the back of the line. Maybe you did too.
In my first book I told the story of my greatest regret in life—losing my college scholarship and education before I could play my senior year of football for the Sul Ross Lobos. A lot of my dreams seemed to have shattered. I was angry at myself and the world. I moved to Austin, Texas, where a friend and I rented a room at a boardinghouse on the campus of the University of Texas, and I took those two jobs. At least, by washing dishes in the sorority house, I could get my evening meals free. As I ate them, I wondered what future lay in store for me.
I knew my life had nowhere to go but up. There was a lot of anger festering inside of me that I was going to have to deal with. I couldn't walk into a room without scoping it out for potential fistfights and visualizing how I would win each one. I played out thousands of physical confrontations in my mind—and won every single one of them. I'm not exaggerating at all when I tell you that. I'll go into much greater detail in the following chapters because it was this phase of my life that illustrated a startling truth and highlighted a key power base in my life. And power bases are what we're here to talk about.
I might have punched my way into real trouble if I hadn't met my wonderful wife. That was a key change of direction for me as I became focused on starting and supporting a family. I took a step up in the job world by selling life insurance for a short time. But there was also my wife's career to consider; she had been a straight-A student and an English major in college. Her goal was to find a job that played to her strengths yet compensated her as fairly as possible. Eileen decided that court reporting would be a wise target job, which meant we had to move to Arlington, Texas, for her to study that trade. When we settled there, I got a night-shift job building cabinets at a manufacturing plant.
Those were good times for me. My dad had passed along some carpentry skills, and it was really nice working with my hands and putting his teaching to good use. The pay was better than average too. I cared for our daughter by day, my wife did so by night, and we knew we were building a foundation for a solid family life.
Still, I lacked that feeling of doing the essential thing in life I was made to do. Someone has said that the two greatest days of our lives are the day we're born and the day we realize what we were born for. I hadn't quite gotten to that second one yet.
Then again, you know how it is when you're starting a family. I was so caught up with my beautiful wife and my little daughter, Delanie, that I didn't lose much sleep over having the perfect job. My destiny was a work in progress. I wondered what I was going to end up doing and whether it was going to make me happy.
As a boy I really hated one thing about myself: my size. I wanted to be big and tough, the kind of guy I knew my dad expected me to be. I've written about how he was a warrior who taught me to be one—how he bought us two pairs of boxing gloves, and how we put on those gloves and went after each other without restraint.
It's true that one of the results of this was that I developed a big chip on my shoulder, but I'm not proud of that. When my dad berated me for getting kicked out of school after yet another fight, I told him that I was exactly what he had made me—and he couldn't argue. He had only wanted me to be able to take care of myself in any situation, but he had created a Frankenstein.
Still, it wasn't all bad. As a result of his challenge, I took my strength and fitness seriously. I had an unquenchable drive to live up to my dad's high standards of masculinity. We have a chapter on adversity in this book, and the message is that what you do with your adversity becomes a power base for you. Since my size was the only thing holding me back, what I lacked in physical stature, I made up for in power. It helped me in football. It was good for my self-image. I felt good and enjoyed having the extra strength. And of course, optimal physical conditioning is good for you too; it becomes its own reward.
That's why I maintained my body condition even when football appeared to be over for me after my junior season in college. There was no way I was going to let my muscle tone or percentage of body fat slide after working so hard for so many years to maintain them. Wherever we lived, I found health clubs and training facilities, and I cared for my body the way some guys cared for their expensive new sports cars. Training was a daily discipline, like brushing my teeth or taking a shower. And it was something I truly enjoyed. I loved the whole goal-driven world of conditioning, and the "good kind of tired" I had after an intense workout.
I was lifting weights in a gym one day when I struck up a conversation with a guy who had a job that caught my attention. He told me he was a strength coach at the college level.
His name was Boyd Epley. He worked at the University of Nebraska, where he had once been a track star, but was in Arlington, Texas, for the National Power Lifting Competition. We hit it off and talked in detail about our shared love of weight training, and he saw that I was a former college player with a powerful drive for excellence and a love of the weight room. Three days later he offered me a job as a graduate assistant strength coach at Nebraska.
