Top 10 things that keep me healthy — Part I

“Making it to the top is not the same as making it at the top.” — Tim S. Glover

God has been good to me. He has protected and provided for me my whole life even though I do not deserve it. His mercy and grace is sufficient. Unapologetically, I am a follower of Christ and it was conviction that connected me to Him.

I am 43 years old. Since 2007, I have served as the Chief Empowerment Officer for L.E.A.D. The assignment was one that I received from God in 2007—a convicting experience that changed my life.

Stan Conway is the father of Davis Conway. In 2007, Davis, a middle schooler, was one of my Diamond Directors’ clients. One day, after one of our weekly Hitting Lab sessions, Stan asked me what else I wanted to do with my life. It had been a long time since someone asked me that question.

I did not have an answer.

Stan threw me three pitches that I swung and missed on.

1. He told me that as good as I claimed to be as a professional hitting coach, my rates were too low.

2. He told me that as good as I claimed to be as a professional hitting coach, getting access to me was too easy.

3. He told me he was aware that there was a decline of African-Americans in baseball in America and that I needed to do something about it.

With Stan’s financial support, L.E.A.D., Inc. was established. L.E.A.D. stands for Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct, a 501c3 organization whose mission is to empower an at-risk generation to lead and transform their City of Atlanta. Through year-round, sports-leadership programming (baseball), we empower 350 Black boys from 6th-12th grades in Atlanta Public Schools to overcome crime, poverty and racism so they can win at the game of life.

“Hurting people hurt people.”

I am in a great place in my life. I am strong spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and relationally. Having good health allows me to serve others well and allows others to serve me well.

There are 10 things I have to do to maintain my health so that I can lead in Atlanta on purpose:

1. Worship/Praise/Prayer/Fasting
2. Rest
3. Conviction
4. Reading
5. Writing
6. Being
7. Fitness training/Diet
8. Coaching
9. Giving
10. Leisure

Here is a look at the first five. In my next blog, I will touch on the remaining five items.

No. 1 — Worship/Praise/Prayer/Fasting
I worship God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ because of who He is. My praise to Him is because of what He does. Worship is important to me to help me understand that I am on an assignment here on earth and that I have a calling to fulfill. God is not our personal genie and there are many prayers that go unanswered. I continue to pray to Him because of who He is and what He does. Fasting is a huge sacrifice for me because I love food and, at times, I worship it more than God. Fasting teaches me to depend on God and replace flesh food with His Word, which is spiritual food and prayer. Fasting takes the focus off us and our flesh and onto God. A posture before the Lord. Fasting in Hebrew means to “cover your mouth.”

No. 2 — Resting
To rest is to cease from working. God created the heavens and the earth, and then He rested (Genesis 2:2). It is hard for me to rest, but I do it so that I do not crash. I know it is time to rest when I get irritable and struggle to have joy. I also tend to gain a lot of weight when I need rest because I do not get adequate sleep, skipping meals, lots of fast food and late night binge eating. One of the blessings that I receive when I am well rested is clear communication from the Lord. 1 Kings 19 teaches us how the Lord speaks to us in a whisper. I want to hear Him. I need to hear Him in order to fulfill His will.

No. 3 — Conviction
According to the late Regi Campbell, “Conviction is God’s way of keeping us on track. Always respond, never ignore. It’s for our good and His glory.” Conviction motivates and empowers us, while guilt paralyzes. I am a fan of conviction because I believe that greatness cannot be imposed. It has to come from within. But it does live within all of us. Conviction hurts. Conviction allowed me to see Kelli Hampton for the first time and want her for my wife. We have been married for 22 years. Conviction is how L.E.A.D. was started. I go deeper in my book, “Living To L.E.A.D.: A Story of Passion, Purpose and Grit.”

I believe that conviction leads to change and change is needed in the US today because people are most comfortable with people who are like them. From a racial perspective, there are winners and losers, and African-Americans are losing a lot.

For me, conviction leads to connection with others. Connection leads to consensus and collaboration and ends with change. Being convicted by Christ has changed my character, which has changed my conduct. I coach starting with conviction, which leads to change.

No. 4 — Reading
As a child, I did not like to read because I associated it negatively with being a nerd. I also had trouble understanding a lot of what I was reading because I lacked knowledge about it. Knowledge is facts—information and skills that are acquired through experience. The words were information, but did not make sense because I lacked the knowledge. Now I love reading because I believe books are a source of information and inspiration that can lead to knowledge. And knowledge can heal and build a nation. I also believe that education is learning. It is what needs to be learned to do what needs to be done. My personal mission in life is to be significant by serving millions and bringing them into a relationship with Christ, starting with my wife, Kelli, and our daughters, Mackenzi and Mackenna.

No. 5 — Writing
Putting my thoughts on paper forces me to tighten my perspective and develop understanding about what I do, why I do it and how I do it. Writing has caused me to stop doing things that I am not doing well, which becomes a drain of my energy, time and/or money.