If a book undeniably tied to celebrities, subtitled “Life Lessons from Winners” gets you rolling your eyes or gagging at the thought of being fed high-octane bites of inspiration that burst with promise and fizzle out in real life, I hear you. Do we really need to read accounts of the rich and famous to teach us “focus and prepare, be good to people, serve, do your best; be honest, positive, passionate and loving; work hard, have faith, spread joy…?” As it turns out, It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who You Are says very little we probably haven’t heard before. But oh, well worth the read.
Like the raw ingredients eggs, flour, butter, milk, cocoa that transform into a irresistibly delectable cake when mixed together, rising in the oven, the stories combine to whip up a fresh batch of determination to live and give with all we’ve got. Each entry is short and simple; many are sports related. Every single message is doable and can be applied immediately. By anyone. And like that chocolate dessert the lessons never lose their flavour or appeal.
As Pat Williams shares the life lessons from his cupboard of memories he inadvertently draws you into the kitchen of his own life where nineteen children sit at the table; where the battle with multiple myeloma, embarrassing failed first marriage and bouts of adversity are blended into his recipe for success. His eagerness to keep his ‘eyes and ears wide open’ so he can learn from others, and then impart those lessons is the bread and butter cream behind this book. It’s the royal legacy icing that spreads the wisdom from the past by living it out in the present so future generations can taste its sweet goodness.
From my seven pages of notes with quotes and reminders from this collection of anecdotes and insights, what struck me between the eyes and at the centre of my heart was Pat William’s call from the start to not “squander the opportunity”. To step up with loving courage to be all that God created me to be.
It was worth it to read It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who You Are for the concluding piece alone. It had a powerful effect on me and brought me to tears. With about one week left to live, bible teacher Wendell Kempton found the time and strength to plan his “going away party” complete with the balloons he promised his granddaughter. When the time came, his son ushered his heavenly homecoming whispering “…you’ve done your job and you’re going to your eternal reward. Get your best sermon ready, Dad. You’re going into glory.” The funeral “party” that followed saw six successful sports figures speak about how he influenced their lives, and proved to be a great celebration of a life well-lived and triumphantly completed. Not because of who he knew, but for who he was.
For me that’s what it’s all about. Live my life on earth in such a way that when I arrive at heaven’s gates I’m greeted with “well done good and faithful servant.” It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who You Are underscored that desire and touched my life.
Disclosure: Many thanks to Revell Publishing for the invitation to be part of It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who You Are Blog Tour and the complimentary book in exchange for this unbiased review.
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Thank you Holley Gerth
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