delivering in the clutch

I joined some friends last night in watching the Dallas Mavericks make another late comeback, and advance to the NBA Finals. It was a close game throughout, but Dirk and Marion came up big with some clutch shots. I’ll be a Suns fan for life, but it is pretty exciting to get caught up in the hometown team success (first the Rangers, now the Mavs).

“Clutch” opportunities are not only subject to sports; times when decisions really count come up a number of times in our weekly circumstances. When those times do arrive, you want to make sure the best choice is made…or perhaps your best person to make that choice.

You know who I’m talking about…the person in your circle of co-workers or friends that you know can deliver the right words in a heavy conversation, or the right course of action in a hectic situation. Your go-to guy or girl. They are your Dirk Nowitzki.

Do you have that person/those people in mind? Good…then answer this question: are you the “clutch” person for anyone? Why or why not?

In order to answer that question, you should probably analyze the makings of that dependable, reliable person you have in mind. Here is my personal analytical breakdown:

1. Prioritizing tactfulness

While this may seem elementary, our ego and desire to achieve can often overcompensate in a situation. Remember, simplicity is often the better choice over adding flare. Additionally, being considerate goes much farther than just being right.

2. Never discount your past

Your past is a coin with contrasting sides, so be careful how you utilize it. The experiences you have from past circumstances can be powerful assets in assessing current and future circumstances. Both tragedies and victories shape your perspective, and provide better understanding for variables that arise. However, maintain caution…constantly living in the past is a dangerous way to engage life. The past is over, and previous scenarios do not dictate your limits of potential. Strive for growth, and never consider your presence insignificant.

3. Embrace failure

Do you think any of those “clutch” people have ever seen failure? I bet they have seen more than you would think. Coming through in the clutch means that you have taken a risk for that achievement, and risks do not always provide happy endings. Turn failures into fuel, and always seek authentic and diligent engagement with a situation you face. Trust me, risking failure makes the victory much sweeter.

4. Adaptation > Abandonment

Learn and grow from situations, but never put your character on the shelf. Completely changing who you are to appease your different arenas of influence is a dangerous game, and can have consequences of losing trust and dependability. Why you ask? If you let a situation define you, the opportunity to be clutch is already lost. Success in the “clutch” does not stem from being reactionary to new stimuli, it stems from being expressive and mindful of past stimuli. Adapt your character, instead of having several in a closet.

Of course, as a follower of Christ, I adapt my behavior based on my consistent study of Him. Sometimes, being “clutch” is anti-climatic. There may not always be a roaring crowd to recognize your victories, but our Example is always watching. Look for opportunities to invest in others, especially those younger than you. Look for ways to exercise faith and hope in situations that arise in daily life, even when failure seems certain.

I promise you will find yourself delivering in the clutch.


One thought on “delivering in the clutch

  1. Wildman says:

    “Never consider your presence insignificant.” I like that. In a world with so many voices, images, and celebrities, it seems like people our age really struggle with feeling lost in the flow. You’ve given us a good reminder that everything we do counts inside our circle of friends and family.

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