What We Can All Learn From Tebow


Over and over again I talk to my life coaching clients about living authentically. What do they really want to be doing? What do they really believe? Are they willing to stand securely in their truth and live it at all costs?

And now, along comes Tim Tebow to show them how it’s done.

We’re living in a time when some in our nation are caught up in whether or not the cashier at the department store wishes them a “Merry Christmas” or says “Happy Holidays” as opposed to simply being confident in their own faith and flashing a respectful smile to a likely minimum wage worker no matter what the greeting or parting line. Freedom of religion has taken on a “na-na-na-na-na” tone instead of being about joy in worship or spiritual quest.

I think this is why I’m getting such a kick this holiday season out of the glowing presence of Tebow. The Denver Broncos quarterback leading his team on a mean winning streak lives and speaks his truth, which is that he loves Jesus. He doesn’t care who it offends and as far as I know, he doesn’t whine about whether strangers echo it back to him. He simply remains steadfast in his beliefs and doesn’t care who knows it or who stops watching him because of it.

He’s asks nothing of us. Enjoy his uplifting energy or turn the channel. Tebow has respectable sports journalists using words like “miraculous” and “divine,” non-religious folks annoyed at how “in their face” he is when it comes to God, and devout Christians familiar with him even when they don’t know football.

He is a role model, not because he is a Christian but because he isn’t afraid to say he’s a Christian. You don’t have to share his love of God or his way of expressing it to respect his willingness to be himself. He is a role model, not because he’s leading the Broncos in winning but because the spotlight it is bringing to him hasn’t changed his devout expression one iota.

Who among us can say we stand in our truth like that? We often hold back, soften our stance, go halfway. I’m not advocating wearing your belief system on your sleeve if that’s not authentically you, just marveling at what it looks like when someone does. I won’t deify Tebow but -- as a former sports writer who loved covering these kinds of stories -- it’s heady to watch when an athlete rides a zone so purely and fervently.

Whether an athlete – or any of us – is spurred on by faith in a rabbit’s foot, a Ziploc bag of sacred dirt from a blessed sanctuary, a precious medallion of a saint, or by our god, it speaks to how we take each new step. If we feel there is a force greater than us or we don’t, that sets the tone for a life of conviction one way or the other.

If we live a life where we make decisions based on the court of public opinion, we are likely not fulfilling our potential and probably not feeling particularly engaged in that life. If we are caught up in “how come he gets to (fill in the blank) and I don’t?” then we’ve probably lost our way a bit.

Take some sharp contrasts to Tebow who are living authentically and excelling in their professions – Lady Gaga, say, or Howard Stern. They forge on as themselves. Tebow doesn’t censor himself when expressing about Jesus. Gaga holds back nothing when speaking her mind and expressing with her physical self. Stern is one of the most effective interviewers around because he ignores taboos about what is appropriate to air and creates his own vibe.

If there is self-consciousness or fear in these individuals, it is routinely stared down and funneled into performance. Using their gifts supersedes all else. It’s like a continuum of faith and talent, purposeful and surefooted.

In the case of Tebow, there is a website now devoted to Tebowing, a phrase coined by Broncos fan Jared Kleinstein meaning “to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.” The site, founded by Kleinstein, has become a sensation as people continue to send photos of themselves “Tebowing.”

Some are humorous, others poignant. One of the most notable images is of a surgeon on one knee in the operating room right after saving someone’s life. It is inspiring others to unabashedly get down on one knee and pray and share it with whoever might be interested.

To be in their truth. Out there. Like it or don’t.

Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.