Most if not all of us have used crutches at some point in our lives and if not we have known someone who had to use them. Crutches are used for a very specific and very important task which is to keep pressure off an injured limb giving it time to recover and once again resume its function.
When I was in middle school I broke my ankle, after I went through the cast and crutches I had my doctors visit where he said I was cleared to take off the cast and stop using the crutches. Imagine how shocked he would be if i had said, “you know what doc, I think I’m just going to keep the crutches, I don’t really need that leg anyway.” I am 100% positive he would have been shocked. This point is easy to see in our physical injuries but much harder to see when we have emotional or mental injuries. With emotional or mental injuries we want to keep the crutches as long as possible even if we have recovered enough to get rid of the crutches and begin to use our injured brain again.
What are these crutches I am referring to and how do they impact us? These crutches stunt our development and growth because we stop using those mental muscles or abilities because they were injured and now we are afraid to use them because we are too scarred and scared the original pain will come back or even a worse injury will occur if we begin to use those mental muscles. Let’s not forget the need for crutches is due to an injury this is true in both physical and mental injuries. Let’s take a look at 3 areas (not an exhaustive list) where we can become injured and use crutches for too long past their use.
Relationships: If you had been in a bad romantic relationship and the person hurt you then the next relationship you were in may have been a crutch. You weren’t in love with them but they were stable and easy to hang out with but deep down you knew it couldn't be long term but you were too scared to move on because of the pain from your first relationship.
Jobs: If you worked at a company that did not treat you well and you were either fired or you left out of frustration the next job you took may have been a crutch. It would become a crutch if you weren't challenged or pushed to become better and if it wasn't really what you wanted to do but you were afraid that if you pursued something you wanted you may fail or land in another bad company. Instead you stay at the stable company and slowly your mental muscles waste away from disuse.
Family: if you constantly need to go back to your family for support whether it is money, recognition, or reassurance they can become a crutch. Yes family should be supportive of you but they should also never become an enabler of laziness or incompetence. Our families should always push us to do better and become our best selves.
If you recognize you have a crutch in your life you have held onto for too long you need to address it. Some trauma is too much for you to handle on your own. If you need professional help to confront the injury please seek it! There is no shame in asking for help, you will never look back and regret getting the help you need. Sometimes however we just want to choose the path of least resistance. We have used our crutch for too long and now our mental muscles have begun to atrophy. Today is the day to get rid of the crutch and get back to working out those muscles! Yes it will be painful but it will be worth it once you realize the functionality you were missing.
Crutches are made to be rented, not bought. Get rid of your crutches once they have served their purpose. Move on, get stronger, be better.
J. Matthew King, Co-founder
There is a movie called Yes Man. The comedian Jim Carrey plays Carl—a guy who says ’no' to everything. Carl’s most common ‘no’ is uttered to his friends who want to go out and party. After awhile Carl’s friends are tired of being rejected and stop trying to contact him. His life changes, however, when he is dragged to a seminar that talks about saying ‘yes' to everything in life. The rules were simple: no matter what, you had to say ‘yes' to any request for a whole year. The movie chronicles Carl's journey as he starts saying ‘yes' in life, instead of ‘no’.
Although this movie is categorized as a comedy, Carl's new motto makes a striking point. His life opens up completely after his decision to say ‘yes' to anything and everything. Opportunities are unlocked that he never would have had before. He meets a girl, he gets promoted, and so on.
Obviously we cannot say ‘yes' to every single thing in life and expect everything to get better, but I do think there is an important principle in this affirmative motto—say ‘yes’ to life. Personally, I used to be similar to Carl; I would say ’no' to most invites, and later I would look back on my decision with regret. A while back I decided to change my motto, similar to Carl, and for the most part, accept opportunities that came my way. Whether it was helping a friend move, going to a baseball game, meeting someone for lunch...the activity was inconsequential…I made a difference and good opportunities opened up that I never expected.
