Finding the Sweet Spot


Today marks three months since our daughter-in-law died and as I look back over the last three, even six months, there haven’t been many times where I have felt in that sweet spot.  You know what I mean about that sweet spot? That place where everything just comes together, when you hit the ball exactly right and it goes exactly where you were aiming.  Whether it is baseball, golf, cricket or tennis, the sweet spot is the dream.  There is a sound that occurs when that ball hits in just the right spot and the player knows they’ve hit the sweet spot.  There is more force, better accuracy and less vibration when the ball hits the sweet spot.  And it is all about physics.

Finding the sweet spot is what professional sportsmen and women strive for.  They practise it over and over, but they don’t always achieve it.  The idea of finding a sweet spot in life has had me thinking over the last couple of days and I think it comes down to five main things.

1. Stance

Stance can be interchanged with posture or even attitude and has a big bearing on being able to hit the sweet spot.  A golfer needs to have their knees bent just so, their hips cocked just right and the correct position over the ball or their shot is going to fail.

My stance has been off and my attitude wrong.  I find most of the time I’m not even stepping up to the plate and when I do, my posture is poor.  My shoulders are rounded, my feet aren’t planted and my back is not strong.  I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and it shows in my stance.  I cannot hope to hit the sweet spot when I am not standing in the right position.

2. Grip

They way you hold the bat/racquet/club will determine your ability to hit the sweet spot.  Too tight a grip will interfere with your swing, too loose a grip will cause you to lose your bat/racquet/club.

I think in my case I haven’t been holding on tight enough and I’ve been losing my grip.  It is so easy to let life just wash over you instead of taking a firm hold of it.  It’s all too easy to just let go sometimes.

For others it might be that you are trying to hold on to something so desperately that your tight grip is messing with your swing.  You may be so determined to not let go, that it shortens your swing and there is no follow through and you are missing the sweet spot.

3. Swing

Your swing is your intention and it can get messed up by both your stance and your grip.  If your stance is not right, if your attitude is not right, your swing is going to go wild.  If your grip is wrong, your swing won’t have the intensity it needs.

When you swing your bat, you need to swing intentionally with the right amount of force and in the right direction.  My swing has definitely been a little lacklustre.  I have gone through my days with very little intent and marginal effort.  Sometimes my effort has been misplaced and I have swung in the wrong direction, other times I haven’t bothered to swing at all.

4. Timing

Without timing, you are never going to connect the bat and ball in the sweet spot.  When life is throwing balls at you, you need to be able to judge just the right moment to pull back and then to let fly.  Swing too early or too late and you will miss that sweet spot.

I am an impatient person by nature.  I used to say that the microwave was too slow for me.  I have always struggled with timing and have felt myself time and again running forward into something when I should have been waiting and then by the time I’ve realised my mistake, I’ve missed it.  Lately though, I have been the opposite.  Too slow to react, too unengaged to swing, not focussed enough to even see the ball coming.

5. Tool

Whether it is a bat, a racquet or a club, you need the right tool for the job.  It is easy to watch someone elses game and see them hitting the sweet spot over and over and think to yourself, “If only I had their bat, I too could hit the sweet spot.” But someone elses bat is not going to work for you, it has been engineered for them.

A baseball bat is not going to be any good to a tennis player and a cricketer will not have much luck with a golf club.  You need to know which tool is the right fit for you.  Sometimes we just choose whatever is easiest or closest and hope for the best and you may get lucky every now and then, but for consistent sweet spot accuracy, your need a tool that fits you.  It needs to be the right shape, the right length and the right weight.

How does the tool correlate with life?  It could be your job, your business, your calling, your dream, your ministry.

Sometimes you may have the perfect tool, but you still have trouble hitting the sweet spot.  It would be easy to throw your bat away and try something else, but if there is something not quite right in the other four areas, your bat is always going to feel wrong.  Certainly, throwing away the bat is the easiest thing, but it is not the best thing.  Throwing away the bat is easy because it means you don’t have to look at yourself, you don’t have to change yourself.  But to really hit the sweet spot, you need to be prepared to take a good long hard look at yourself and be willing to make a change.


2015 – Make it Count

Make it Count

Happy New Year!

It is January 1, 2015 and I am doing what most people are doing…I am looking back.

I had high hopes for my 2014, there was so much potential at the beginning of the year and I decided I would grab it by the short and curlies and run with it.  We had so much to look forward to – our eldest son had just gotten married, we had two thriving businesses, our youngest son was chasing his dreams in the UK and we were looking forward to being empty-nesters and pursuing opportunities that we missed by having children so young…our life was good.  I wrote a bucket list of the things I would like to achieve in the year and I set to with gusto. But life had other ideas.

My 2014 was not the year that was promised to me in those first optimistic blushes of sunrise on New Year’s Day…my 2014 is a year that I wish had turned out so differently – from near devastating financial issues to the absolutely devastating loss of our daughter-in-law – my 2014 was not the year I thought it would be – but it was life and I lived it and as much as it was painful and horrible, I would live through it again if I had to.

I wish with all my heart that things had turned out differently.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish that Kari-Lee had not died – I would do anything and everything in my power to stop that from happening, but if I had to live last year again – without any changes to the outcomes – I would, because those precious months with her are like pearls of great price.  Her life and her death has taught me so much and forever changed me.

Last year I wrote a list of things I wanted to achieve during my 2014, twelve things in fact, and of the twelve I only achieved three, but that is ok.  It is ok because at least I tried.  We often look at life as destinations and milestones rather than looking at the journey as a whole.  Kari taught me that.  She taught me to appreciate every breath, every step, every attempt.  She lived with the knowledge that her life had an end date that was a lot sooner than most, but she didn’t let it stop her.  She took risks and never let an opportunity pass her by and she never let fear stop her from living. That is what I want to do too.

It won’t be easy.  My family and I are still in the grips of grief and we struggle daily with the hole in our lives, but I don’t want to give up on living.  I don’t want to let this next year slip by without appreciating what I have got – a chance to live – and I want to make it count.  I want to make Kari-Lee proud as she watches from her window in heaven.  I want to have a life that at the end I can say, “I did it all.”

This is a song by One Republic that we played at Kari-Lee’s funeral.  This song captures the essence of Kari’s life.  This is my theme song for the next twelve months – maybe for the rest of my life.