CEO: Susan Got Choked Out in the Holy Land, and a Gift For You

Dec 6, 2018, 09:31 AM by Chris Coker

For Thanksgiving, we took a trip to visit our daughter who is doing a semester abroad on the island of Cyprus. After spending time with her, we all went to Jerusalem to visit the Holy Land to see all of the amazing places that we have heard about
 our entire lives.

One of the sights that we visited was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This church is the site where Jesus was crucified and buried. The church is massive and incredible to see.

We were at the spot in the church where the crucifixion took place. This entire church was carved out of a stone hill (Golgotha), and this was a spot in the rock where the crosses were placed upright. So it is the exact spot where Jesus died. You may
 not be Christian, but all the Abrahamic faiths espouse that Jesus existed; they just argue about his role in the scheme of things.


So no matter what, this is a spot of great significance that literally changed the world. Without the crucifixion, there
 can be no resurrection and no Christian Church. This spot is a very big deal; anyone should be humbled to stand there and reflect on what this singular death meant to the future of our planet.

The crucifixion spot is surrounded by an altar, and people file past it. They can say a prayer, they can touch the rock and they can reflect. This part of the church is “run” by the Greek Orthodox Church, and there is a priest who stands there
 to keep order. 

Well, he was not feeling the spirit the day we were there, and he announced that the altar would close in 15 minutes. He did not say it would reopen in a bit, just that it would be closed. He was very grumpy. Not at all approachable
 for questions. This created a Black Friday-store opening moment for the crowd, which had been waiting in line for quite a while. 

Susan (my Mrs.) had just kneeled to say a prayer when Father Grumpy gave the 15-minute warning. The little old lady
 (I mean that literally) behind Susan grabbed her by the scarf — choking her, jerking her back from the altar and cramming her way into Susan's spot. That’s right, we are at one of the holiest places on the Earth, and this little
 old lady lost it.

We were in the right frame of mind, so we laughed it off. 

Travel brings out the best or worst in all of us, but being there in that place, I was happy to wait for hours to see the site of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus.
 I didn’t feel a need to push or shove, cut in line or even complain. It is the ultimate place of reflection for all of Christendom. 


Why were some calm, and others were crazy? I believe part of it has to do with the fact that I think about my reactions and talk about them. I used to have a temper, but I have trained and thought my way out of it. I have decided that I do
 not want to be an angry person. I want to be nice to people. That is a personal goal that I need to always think about and work on. In fact, I have thought and worked on it for so long that I don’t have to think about it anymore. It is
 just natural to me.


How do you get that way? One way to get there is to go through the following exercise, which I recommend you do with your entire family over the holidays. It is a way to create a personal mission or values statement and a family mission statement.

 Here are about 50 cards with a value printed on them, such as family, friendship, work-life balance and so on. 


 The process is to take a set of cards and in about 10 minutes, cut the number of values from about 50 to 20. This is fairly simple for most. 

 Then cut it down from 20 to the 10 most important values. Usually, this is a tougher cut and takes another 10-15 minutes. 

 Finally, put those 10 values into four rows like a pyramid; four cards on the bottom, three cards above the four, two cards above the three and one card at the top of the pyramid. The most important value goes on top and the least important values line
 the bottom row. 

 Then strip away the bottom row! As you strip out the bottom four values, you have the option to swap out some values that are in the bottom row that could replace something in the top six cards. 

 When doing this exercise don't give
 the overview of the process beforehand because the participants should not know that they are cutting the cards from 50 down to six. It's important to go through a two- or three-stage process, so they have a chance to differentiate between values
 as they get down to the final six. 

Lastly, go through the exercise of crafting a mission statement incorporating those final six values. The key is to get away from a mission statement like, "I value A, B, C, D, E

 F." This is designed to reflect what a person’s core values are and what is important to them now. The exercise is to get them started down the path of self-realization about what they value — in the hope that they will form their life around
 their values.


This is especially valuable for kids, and young adults who are navigating their way through peer pressure and media filled environments. If you know what you stand for, then you have a rudder to use for your reactions, and you are not subject to the
 winds of outside influence. There is a saying attributed to a lot of people with Alexander Hamilton being the oldest: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

I tie this all back together to the old lady who choked Susan. Did her actions match her values? Does she even know what her values are? I bet that her actions at that moment did not match her values, but was that not the exact place on the planet
 to reflect on and reaffirm her values? Did she ever think about her personal values/mission statement? 

I think all of us would be better off if we knew exactly what we stood for, and then repeated this process occasionally to continuously reflect our maturing and life experience. So here is my Christmas gift to
 you, try this out, and I hope it makes a difference in your life or in the life of someone you love.


Chris Coker