What was my own conclusion you ask? I almost never regretted it. Even if you are just helping someone move…wow, you have made that person’s day. Nothing in your life is ever going to change for the better if you sit at home and do the same thing every single day. Say ‘yes' to life, and say ‘yes’ to any right and good opportunity. You never know what will happen. What do you have to lose? If you keep saying ’no' In life, your options will continue to shrink and your life will slowly enclose around you. So say ‘yes', and see what opportunities await you!
Jonathan King, Co-founder
I have had back and neck trouble ever since my teenage years. Typical for me I stubbornly ignored getting it treated until about a year ago. For the last year I have been seeing a chiropractor and have had seen very positive results. I recently had my one year check up and my doctor asked me how my exercises at home had been going. You see, part of the treatment plan is performing some stabilizing exercises at home each day to lock in the improvements from the adjustments.
I paused a moment but answered him truthfully that I had not been doing them regularly as I had been told to. My doctor appreciated the honesty but wanted to come up with a plan for these exercises to become a habit of mine just like brushing my teeth or taking a shower each day. What we came up with was for one month I would text my doctor each day letting him know I had completed the exercises. If he did not receive a text he agreed to question me and hold me accountable. Since my meeting with him I have not missed a day of exercising. What I discovered about myself was the fear of letting him down was greater than my dislike of doing these exercises.
As I thought about this more I began to think what other things in my life should I be doing but I am making excuses for because I am not being accountable to complete them? From this situation I can tell that if I really want to do these things I need to put some kind of accountability in place. That could be having my wife or a friend keeping tabs on me to make sure I do what I have committed to doing.
My larger point is this. We all have things we know we need to do but can’t seem to find the motivation to do them. Maybe having an accountability partner would not be motivating to you, but there is something that will make you respond positively. Don’t be afraid to perform “experiments” on yourself to see what you respond to. Maybe it is some kind of reward or punishment system, whatever it is remain curious and figure it out until it becomes an ingrained habit so you can move on to the next improvement you need to make.
J. Matthew King, Co-founder
A couple of weekends ago the New York Giants took on the undefeated Carolina Panthers. The most anticipated individual match-up was between Wide Receiver Odell Beckam Jr., of the Giants and Cornerback Josh Norman of the Panthers. Odell Beckam Jr. has quickly become one of the best Wide Receivers in his short career by his dazzling acrobatic catches. Unfortunately this game got a lot of attention not for the football but for the fighting between Odell Beckam and Josh Norman. Odell Beckam received 3 personal fouls during the course of the game. One of the fouls was for launching himself at Josh Norman’s head. Because of these actions the NFL suspended him for one game. Now, I am sure Josh Norman did his part to instigate some of Odell Beckams actions but i want to focus on Odell Beckam, specifically his words after the game.
Odell Beckam said, “We are out there playing football. We are competing. You are a competitor. I’m a competitor. We are always going to go at it. Anybody who has played sports, you are competitive, and you are going to go as hard as you can.” These are the words I want to focus on as I have heard similar excuses for bad behavior in sports and in business. Anytime someone acts up they think saying they are competitive or just passionate about the sport/business is a viable excuse but I am telling you those excuses are a hiding place for people with little self control. I am reminded of a proverb in the OT that says, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” You see, controlled aggression is the key to success, not letting it loose whenever you get upset. Harnessing your passion and aggression to achieve your objective whether in sports or business is the key.
Losing your temper also shows you are a poor loser, not that you are competitive. When you lose your temper you give others control over you. In an interview before the season started Odell Beckam was asked how he would slow himself down if he was an opposing team and he said he would try and make himself mad. Even though he knew this was a weakness he let Josh Norman get under his skin and he gave him control.
Showing self control will lead you to respect yourself more and gain respect from others. So don’t be the guy who kicks the basketball once you lose or slams or screams at your coworker and try to use the excuse of competitiveness and passion.
Matt King, Co-Founder
“Legend Status”... “Born to Beast”... “Front Page Talent”. These are all boastful T-shirt slogans I noticed recently while walking through a popular sporting goods store. It made me wonder why young men would want to wear this type of shirt as it seems so arrogant and prideful. As young men do we need to truly wear our feelings of superiority on our sleeves or chest? Do we need to tell others, literally, that we are better than them? Or, could wearing this type of clothing be a shield we use because inside we feel the exact opposite of what we want to convey to the world? As I thought about this more it hit me--insecurity is often manifested as pride, arrogance and haughtiness.