What a break! Is it possible to achieve your dream without having realized in advance that it was your dream? I've become persuaded that many of our dreams are pursuits we haven't even figured out. It is only God who knows what we would ask for if we were smart enough to realize it in the first place. Listen to how the Bible backs me up on this:
But we are hoping for something we do not have yet, and we are waiting for it patiently. Also, the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain. God can see what is in people's hearts. (Romans 8:25–27 NCV)
That was me, hoping for what I didn't have yet. And isn't it nice that God sees what is in our hearts and moves us toward those things that are for our best, when we can't even figure out what they are?
If I'd known there was such a thing as strength coaching, I would have been all over it! This was actually a brand-new profession at the time. I hadn't realized there was a growing science of weight training; I'd just picked up a few pointers in gyms here and there. I immediately embraced the idea of working with young men and women to help them be the best athletes they could be.
The point of all this is to demonstrate how there was a perfect profession for me, just as there is for you. Strength coaching was just the right fit. It enabled me to work in an environment I loved, and it allowed me to teach and encourage younger people—something I found truly fulfilling. This job was active, physical, goal oriented, and connected to sports. For me, what was not to love? I had found the career path I was born to follow.
I've since followed it in new directions with my invention and promotion of the Powerbase Fitness system, a logical career development for me. Our goal throughout life should be to keep fine-tuning our work to match the way God has wired us, to the extent that we understand who we are at that point in time. During the journey, we grow, and our environment changes. The road takes new turns for us, and we find new and more advanced ways of fulfilling our destiny—just the way God drew it up for us in his game plan.
Okay, enough about me. Let me ask you again: What do you want to be when you grow up—and why?
This is a book about power-based living—it shows you how to use power-based principles to help you realize your life's goals and dreams. There are identifiable points of power in this world and in our common experiences, and if we can find and maximize those, wonderful and fulfilling adventures will characterize our lives.
A quick glance at the table of contents will identify which power-based principles we're going to explore. The only thing they have in common, other than being key issues of life, work, and interpersonal relationships, is that they are supported by biblical truth. I personally try to navigate my life from a biblical Christian perspective, but let me also point out that these power points work for everyone. They work simply because they are true and because they reflect the conditions of this world as we commonly experience it.
You'll notice that I share verses from the Word of God in every chapter, and I speak from the viewpoint of a follower of Jesus Christ. Even if you haven't made that choice in your own life, I hope that the practical good sense of these directives will ring true with you.
When I worked with student athletes at the collegiate level, I noticed that many of them loved playing video games. Some of them played computerized football, and some of them fought in virtual wars or to combat aliens. In these battle-related games there are little areas or items known as power-ups. When players move their onscreen characters across these items, they suddenly gain extra power, extra health, or extra ammunition. The strategy is to move through these graphic landscapes and look for power-ups.
So it is with the principles in this book. They are power-ups for your journey toward finding true significance and effectiveness in life. As you read, I hope you'll constantly be reminded that every single one of these ideas has a direct application for your life. I'm convinced that if you can learn to seize upon each of these power-based principles, your life will be much more effective and satisfying.
YOUR STRONG PLACES
Now back to this idea of playing to your strengths. What strengths are we talking about? I like the idea of the "sweet spot," that place on any tennis racquet or baseball bat that will drive the ball just where you want it to go. A great tennis or baseball player will learn to work from the sweet spot. But we have them too. We're made to do certain things particularly well. You know you've found that spot when you find yourself thinking, I'm really in my element when I do this. For you, it could be working with people. It could be handling details, or it might be something more creative.
In the next few paragraphs, I'm going to tell you more about the process of finding out just where your abilities lie. But I'm guessing you already have a pretty good idea about it. You've figured out that you have areas of strength and other areas that, well, someone else should be handling.
I found my sweet spot when I discovered it was possible to have a career in strength training. I learned how much more fulfilling life could be when I played to my strengths. It's our first power-based principle—the foundational concept for the whole series of principles because it's the one about who you really are and what you choose to do with your life. There's an incredible power that comes from finding what we were designed to do in life. And yes, I believe that most of us have one tailor-made direction that constitutes our very best chance for making an impact in this world. That doesn't mean there aren't people who could be successful in multiple career paths. You and I have both met people like that. Any number of life goals would probably make you happy. But each one of us is uniquely and delicately crafted to do specific things.
