A PEP talk

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) David G. Berube
  • 102nd Intelligence Wing Chaplain
Football season is upon us. Now that the referee situation is sorted out we should be able to focus on what happens on the field without distraction. Although, experience tells us other side issues will arise. Questionable on-field actions and off-the-field activities by players or coaches will threaten to draw attention from the point of the season - football.

Distraction from the main point happens in life as well as football. There are core missions in life for each of us - providing for ourselves and families, living a good life, fulfilling a mission or calling for example - yet it's easy to get distracted by small or big situations that we or others place on our radar. Whether it's a budget decision made way above us or a personal decision we make, things that happen outside our core can impact our focus and affect our effectiveness.

A big piece of the coach's role in sport is to help players maintain focus on their core missions. Coaches often use the locker room pep talk to assist the reorientation of the team from distractions back to the core. Since our lives are constantly filled with distractions, I offer the following PEP talk to help us stay focused on our core missions in life. I believe that if we prepare, engage, and persevere in the core missions of life, we can maintain the kind of focus that will help us continue making good choices, maintaining our resiliency, and providing good support to one another to do the same.

Preparation is our critical foundation. Preparation involves knowing what the game is, what our position in the game is, and how we fit into both the overall and play-by-play pictures of the game. We each need to take time to discern and understand our role in life as family members, individuals, and community members, as well as members of the military. Once we know our role we need to spend quality time in training and practice to improve our ability in those core missions.

Engagement is the critical focus of our lives; the point of preparation. Positive engagement in our lives and the lives of those around us will have major impact in how those lives progress. We make a difference, either positive or negative, every day. We don't control everything and many times we don't control a lot, but we always control our response to whatever each day sends our way. It's vital we maintain the control we have in order to contribute to the ongoing forward, positive focus of life.

Perseverance is critical follow-through in life. We all know life is often not "once and done" regarding the difficulties and distractions that come our way. Quite often problems we thought we dealt with come back, either in the same form or some variation of their previous version. This can wear us down if we forget that our preparation and engagement with life need to have the same tenacity as our problems. Perseverance is about sticking to the game plan and doing what we know we're supposed to do in the face of whatever opponent we face. It is about remembering the core missions we've prepared for, and smartly using that preparation to navigate through our opponents to reach those important goals in life.

When we each take care of these important life tasks and support each other, we constantly form a stronger team. When that happens, we are better equipped to meet life's challenges and focus on the blessings that are part of the core missions in our lives.