If I dig deep I can see the appeal of holding up this kind of shield. Maybe not by wearing those type of t-shirts, but how is it any different when I want to wear a tailored suit and tie, flashy Jordan’s or a nice watch? Is that my way of telling the world, “I am someone special!”, “I am someone you should pay attention to!” or “Look at Me!”? I understand this type of reasoning can become unsustainable, because to avoid this behavior, we should all walk around barefoot wearing a potato sack as clothing. Of course this is not my point.
My point is this: we are trying to convey something about ourselves by how we look and what we wear. We want to portray an image to the world about who we are by the way we dress and carry ourselves. Like most things in life this can have a good and bad side.
Bad: If we are dressing or carrying ourselves in a way that tries to hide our true selves, because we are embarrassed or afraid that who we truly are is ugly, unimportant or worthless. This means we are dressing to make others like us even more, not truly how we want to look or who we really are.
Good: If how you dress and carry yourself is a reflection of who you truly are inside. This comes from a place of self confidence and awareness of who you are and your place in the world. This is the goal for which we all should strive. Not to flaunt who we are in a boastful way, but to go through life with a clear understanding that we are important and valuable in our Creator’s eyes, we our valuable members of society, and we have something to contribute to the world.
So what can you do if you are filled with self doubt? If you are using how you dress and act as a shield because you are afraid that you are not good enough? If you were blessed to have good parents they probably told you through your childhood that you were unique, special, and that you had great possibilities ahead. Because of this you most likely were healthfully confident in yourself and your place in the world, but somewhere along the way this confidence was lost. There could be many reasons for this, including being told by a loved one or mentor that you were a failure, trauma in your life or loss of a job. No matter the reason for your loss of confidence, how do you get it back?
If you believe in God, I would say the most important thing to remember is that He created you in His image. He values you, and if nobody else in this life values you it will be ok, because He does. Secondly, you have to take a hard look in the mirror and understand that to a large extent you control your destiny. You have to believe you are valuable, you have to build yourself up and learn to self-motivate, because sometimes there will be nobody else to build you up. Lastly, you must cut ties with those who are dragging you down. Even loved ones can sometimes fit into this category. If you are intent on living a productive life you cannot afford to be dragged down by naysayers and haters. Cutting ties from those who you are close to can be difficult but may be a necessary step in order to move forward.
The bottom line is this: what I want for myself, and you, is to put down whatever shield I am carrying and be confident and happy in who I am. We should always strive to grow more, but we can also be happy in our present state. It’s time to put down whatever shield you are carrying. It is heavy and not needed. Set it down so people can see who you truly are. If they don’t like it, they don’t matter anyway.
- J. Matthew King, Co-founder
Recently I ran an 8 mile Spartan race in the 90 degree heat. If you don’t know what a spartan race is you can find out more about it in one of my previous articles "Why I Run". However this is article is not about Spartan racing, it is about something i learned while training for the Spartan race and that is the power of shared goals.
I ran the race with 2 other people. We all live in 3 different locations and therefore we couldn’t train together. This left us having to trust that each of us was putting in the time necessary for the race so that no teammate would drag the other ones down. At least in my mind this was a huge responsibly and a driving force on those days when i didn't want to go to the gym or was tempted to cheat on my diet.
A couple of times each week we would text or email each other encouragement about the training and share in the joint misery of not being able to indulge in ice cream, soda, and fried foods. even though we were not physically together we were able to form a community or a brotherhood through our shared goals.
Honestly, I usually prefer projects or tasks where it solely relies on my performance whether i succeed or fail. In my mind I want to have complete control of the outcome of any situation. That is probably something not unique to me but it is just how I am wired. In this instance however I had to give up some control. If I wasn’t prepared, It would not only affect me, it would negatively affect my team. We were all giving up a little control and placing our trust in each others hands. While we gave up control we also gained several things:
Accountability-When you are on your own you have to be the sole motivator. You have to be extremely disciplined and driven. When you work with a team you have to be accountable to your teammates.
