What Determines Your Decisions?
Kristie Ennis is an above-the-knee amputee. She is a retired U.S. Marine Corps sergeant. In Afghanistan in 2012, she lost her left leg. Since then, she has taken up mountain climbing.
She has scaled six of the so-called “sevens summits” the highest peaks on the seven continents. She then tackled the big one—Mount Everest—but she was forced to turn back 200 meters from the peak of Mount Everest.
She and her team had been climbing for 43 days. Climbing is a huge challenge. She has to take a step with her right leg, then match it with her left leg, which is used to simply brace or stabilize her. One of the dangers is getting frostbite on her good limb because of the cold transferring so quickly through the aluminum and steel devices.
She is a winner. People wanted to know why she didn’t finish the climb. She was at the south summit. She could see the top of Everest, but she was having difficulty with her prosthetic device. If it went out, she didn’t have the team to help her adequately. She knew that the team would be in jeopardy.
She decided to stop, not because she didn’t think she could finish, but because she knew that she was putting the lives of a lot of people in danger. She said she wouldn’t be able to live with herself if anybody on her team got hurt. She did say she would return and do it.
How many people make big decisions in life based on the welfare and safety of other people? How often do we think just of ourselves in making those decisions?
I have written about my great friend, Coach Jimmy Perry. After surviving cancer and heart surgery, he coached the St. James football team to a state championship in 2022—his first. He had one of the best quarterbacks in the state returning this year, along with several other stars. He had the inside track to win another state championship.
On a Monday night in February, a group of folks were discussing whether Jimmy would retire and asked me what I thought. I said that I doubted he would retire because he has developed these great players and he will have another year with them. Early the next morning, Coach Perry called me to tell me that he had decided to announce his retirement later that morning.
I was surprised. He explained, “If I coached another year and won another championship, a lot of our seasoned players would graduate. Whoever replaced me would have a difficult time.” He wanted to retire leaving great players for his successor so that they could be successful. His decision was based on not what he could accomplish for himself, but what he could do for somebody else.
Wow! How many of us think of others when we make big decisions? Kristie Ennis and Jimmy Perry did. Read about Esther, and Daniel, and Stephen, and Jesus. They did. Great American soldiers and leaders in the past did. They made decisions that cost them their lives so that our lives could be free, productive, and fulfilled!
What motivates the decisions you are making now?