“All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.”
1 Corinthians 9:25 NLT
The gap between making a positive difference and simply maintaining the status quo in my life comes down to how I choose to show up. Behaviour is always at my discretion. There are innumerable external factors over which I have no control but they, however, cannot determine my behaviour. I recently read Marshall Goldsmith on behaviour management and came away with a fresh mnemonic to help me.
This mnemonic consists of the letters AIWATT and stands for Am I Willing At This Time? This has become my question to myself when fatigue, irritation and any manifestation of those myriad external pressures appear to have placed me on the run. What action am I willing to take so that I represent my core values ahead of my preferred, emotional reactions?
I need to train myself to make a positive difference in the situations I find myself in, especially those where the pressure threatens to unhinge me. So I pause, ask myself AIWATT? And settle on the best behaviour I can in the moment.
Say someone interrupts me, and it’s not the first time, and I am finding their style of personal interaction challenging. I feel my hackles rise and a sharp response quickly forms in my head. But then I recall who I am, who God is and therefore who they are in God’s eyes, if not my own. I switch from aggression to calm and acknowledge the stress within me. Then, when at my best, I respond with behaviour that characterises the way of life I’ve embraced as a follower of Jesus. This is always about seeking to push for a better future, not a better me.
How often have you regretted words and actions that owed more to the stress you felt than any attempt to honour God?
Lord, I find the training in life hard – reset my gaze on you, my prize.