Competition-Lets be honest, even on a team there is competition between teammates. Nobody wants to be the weakest link and therefore you push yourself harder during training to try and be just an ounce better than your teammate.
Support-When you are going through a difficult experience, knowing that someone is going through the same thing can be invaluable.
Success-When you accomplish a goal on your own there is definitely an amazing sense of accomplishment because you achieved something on your own. However, there is also something incredibly rewarding about accomplishing a goal with your teammates. You all went through the battles together and you succeeded together. It’s an incredible feeling.
So how does this help you outside of the athletic arena? Think about it in your personal life or work life. We are usually either working on something solo or as a team. When you are on a team you can use the power of creating shared goals to bring your team closer together and to use everyone’s unique strengths to the teams advantage.
- Matthew King, Co-founder
In our current consumer-driven world, the value we place on “stuff” is a lot higher than we care to acknowledge. Some people need several large trucks to carry everything they own from one home to the next. You are likely reading this article on a smartphone or perhaps on a computer -- which cost a couple hundred dollars. It is a difficult thing -- especially for good-hearted American people -- to understand how selfish we all can be. And I am not talking about giving a homeless person a dollar, I am talking about giving when it hurts -- not out of your excess.
Feeling a little uncomfortable? Good. You feel that way because you know there’s some truth in what I’m writing. And let me start off by saying -- I am 100% guilty of all the same things. It is our culture. Not that we are victims -- but when you’re surrounded by this way of life, you grow accustomed to having “stuff and things.” You feel entitled to the things you earned. You worked hard for that! If others worked hard, they would have nice things too. Right?
I was once a person who would not give money to homeless people because they were scary or were likely to spend it on booze. I would judge (in my head) the people who were on food stamps or the single mothers who kept having children with no way to care for them. Then I realized how I was 50% of the problem.
You see, the best way to help someone is by making it personal. And that takes a lot of work. Our current government ran programs are extremely impersonal. We’ve been outsourcing charity to government institutions for years. Upon realizing this earlier this year, in an effort to try make it more personal I began putting together pre-packed bags of toiletries, foods, and other assorted items for homeless people in the area. The idea was not original, but who cares? It is just about doing something. For so long, I had wanted to do something but was always dismayed by the fact that there is SO much to do. It is overwhelming. What is the best or most impactful thing to do? I am fortunate to be surrounded by people that challenge me, and I realized that the only person who I had to worry about was me. As long as I was doing something then it was worth it.
Recently, I have been slacking in my efforts to help the needy. However, thank goodness, it is okay to fail! A fear of failure is a fear of life. Without beating myself up, I am getting back in the saddle. Part of that proverbial kick in the pants was the request to write on my efforts for The Designed Man. I immediately felt that good, healthy guilt which reminded me that I need to get it back in gear and remember the reason I started doing this in the first place. People need people. Everything you do that is selfless - great or small - is a drop in the ocean of change. And what is the ocean but a collection of drops?
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, here are some step-by-step instructions you can follow:
1. Go to Goodwill and purchase gym bags, back packs, etc. $6 - $7 a piece. On the first Saturday of the month everything in Goodwill is half off, so go then to keep your costs down.
2. Below is a list I used as a guide for what I would plan to put in the bags. I could get all items for $1 (max) at places like the Dollar Store, Dollar Tree, or whatever is found in your area. You can also order online in bulk. I didn’t find many good deals buying in bulk at Costco, so you are usually better off at convenience stores. A big reason is because you need everything you’re buying in individual packing. You don’t want to buy a bunch of trail mix and put it in Ziploc bags because the person you’re giving it to doesn’t know that you’re not a nut who sprinkled rat poison on everything. Give them the peace the rest of us have from that Safety Seal. Having people collect items from hotels is also a big help. If you are filling a bag for $20, you’re on track. You can always stray from the list...it’s just a starting point.
3. Let people around you know what you’re doing. You will be amazed how much people want to help. They just need someone to take point! Leaders are only leaders because people will follow them. Get people involved. Do not bite off more than you can chew though -- that’s a quick recipe for burnout, and it is something that happened to me.
