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Can’t Always Get What You Want

“That is one of the tricks of opportunity. It has the sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity.”

Napoleon Hill — Think and Grow Rich

As the phone call began I felt optimistic. I certainly hadn’t been head of my class but I attended a well regarded college and played four years of competitive varsity football with some decent accolades throughout my athletic career. I laid out my case in a neatly bulleted format, listing all of my key attributes that would help take their business unit to the next level. Nervous, yet confident I had made a strong impression, I awaited the verdict. “Sorry Brian, but we aren’t going to be bringing you on at this time.”

Stymied, but not ready to give up, I again made my points and verged on begging for the opportunity to show myself in action. It was to no avail. As the call ended I sat staring out the windshield of my car. I was a young twenty-something who thought he knew exactly what he wanted. Who also thought he knew better than an all-knowing God.

First Choice, Worst Choice

On February 6th, 2018 the Indianapolis Colts front office was on cloud nine. They had landed Josh McDaniels, a coveted Assistant Coach who some believed was the true offensive mastermind behind legendary Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. The Colts shared the happy news on social media and prepared a media day to introduce their new coach. It was to be a memorable day for Colts fans, and it was — only for a different reason.

Within a few hours of the announcement the Colts received unfathomable news. McDaniels changed his mind. Some speculated that Belichick pulled him behind closed doors and promised him the keys to the Patriots regime when he retires. As an Eagles fan I can imagine the scene looking something like Darth Vader kneeling before the Emperor in Star Wars to be awarded the evil empire, but I digress — no matter what took place, it was a day of infamy for the lowly Colts.

Second Try

Five days later the Colts made sure they got their coach. Following a blitz of meetings, the Colts signed Frank Reich to a five year contract as their new Head Coach. This time they waited until he actually signed it before tweeting it out. [1]

While we don’t know what McDaniels might have done as their coach, we do know what Reich did. While many believed the Colts had promise due to star Quarterback Andrew Luck, Reich still took over a team that was 4-12 in 2017 and appeared to lack both a winning culture and an identity. In fact, things looked unchanged as the Colts dropped five of their first six contests. [2]

But then something different began to take shape. Reich, a strong Christian believer and proponent of a team-before-individual culture, started to get buy-in within the locker room to his “relentless pursuit to get better every day” philosophy.[3] And guess what? They did. Quickly.

The Colts won nine of their final ten games and had their first postseason birth since 2014, followed by an impressive postseason win. Reich was named AFC Coach of the year for the 2018 season. Not bad for a second choice. The Colts might not have gotten their first choice, but at least thus far it looks like God had something better in store for them after all.

Misfortune or Opportunity

How many times in our lives do we know something without a shadow of a doubt? Here are a few examples of when that didn’t hold up so well:

When Clemson hired then Interim Coach Dabo Swinney, ESPN Insider Pat Forde gave them a “D-“ and bloviated via Twitter, “Swinney was part and parcel of a failed season but somehow got a promotion out of the deal”.[4] Swinney has since coached the Tigers to beat Alabama twice for National Championship honors.

When the Philadelphia Eagles hired Doug Pederson to be their head coach, a former NFL executive said that he was less qualified than anyone he had seen in his 30-plus year NFL career. [5] In only his second season, Pederson coached the Eagles in winning their first Super Bowl Championship in franchise history.

Six Quarterbacks were drafted before Tom Brady was selected with pick 199 in the 6th round of the 2000 NFL Draft. See how those selected before him panned out in the article below- [6] - spoiler alert, not as well as Tom Brady.

Something Greater

I won’t name the company that I spoke with on the phone that day but I will tell you that like the infamy that surrounds the flubbed initial Colts hiring, they are now most known for not surviving the financial crisis of 2008. By not getting that job and what I perceived as the best for me, I ended up in a different position that led to exponential career growth instead. It also led me to meet my wife.

God doesn’t always lead us to success through what we perceive to be the right path. Sometimes he will use something or someone completely out of our preconceived comfort zone. Jesus was the perfect example of this. God sent a sacrificial and servant-based Messiah instead of the political or warrior natured one most expected. Rather than locking in on what we believe to be right we should start asking God to show us His will and trust in Him. No you can’t always get what you want. But maybe that’s because God has something much better in store for you anyway.







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