As I sit and write this blog, my excitement is at an all-time high, but so are my nerves. It reminds me of so much of what my athletes go through when the time comes for them to step to the line and ready themselves to compete. They have done the work and they are prepared. Nevertheless, the uncertainty of what comes next causes the nerves to keep coming to the surface. But as many of them say, once the gun goes off they just run.

So here I am running.

Last week I tendered my official resignation to my position at Des Moines Public Schools. I was an Activities Specialist who had the opportunity to work at the district level to better athletics and activities for all of our secondary students. It was a job that I greatly enjoyed. Due to some “changes” in my position in late-April, I was told I would be placed in a new role next fall. After weeks of uncertainty, I made the decision that I would move on from the only work I have ever known and pursue a passion that has given to me more than I could ever hope to give back. I will now be running “The Lab” as a full-time gig. This exhilarates me and scares me all at the same time. This is what I love, but I also have a wife and 4 kids at home and no guaranteed income. But I do have a pretty big advantage on my side.

Over the last few weeks, I have certainly upped my prayer game. It is embarrassing to admit, but I fall short of calling out to God enough when things are going great. These months have brought me back to a place where I am reminded that as Mark Betterson says, “work like it is up to me, but pray like it is up to God”. I often do the former, but I sometimes fail to do the latter. A little over a week ago I was having a tough conversation about my “situation” with my mom over the phone. I called and told her that I still did not have good news. Her response: “This situation is the good news.”(only a praying mom can have that type of insight). What I could only see as bad news was actually what I needed to move in a direction in which I had always dreamed. As my pastor says, what I was seeing as a setback was actually God’s set-up for a new chapter He has for me.

I share this with you to say that I am ready to attack this journey with the energy and abandon of my 3-year-old. When we go to the pool he shouts “throw me, daddy, I want to get wet!”. I launch him as far as I can (even with a bum shoulder) and he smacks the water in a way that makes me cringe. But he always comes up laughing and begging to do it again. My goal is that I continue to be motivated by a sense of fun and opportunity just as he is. And that is the same mission I want to pass along to the athletes who will be willing to take a chance and come alongside me with their passions and goals to become great. I know there will be challenges and sometimes even fear in the journey. But I will be here to help you find the fun and opportunity at every turn along the way.

So, I can’t wait for the athletes I haven’t even met yet. Ones who are excited, nervous, exhilarated, and most importantly: ready to get wet (not literally, it is from the analogy from the last paragraph, the one where, you know….whatever, you get it)!

I will see you in “The Lab”!

Ben Tilus
Head Performance Coach
XLR8 Performance Lab