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Defining Moments


"When a defining moment comes, you define the moment or the moment defines you." This quote is from the movie "Tin Cup," with Kevin Costner playing the main character, Roy McAvoy.

While watching the movie "Tin Cup" this weekend, for what must be the 1000th time, I heard the above referenced quote differently than all the other times. Where was I before? The movie was filled with micro moments when the main character, Roy McAvoy is confronted with what are portrayed as "defining moments." With each of these moments, Roy must decide what he will do. If you have watched the movie you know that he plays with the viewers in each case. This back and forth pandering led me to coin a different reference that I will call the "revealing moment."

I believe that is what defining moments do. They come and go and if we are not careful, we will often miss them. So what? Well, consider a few examples that lend guidance to all of us as we encounter life's defining moments.

Consider David, the youngest son of Jessie, a young shepherd boy.
When his people were once again challenged by Goliath, the giant Philistine soldier, no one could measure up against the tremendous foe. I submit, for David, this was a defining moment. David was in an instant posed with the dilemma, "will this define me or will I define it?" David chose the latter. 

How about the soldier who in a split second must decide to push forward and overtake the enemy position, even at the risk of his/her own life for the sake of his fellow soldier? Or the fireman, that runs into a burning house to rescue someone trapped inside. Or the wife who decides to forgive her husband after a betrayal, even when her head tells her to just forget him. Or even the politician who must quickly decide to cast a vote on legislation that might cost her the next election. Then there is the addict that is faced with his next "hit" or getting clean. And the parent that just lost his job, and now realizes he could lose his home and that he may no longer be able to pay to send his children to college. All of these could be defining moments. There are countless others, some with greater consequences and others that to some would seem less important. However, to the players of the event, the moment is no less sensational!

Therein begs the question, what will we do? Will we define the moment or allow the moment to define us?

The answer may lie in the "revealing moment." That is the exact time when we realize that we must decide and we must act. Revealing moments show the direction we will go based on whether we React or Respond. 

When faced with a defining moment, one realizes that "I must do something." Fear can lead us to allow the moment to define us, by doing nothing, or reacting too quickly, often negatively. We may choose to cower to the moment and walk away with nothing but regret, or to React too quickly which often leads to negative outcomes.

There is always another option when we encounter our defining moments. We can "name it and claim it." We can choose to think quickly and clearly, make confident decisions, and take positive actions. We do so by Responding, which generally yields positive outcomes.

In both we are defined, but when WE define the moment, we leave a trail of decisions that others can learn from, replicate and perhaps also receive positive results. Most of us will not be remembered for heroic actions or be defined by such. We all will, however, be known for what we did in our own defining moments. 

So React or Respond? You must decide. I say, Respond and by doing so, YOU define the moment. You decide to strive for positive outcomes. Once you have your bearings, push toward your decision with confidence, don't give up, "Press On!"

In the movie, Roy shows us both options. Rent the movie and see what he decided when it really mattered. 










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