4. Give your bags away to people in person or find a local distribution channel. I began working with a local substance abuse facility (privately owned -- that is important too, no government involvement) that also had homeless outreach. I also kept a few at my church's building where people could take them as needed.
5. Repeat. Have some type of frequency so that you can hold yourself accountable.
If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them. Remember, people need people. Love is what changes people and reminds us that we are all cut from the same cloth.
Supply List: 10oz Vienna sausages, 1.5 liter water bottle, large package saltine crackers, bag of peppermints, cereal bars, 8oz jar of peanut butter, stick of jerky, 10oz box raisins, snack pack of apple sauce, tube of toothpaste, toothbrush, generic deodorant, 1.5oz baby powder, 2.5oz body wash, pack of 2 lip balm sticks, pack of 60 bandages, 1.5oz hand sanitizer, 10 pack white crew socks, backpack. I have also included a checklist version of the supplies at the bottom of this article.
Danny Coleman-Guest Author
Danny gets to work from home as the project manager for a real estate investment group in middle Tennessee. His free time is spent with his wife, daughter, family and many wonderful friends generally just having a rad time. You can find out more about Danny on:
Last week saw the NBA free agency period come to a close. While most of the signings were expected, one in particular drew significant media attention.
Deandre Jordan (the center for the Los Angeles Clippers) had, earlier in the week, verbally agreed to leave the Clippers and play for the Dallas Mavericks. However, things abruptly changed on the last day of free agency when Deandre chose to stay with the Clippers, leaving the Mavericks with no time to sign another player before free agency ended.
Now, the intent of this post is not to go into the fairness (or lack thereof) of the NBA’s free agency rules. This situation got me thinking about the value of what we say. What we say impacts how we are perceived by others -- including friends, family, and employers. What we say has a direct impact on our reputation. What we say affects others. We may not think so, but in Deandre’s case his words will affect the Maverick’s franchise for years to come. Our words have meaning to them. They do not simply float off our lips into the atmosphere with no ramifications. In today’s culture, too many times has dishonesty become the norm instead of the exception. As young men who are trying to be a cut above the rest of our culture, we can separate ourselves from the pack by following these simple guidelines.
Don’t lead people on: While not the same as lying, leading people on or letting them arrive at a false conclusion is still a form of deception. It can make others wary of you. Leading people on is often a tactic we use when we want to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation. This is unfair to the person with whom you are dealing. While confrontations are rarely easy, they are necessary to bring clarity to a relationship. Learn to handle confrontation instead of running from it.
Don’t lie: White lies (and lying in general) have become the norm in most situations. In the business world, we often expect people to lie to us. While it may seem prudent to lie in uncomfortable situations, it will usually find a way to come back to burn you. Lying never solves a problem -- it only kicks it down the road to be dealt with later. Sometimes we lie to protect someone's feelings. While this may be a noble attempt, in the long run it really hurts the person you are wanting to protect. The truth will come out eventually. Learn to constructively confront the situation so you can deliver the truth in an appropriate way.
Be honest: The bottom line is that your word is more valuable than any material possession. Even if you lose everything you own you will still have your reputation. The Bible says this: "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches," and one of the ways you get a good name is by keeping your word. The next time you are in an uncomfortable situation, do not take the easy way out. Be honest, confront constructively, and bolster your reputation by telling the truth. Even though the Clippers got Deandre back like they wanted do you think that they trust him? No way! They know that when the time comes, he will most likely turn on them as he did the Mavericks. The night he signed the contract with the Clippers, the coach and some of his teammates refused to leave his house until he signed the contract, out of fear that he might change his mind again. Don’t be that kind of man. Work to have the reputation that you will do what you say, and people will trust you and not have to babysit you. Being trustworthy will build your relationship with anyone -- whether it is a friend, a spouse, or an employer.
- Matthew King, Co-founder
Tick…Tick…Tick…This sound is a daily reminder of our most valuable asset slowly slipping away one tick at a time. When we normally think of wealth we think of the almighty dollar and forget about our most valuable asset which is time.