For example, I did fine in construction work though it didn't thrill me. I was pretty good at cabinetmaking and derived a certain satisfaction from making a high-quality piece of furniture with my hands. Perhaps I could have had a nice career in that field. But I knew all the time that there was something out there that was the thing I was placed on this earth to do.
Meanwhile, how was I spending my spare time? When I wasn't with my wife and daughter, I was working out at the gym. I wasn't dragging myself in there—I looked forward to it! I talked with other guys about how to better maximize a workout. Some athletes hated the "drudgery" of strength training, and they abandoned it the moment their playing days were over. Not me. And when I met a guy like me whose career was in that field, my eyes lit up. "What?" I asked. "You mean people pay you to do that?"
That's the first principle of playing to your strengths. Think about what you would do for free, do joyfully, every day of your life. And ask yourself a crucial question: Does it provide a true service of some kind? I might like taking a Sunday nap, but no one will pay me to do that. However, I did find something I loved to do that offered value to someone else.
People go to career counselors and take extensive tests that assess their aptitudes. These are very helpful inventories. But the best way to find out what you were meant to do is to ask yourself two questions: What makes my eyes light up? What do I do that helps people and would still do if no one paid me? Find the very best answer to these questions and then play to that strength.
By the way, don't assume that this self-questioning is a given, and that it's something people are already doing. In his book Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham reported on a Gallup poll that surveyed 1.7 million employees from 101 companies in 63 countries. These workers were asked what they did and what they were good at doing. Only 20 percent of them stated that they were using their strengths every day. That means that in the workplace, four of every five employees are being misused, set up for personal frustration.
It's no good for the organization, it's no good for the employees, and it could be the reason why we see so many people that are unhappy with their jobs today.
Organizations shift employees around based on the moment's need rather than the individual abilities of each person, never considering what the long-term consequences could be. And when someone does well with a certain responsibility, he is sometimes promoted to a job that pays better and has more status, but that may no longer represent his strengths. Is that corner office with the window worth the price of less effectiveness and less personal satisfaction?
We are often just as guilty of seeking work based on the pay rather than the job profile. It's nice to have a slightly higher salary, but we should also consider whether we're truly matching our unique abilities to the task. God made us for specific purposes, not specific pay scales. He also made us to live joyfully and passionately. The right task has much more to do with joyfully fulfilling our purpose than the compensation it brings us.
Let's examine another misconception about talent and ability.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
Management expert Peter Drucker has written, "To build on a person's strengths, that is, to enable him to do what he can do, will make him effective ... to try to build on his weaknesses will be frustrating and stultifying."
Yet very often we give an excess of attention to the areas in which we struggle. Birds aren't very good at walking, but you don't see them spending their time trying to improve their skill. What they do is fly. Horses feel no anxiety over their inability to fly or to climb trees; they are designed to run and experience no qualms over the things they weren't designed to do. Why, then, do we probe ourselves for weaknesses and beat ourselves up over them?
Jim Kaat was a baseball pitcher though in recent years you might recognize him as a broadcaster. As an active player he could throw a mean fastball. He said that his success began in 1966, when he worked with ace pitching coach Johnny Sain. Sain would quietly watch each of his pitchers perform; then he would call them in for private meetings. He asked Kaat about his four best pitches. "My best is my fastball," Kaat answered with confidence. "Then comes my curve; then my slider and changeup are third and fourth."
Sain nodded and asked, "Which do you practice the most?"
"Slider and changeup, of course," said Kaat. "If I master those, I know I'll have a big season."
Excerpted from The Power Based Life by Mike Flynt. Copyright © 2010 Mike Flynt. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
1 Power Base: Play to Your Strengths 1
2 Basics: Master the Essentials 17
3 Mindscape: Cultivate a Winning Attitude 31
4 Visualization: See What Can Be 47
5 Belief: Defy the Skeptics 63
6 Commitment: Move Forward Relentlessly 81
7 Team: Know Who You Play For 99
8 Identification: Fly Your Flag 117
9 Adversity: Turn Your Difficulties to Your Advantage 133
10 Compassion: Practice Radical Mercy 151
11 Time: Maximize Your Moments 167
12 Body: Sow in Health, Reap a Longer Life 185
About the Author 205