Joe Delagrave is a husband, father, elite athlete, and keynote speaker. Joe has been married to his wife, April, for 13 years and have 3 kids.
A life altering accident changed Joe’s entire life. In this podcast, Joe shares his journey from college athlete to quadriplegic, to elite wheelchair rugby player. Joe shares how God has used his paralysis to help others find purpose after losing his identity after his accident and understanding that his identity lies in Christ first and foremost.
Over the past 13+ years, Joe has become one of the best wheelchair rugby players in the world. He is in his 12th year playing for the US Wheelchair Rugby National Team. Leadership is a passion of Joe’s and he has been able to provide it to the team as a captain for 7 years. Joe won bronze at the London 2012 Paralympics, and was an alternate for the Rio 2016 squad that won Silver. He is currently training for the Tokyo Paralympics.
After Joe’s accident he had to take a moment to pause and then pivot. There’s so many thoughts and questions after a major life event and it’s important to give yourself time to feel before you move in any direction. If you just pivot you are not allowing yourself to wrestle, sit and process and reflect what is going on. Refocus, take time to sit and feel what you need before you ask, “What’s next and how will I respond?”.
Sitting in unknown spaces can cause fear and panic to rise. Joe suggests taking things one day at a time. Break your larger goals and ideas into daily steps you can take forward. Start small and build on what you learn and accomplish each day. The daily goals help build momentum as your move forward and your motivation to keep moving forward grows.
This type of mindset shift to pause and start small when facing unknowns is hard to take on, especially after a major life event. Having the right support and like minded people around you is critical. Let their believe carry you until you can transfer it as your own.
Stop, look back and see where you came from and what you’ve been through and where God is taking you. How many times has God showed up for you and provided what you needed? Use that as encouragement to keep moving forward, especially when it feels hard. Using our past challenges to help shift our perceptive allows you to pivot in a more joyful, free way.
Choosing a Victor Mindset
The power of choosing personal responsibility in all things is a choice and a necessary component for success. We always have an opportunity and a choice of how we will respond to anything life brings our way. You get a choice in choosing if a circumstance will define you.
In those moments, before choosing a victor mindset, allow yourself to feel the way you feel. It’s ok to feel tired or defeated. Don’t deny the feeling. Remember, it’s ok to not be ok. Frustration builds out of lies we tell ourselves that we need to be ok all the time. You’re not going to always have the answers and ability to be positive. Allow the moment to happen, feel what you need and then redirect your thought process and self talk to “I’m not going to let this over take my spirit and who God says I am.”.
People crave to hear vulnerability and authenticity. That comes through sharing your story, shortcomings, failures and the hard things. Hearing how these tragic moments and hard things broke you but also how they didn’t stop you. We all are human and we all fall short. People need the reassurance that life is hard but you can choose to move on and move forward. Don’t hide your mess. It’s our connecting point.
Pride can overshadow our purpose that God has set for you. The journey doesn’t ever look like what we thought it would but don’t let that discourage you. Let your pride go and ask God for eyes to see your circumstances from His perspective.