Unlike money time cannot be replenished, replaced, borrowed or traded. Time is also a trickster as it fools us into thinking it is an unlimited resource. especially when we are young ambitious men we believe we will never be the one who's life is snuffed out too early, that only happens to other people, we foolishly tell ourselves. Time is a finite supply that each of us have be nobody knows how much of theirs they have spent. Time is a great indicator of what we hold most valuable. Do we work 24/7? Play 24/7? or just spend our time on meaningless activities never being productive or enriching the lives of those around us? It is interesting that we use the phrase “spend our time” without realizing that we are truly spending it.
When we look at our lives and how we spend our time we need to think about the following questions if we want to be good stewards of the time we have.
1) Am I investing my time wisely? While watching an episode of Bizarre Foods is enjoyable it isn't the best use of my time to watch an entire season in one weekend. whether we realize it or not, how we spend our time each day shapes our future. You need to ask yourself if you are getting or will you get a good return on the time you are investing now?
2) Will I regret my purchase? We can look at how we spend our time as transactions. If I play video games instead of doing homework i am getting pleasure from the games and camaraderie with friends but if I don't excel in school will I regret this time purchase down the road?
3. How do I become time wealthy? I think the answer to this question varies person to person depending on our goals but there are commonalities. Will the time you spend today create opportunities for you in the future to do what you love, and spend time with those you love? If the answer is “yes” then I think you can consider yourself time wealthy. If not, then you have work to do.
So the next time you hear the familiar tick use it to remind you to continually be focusing on being time wealthy above any other kind of wealth. Use it to invigorate yourself to be making good investments so your returns will yield the truly wealthy life you desire.
- Matt King, Co-founder
Unfortunately not all children are blessed to have a father like mine. One who worked hard for the family, was always present, and tried his best to raise his family the right way. As it is fathers day I thought it would be appropriate to share a story I ran across during the lead up to the NFL draft which details the sad truth that far too many children live without one of the most important relationships you can have (watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmFsnzXRgiA).
The Denver Broncos selected Shane Ray as their first round draft pick in this years NFL draft. Like too many kids, football was a way out of a dangerous life for Shane, who became an all-American defensive end and certain first round pick in the NFL draft. While his story is inspiring in many ways, I want to focus on what to me was a truly heart wrenching part of his story.
As the video details (please watch for context), Shane was a second generation football player. His father had also been a standout defensive lineman at Missouri and had a short stint in the NFL that was derailed by injuries. Shane’s father walked out on their family early in Shane’s life and remained mostly out of his life leaving Shane’s mother to raise him.
While that is heartbreaking in and of itself this is only part of the story. When Shane went to Missouri, instead of filling his dorm room walls with posters of his favorite athletes or photos of his loving family he posted something quite different. In his dorm room he pinned all the articles written about his father’s football success he could find on his wall. His motivation? not to honor his fathers legacy but rather to erase him from the record books.
How sad a story when a son feels so betrayed, angry, and unloved by the man he is supposed to be nurtured and supported by that his motivation is to wipe away his memory. While it could be argued that this anger and bitterness helped him become the great football player he is now, I think the scars that are left cannot be mended by a fat NFL contract. While I am not a father yet I pray my son would never have these kinds of feelings towards me.
The most chilling part of the video for me was when Shane’s mother tells the story of Shane’s father not showing up for his signing day party and Shane being distraught afterwards telling his mom, “What do I have to do to get him to love me?” Sadly, for many people there is nothing they can do to be loved and appreciated by their fathers. A fathers love should not have to come from their sons feats on an athletic field. His love should not have to be earned by his straight A’s or by the fancy job he will get when he graduates. A father’s love should be given as a gift. It does not come without discipline but it comes with the intention of always being there for your son when needed.
So happy Fathers Day to the great fathers out there! Your impact is more than you know and you are raising the next generation of husbands, fathers, and leaders. For the sons blessed to have great fathers make sure you tell them how much you appreciate them. For the future fathers, lets take this as a cautionary tale. Be the man your son wants to embrace and not erase.
- Matthew King, Co-founder