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Father And Son“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
–  JK Rowling [Tweet this.]

Each day is ripe with opportunities to believe, perceive, speak, surrender, act, live and lead in such a way that will affect everything that happens afterwards. These continual opportunities create inflection points that can change the very course of your life.

“Inflection points” can appear as insignificant or monumental; as positive or negative; they are the events, encounters and decisions that, once they’ve occurred: life afterwards is completely altered.

It is not necessarily the event that determines if it’s positive or negative, but rather the internal drive that prepares us for them, guides us through them, and launches us forward after they’ve happened.

The two greatest motivators that guide us through inflection points are: fear and love.

As a kid I was introduced to this truth and of our ability to choose in a most dramatic fashion. Let me explain.

At nine-years-old, my inflection point was a can of gasoline blowing up in my face. Afterwards I found myself lying in an emergency room bed, unable to move. The majority of my skin was completely burnt, exposing my muscle and tissue as my singed nerves struggled to send warnings throughout my failing body.

As tough as the physical pain was, the emotional pain was much worse.

Perhaps the most painful thing was being alone. The hospital room was crowded with staff providing care, working feverishly, and offering encouragement, but I felt totally alone.

So what motivated me? What was driving my thoughts, words, and actions? What was directing the ending I was beginning to write for myself?

Fear.

Fear of the situation, the devastation caused, the future ruined. I feared my pain, my loneliness, my plight. I feared dying, feared living, but mostly feared my parents’ reaction when they discovered I had blown up their home!

Fear is a powerful motivator. [Tweet this.] It can be a great spark that encourages punctuality, growth spiritually and better decisions professionally.

The problem arises when it’s not just a momentary feeling, but a pervasive guide in life. Fear is rooted in the suffocating soil of insecurity, shortsightedness and negativity. It lives in future concerns that may never become reality. It’s fueled by worry regarding conversations, judgments and outcomes that may never occur.

Ah, but there is another way. The other great motivator, the one the shines through the darkness of fear is love.

Great examples of love were my parents. They arrived at the hospital shortly after I was brought in. My dad was brought back first. The staff conveyed the seriousness of my burns and warned him of what he was about to see.

My friend, this was his inflection point: Dad entered into an unwanted, unplanned, agonizing, fear-filled moment. And what he did next changed his world and my life.

Dad pulled back the curtain, entered into the room, and walked to the bed. He looked at me tenderly, smiled and said, “John, I love you. And I am so proud to be your dad. I love you.”

I’ll never forget those words. They served as a warm light cutting through the darkness I’d existed in. His kindness temporarily lifted me from a place with no options, no hope, no chance and elevated me to one where I could take the next breath, latch onto a glimmer of possibility and fight forward.

By becoming a shining example of love, Dad shifted my motivation from one grounded in fear to one fueled by love.

My friends, we can make this same choice. We can choose fear and be suffocated by insecurity, shortsightedness, and negativity. Or we can wake up, choose love and be liberated to take back our life, ignite our possibility and change our world.

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our experiences, limitations and abilities.

Choose love. [Tweet this.]

It will change your life and the world.

This month I’m writing my Monday Morning Motivation blog focused on how YOU can make this critical shift in your motivation: from fear to love. This week I am asking you to begin the journey by sharing with me when YOU experienced an inflection point in your life that could have buried you in fear, but instead you chose love. Share in the comments below.

2 replies on “A Leader’s Choice”

Inflection points are indelible moments of clarity and humility. Thank you for the reminder to shift forward instead of dwelling in the negativity rooted in fear.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.