Have you ever been through a trial when you hit a fork in the road and were left with a choice to either fight through or to give up and back down? Maybe it was in your business, in your weight loss journey, or in your sport. Do you remember what you did?

These moments may seem little, but they are mighty deciders of our character. These are defining moments that can become refining opportunities in our lives.

When we hit an impasse, when we are faced head on with a giant, when a wall blocks our course, we are in the midst of a defining moment. Our character is defined in our trials, in the hard moments. Do we turn and run, or do we face them head on and change? 

Life Lessons Through the Lens of our Children

Interestingly, our children can also teach us life lessons if we’re willing to receive them. Just like the challenges we face, the obstacles they encounter become defining moments in their lives. It’s vital for us to grasp and pass our own defining moments so our children can see an example of how to overcome.

Failure is necessary to succeed, but becoming defeated is optional.

A couple years ago, my oldest son, after a tough gymnastics meet, taught me that disappointment is okay, but it’s necessary to take “failure” and grow from it, not continue to dwell on it.

Ethan was out in Colorado Springs competing at Future Stars Nationals, where the best of the best in boy’s gymnastics come together in competition to decide who makes the National Development Team. He achieved Top 20 in the country for 10-year-old gymnastics, which is a massive feat in itself, but that wasn’t his goal. His goal was to make National Team, and only the Top 16 were accepted into that club.

Failure defines our character, and after realizing he didn’t make the team, I saw my 10-year-old son hold his head high, be proud of his accomplishments, and spark a fire deep inside, which actually drove him through the next meet season.

Though I noticed disappointment in his face after missing the mark, he chose to take that setback to propel himself forward to the next level. He didn’t make excuses or play the comparison game; he didn’t blame anyone else.

It’s interesting because I noticed other gymnasts who didn’t hit their goal wallow in their defeat. I could tell it got the best of them, and instead of letting the setback drive them forward, they chose to let it hold them back.

Mental Toughness Required

Gymnastics is a sport that absolutely requires mental toughness. It’s a huge mind game, and that is the bulk of the battle. Gymnasts fail upwards of 100 times before making a skill. They fail much more than they succeed. They can’t let that fact take them out. That’s why mental training is so important.

My son loves competing against the best of the best. He thrives off challenges and relishes being pushed to grow and flourish. Additionally, Ethan is devoted to building relationships with other gymnasts along the way.

He came out of “failure” stronger and more motivated than ever. Failure is necessary to succeed, but becoming defeated is optional. Failure defines our character, and it’s in life’s defining moments that we can be refined and define ourselves.

Final Stretch

Can you pin-point any defining moments in your life? Did they increase your character and make you stronger? Were you willing to let that trial or fork in the road work on you?

We all have defining moments. It is in these moments that we find our true characters. We become heroes or cowards; truth tellers or liars; we go forward or we go backward. — Robert Kiyosaki, American businessman

I learn from my boys daily, and that specific competition was a defining moment in Ethan’s life. He chose maturity. He chose strength. He chose growth. Likewise, I choose to allow God to use my children to teach me in my defining moments. How about you?

Today, choose to turn a setback into your comeback!

Remember, you are a winner. Just run YOUR race!

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