MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION
By Deion Sanders with Tejado W. Hanchell, Ph. D
Life is made up of moments. When I look back over my shoulder on my career, I don’t see World Series, Super Bowls, All-Pro selections, contracts, or accolades, what I remember most are the moments. It’s the moments that define us, make us, and unfortunately for many, it’s the moments that break us. All of us are faced with important moments in our lives, and it is what we do in those moments that determines our success or failure.
There is something exciting and exhilarating about being “in the moment.” In the sports arena, “the moment” can come on a crucial play in a critical game. Entire careers are defined by those moments. Michael Jordan is known as the greatest basketball player of all time – not just because he scored a lot of points – but because of WHEN he scored those points. He always seemed to come up big in the moment. Baseball fans remember the name Bill Buckner because he had his greatest failure in his biggest moment. They don’t remember his 174 home runs or 1208 RBI, Bill Buckner is remembered for one error that took place in the 1986 World Series. That was his moment. We just celebrated the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial. Dr. King is remembered and honored because he made the most of his moments. His iconic “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the greatest moments in American and world history. Dr. King taught us that one MOMENT can start a MOVEMENT!
While athletes are mainly remembered (or forgotten) based upon what they do in the moment, it’s important to note that we all have moments in our lives that define us. We must be ready to maximize our moment or we will miss our moment. One of the saddest things in life is to look back and realize that we have missed our moment. Even worse, is when we miss our moment – and we didn’t even realize it! We’ve all seen the washed up athlete, or the guy that’s way too old still dancing in the club, well past his prime, still trying to hold on to the glory days when everyone knows that he’s finished – except him. It is a sad sight to see. It’s like Samson in the Bible. Samson had lost his strength, but he didn’t know it. His moment had passed him by, and he had no clue. Don’t end up like Samson. Don’t miss your moment!
There are three different Greek words that are translated as ‘moment’ in the New Testament of the Bible. The one that interests me most is ‘stigme.’ This is closely related to our English word ‘stigma.’ Stigma often has a negative connotation, but it can have a positive outcome. It can either mean that you’ve ‘made your mark’ or it can mean that you have a ‘mark of disgrace.’ I believe that it’s what we do in the moment that determines whether we make our mark or are marked with disgrace. It’s interesting that this Greek word ‘stigme’ only shows up during the time of Jesus’ greatest temptation in Luke 4:5. If He had failed in that moment in the wilderness, He may have never made it to the moment at Calvary. Moments are important!
I remember the first major moment of my professional career. It was Draft Day 1989, Jheri curl was tight with a neck full of gold. This was a moment! I had waited for it my entire life, but for the first time in my life, I was not in control. As a kid, I chose the Youth Football Team I played for. I chose my high school, and I chose to go to Florida State for college. But when it came to the NFL draft, I was not in control. It was a humbling, yet exciting, experience. I didn’t know who was going to call my name, where I was going to live, or what team I was going to play for. I had a lot of anxiety because I had no control. I HATE not being in control. That’s why I’ve never done drugs or even tasted alcohol. I saw how it caused people to lose control. I never wanted to be like that, I always wanted to be in control.
All along, I wanted to go to Atlanta because I understood that this moment was greater than just what happened on the football field. I knew that Atlanta was the only city that could handle a brash young athlete like me. Dallas had the first pick, and I knew they were going to draft Troy Aikman. They needed a quarterback. Green Bay was picking next. I told them I was from Florida, and I wasn’t going to play in the cold. Detroit picked third. I told them I was going to ask for so much money, they would have to put me on layaway! Kansas City was fourth, and I told them there was no way I was coming out there. That left Atlanta at number five.
Even with all of that, I still had anxiety before hearing my name called, because there is always that moment before The Moment. It is a moment filled with uncertainty. I thought about all the moments that brought me to that day and all the moments I hoped would happen after that day. Every moment prepares us for the next moment. I can still remember when they called my name and told me that I had been drafted by the Falcons. I will never forget that moment. In that moment, I knew that my mother would never have to work again if I became a good steward over my finances. I knew that I would be able to provide for my family and those closest to me. It reminded me that my moment was not just about me. Moments are meant to be shared. You never see a draft pick sitting by himself on Draft Day. High school graduates are always surrounded by friends and family members. Even lottery winners never show up to pick up their check by themselves! Moments mean nothing if you don’t have someone to share them with.
You may never win the lottery or hear your name called on Draft Day, but God calls us all each day and gives us moments to make an impact. Prepare for your moments. Make the most of your moments. Share your moments. Years ago, I wrote a book called “Power, Money, and Sex” which I said was the new PMS. That PMS nearly destroyed my life, but this PMS (Prepare, Make, and Share) can help save yours. Life is a series of moments. Prepare for them, make the most of them, and share them with those you love. That way you can turn your MOMENTS into MONUMENTS.
Tejado W. Hanchell