The Mirror Won't Fix You

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The Mirror Won't Fix You

Black Belt Leadership
Published by John Terry - The Black Belt Leader in Leadership · 2 July 2020
The Mirror Won't Fix You
John L. Terry, III - The Black Belt Leader

My pastor, Tim Brooks, shared a personal story this past weekend related on the topic of refusing disappointment. His tractor was leaking hydraulic fluid, so he loaded it onto a trailer and hauled it an hour away to a dealer to fix the leak and service the tractor. He picked it up and drove it home only to learn it would not start. Now he had to load a tractor that would not start onto a trailer to haul it back an hour away to get the problem resolved.

On the fourth trip back (after several "won't start" episodes), he experiences a flat tire on his trailer as he's hauling the tractor to the dealership. And in the midst of trying to jack up the trailer (with a tractor on top) to change the tire in the middle of the road, it starts to rain. Long story short, the dealership had installed the wrong air filter, and that was the culprit.

Tim's observation as he found himself in the midst of all this adversity was a great reminder that we have a choice of how we respond. He said he could have been disappointed, upset and angry - or he could choose to refuse disappointment. He realized "my life is more than just this one scene", and he was going to choose the end of the movie.

My wife lost one of her best friends this week to the coronavirus. Patti sold us our home when we moved to Hot Springs and she and my wife have been good friends ever since. Patti was an amazing chef as well, and split her time between selling real estate and serving as a private chef for families around the world. While she mourns the loss of a dear friend, my wife has chosen to celebrate the life Patti lived and refuse the paralysis that can come from disappointment.

Life is a movie, and we're all on the stage every single day of our lives. Sometimes we're the main character and at other times we're simply the supporting cast of someone else's movie they are living out. Whether we're the star of the show or an extra in the background, there are times when life brings anxiety, worry, sadness, fear, and disappointment. It's part of the human existence.

These things WILL happen. How we respond when they do is what is important. We can choose to be a victim of our circumstances, blaming and lashing out at others, or we can choose to be a victor who learns from the lessons life is trying to teach us so we can become better, stronger, more equipped, and more resilient.

We are victims of our own choices. Why? Because every choice comes with a consequence. Overeat and you get fat. Exercise and you get physically fit. Study and get smarter. But sometimes life throws us a curveball, and we find ourselves experiencing something beyond our control - such as the pandemic we're dealing with right now.

In those situations, we still have a choice. We can choose to accept disappointment. We can choose to become a victim of where we find ourselves due to circumstances beyond our control. We can cast blame on others, cry out for justice, or lash out in anger, frustration, or resentment and harm others (and ourselves) in the process. Victimization is a "Me-Focused" mindset that at its root is selfish and self-serving.

Or we can choose to refuse disappointment. To have a mindset that what we're going through right now is but a single scene in this movie of life. We can choose to be a victor, to maintain a positive outlook, to learn the lessons life is trying to teach us through this moment, and become a better version of ourselves as a result.

We can choose not only to be the main star on the stage, but also the writer, the director, and the producer. We can choose to refuse disappointment, write the next scene of the script, and live it out on the stage for everyone to see and cheer. We can choose to live out an Academy Winning Life of Excellence, the pursuit of greatness, and living a life of significance.

This is what leaders do. They choose daily to be victors over their circumstances. They choose to learn the lessons life is trying to teach them. When they fail, they fail forward and keep moving. When they fall, they get up and get back in the game. They realize what they are going through right now, whether good or bad, is only one scene in the movie of life.

Leaders have chosen to write their own script, to direct their own life, to produce the outcomes they want to be seen and experienced by others rather than to accept how others may be trying to write them into their own movie. Leaders live for a cause bigger than themselves and serve others with passion. They are about making a difference, right here, right now, regardless of what is going on around them.

Disappointments are sure to come, but leaders don't let disappointment define them. They allow disappointment to refine them, make them better, faster, stronger, more resilient, and even more committed to seeing the lives of others changed for the better.

Your life is more than one scene. This too shall pass. Don't let disappointment define you. Allow it to refine you as you daily grow as a leader. Refuse disappointment, and don't settle for what this scene, at this moment, looks like. It's only one scene.

Be the writer, director, and producer of your life's movie - as well as the star. Be the leader God put you on this earth to be. Pursue your calling with passion. Go make a difference in this time, right now, right where you are, and in the words of Ghandi be the change you want to see in the world.

Write the rest of your life's movie, and write it well. Give an academy award-winning performance from your life stage as a leader, a change-maker, someone who makes other's lives better for having been a part of it. The adversity you may be experiencing right now is momentary. Don't let it define you. Let it refine you.

You've been put on this earth on purpose, for a purpose, so write the next scene, get out there on the stage, and perform as the leader you were put on this earth to be. You'll inspire those who are writing to grab their own pen and paper, rewrite their next scene, and live out their own award-winning performance as they inspire others to live life in purpose, for a purpose, and make a difference in the lives of others.

2X martial arts Hall of Fame inductee, John Terry – The Black Belt Leader is passionate about helping others become Black Belt Leaders in Life. He is a motivational speaker, leadership, sales & communication coach, and trainer.   

Jessie Terry, John's daughter, is a Certified Speaker, Coach, and Trainer with the John Maxwell Team and is actively involved in the JMT Global Youth Initiative. She is also a Real-Life Management trained coach and a certified Women-Safe Self-Defense Instructor.

For more information, schedule John (or Jessie) to speak to your organization or to book a personal, group or corporate coaching session, visit our website at  

If you are a faith-based organization, learn more about John and Jessie's outreach to churches, para-church organizations, or faith-based volunteer groups by visiting

John is an Executive Director with the John Maxwell Team and is passionate about helping others pursue excellence as they become "Leaders in Life". He is also a Master Coach & Trainer with Real Life Management, a human behavioral and psychometrics training organization helping people learn how to live "Real Life" and make better choices when it comes to relationships, money, health, and wellness. John is also a certified DISC Human Behavior Consultant.

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