Coach P’s Top Read’s of 2017

to jumpstart your 2018

I am an avid reader and wholeheartedly believe it’s one of the best ways to achieve personal growth. Well, that is if you are reading the right books and putting what you learn into action.

Growing up, my parents couldn’t get me to read anything. I would read whatever the teacher assigned, maybe, and that’s it. During my college years, I did a little extra reading on the side, but I was definitely not all in.

About 6 or 7 years ago I decided that in order to grow as a leader and into the person God was calling me to become I’d have to start reading. If you are going to grow then you must sow. Sowing the seeds of knowledge and wisdom found in books written by people that are successful, especially in the areas you want to succeed, is a great way to compress time and learn more than you have time to experience on your own.

If you are a reader, awesome. If you are not a reader, then don’t lose hope just yet. You can download most books via Audible and listen to them in the car or around the house. I love to do this as I drive to and from work or on long road trips. Another option is to start reading and take it slow. Dedicate 15 minutes per day to reading a book and then increase as your reading muscles begin to grow.

Below is a list of the best books I read in 2017 and a brief description of each book. I encourage you to pick a couple of them and then get your read on in 2018. These are not listed in a particular order as they are all good in their own way.

  • The Little Things– Andy Andrews is one of the best communicators of our time. I’ll stand by that statement 7 days per week and twice on Sunday. In his latest book, The Little Things, Andy shares his secrets of success that have helped the likes of top CEO’s, NCAA National Championship Football Teams, Superbowl Championship teams, and many more. According to Mr. Andrews, the little things change everything and I believe his perspective is right on the money!
  • The Last Arrow– To say, Pastor Erwin McManus, writes with passion is an understatement. In The Last Arrow, Pastor McManus urges the reader to live life with ambition, fire, and no regrets. Once you’ve read this book, you’ll want to live with such a gusto that you’ll leave this life with nothing left to give. Pastor McManus’ personal story, which he shares in this book, is incredibly moving and beautifully ties right into the lessons he shares with the reader. The last arrow might move from book title to life motto after you complete this read.
  • Under Our Skin– NFL star Benjamin Watson brings to light the sensitive issues of the racial divide in the United States and also offers solutions to bridge the gap. Mr. Watson shares real-life experience and ultimately provides hope that America can begin to heal as a united people. As a man that is passionate about racial unity, I can say that I loved Benjamin Watson perspectives and solutions. This is a must-read for all Americans.
  •  Lead for God’s Sake– Why did it take me so long to read this book? I was gifted Lead for God’s Sake a couple of years ago and it sat on a shelf. Well, I’m glad I picked it up this year as it’s a tremendous read. Author Todd Gongwer shares with the reader an awesome story of a transactional coach that is losing his team and his family life in the process. Somewhere along the way, this coach meets up with a school janitor that teaches him how to be a transformational leader for his team and in his home. As a coach and family man, I can appreciate everything about this story. I actually have a chapter in my own book about a janitor that positively impacted my journey, so this book hits home on several levels.
  • Day of War– Yes, yes, yes. Cliff Graham knocks it out of the park with his Lion of War series. Day of War is the first book in the series and it’s a page-turner. This book can be listed as historical fiction or Christian historical fiction, both work. No matter what it’s listed under, the book is excellent. Personally, David is one of my favorite people in the Bible. In this series, we get to experience aspects of David’s life first hand. Graham went above and beyond in creating a riveting book that includes scripture, imagination, historically accurate characters, weapons, and more. I’ll say no more, just make this book one of your reads this year and you can thank me later.
  • Covenant of War– This is the 2nd book in the Lion of War series by Author Cliff Graham and it does not disappoint. This book is a continuation of Day of War, but it’s brought to us from the perspective of a different character. The first book focuses on the perspective of Beniah and this second one reads through the eyes of Eleazar- both reporting to us about the life of David. Cliff Graham’s books play out like a great movie in your mind which makes them difficult to put down. I didn’t want this book to end.
  • The Emigrant Edge– Author Brian Buffini is the man. This book is on almost every bestseller list and that doesn’t scratch the surface of all Buffini has accomplished in the business and coaching world. I was ignorant to Buffini before reading this book and now I’m one of his mega-fans. This Irish immigrant shares his principles of success that can help anyone achieve the American dream. This book is funny, insightful, and full of inspiration that can be turned into action right now. No matter who you are or where you’re from, The Emigrant Edge will move you in the direction of your dreams.
  • Whisper– Okay, I have to admit that I haven’t finished reading this book yet as it’s my current and last read of 2017. But, I am about 3/4 of the way through and feel qualified to tell you it’s awesome! Mark Batterson has become one of my all-time favorite authors and pastors over the last couple years. I’ve read most of his books and listen to his sermons via podcast each week. With all that said, Whisper is one of Batterson’s best works. This book is about learning to listen to God’s voice and deepening your relationship with Him in the process. In typical Batterson style, this book is full of engaging real-life stories, science, and simplicity in the midst of complicated topics. This book has been a great way to end one calendar year and move into the next, armed with action steps to hear God’s whisper in my own life. Love this book!
  • Swipe Right– Love, sex, and romance- who doesn’t want to read about these topics? In this book, Pastor Levi Lusko gets real about the importance of relationships and the power they hold on us as human beings. Pastor Lusko does a great job of explaining God’s plan for us in relationships and doing so in a way that’s real, raw, and right on point. While reading this book I could appreciate and connect with much of the content on a personal level. Even more important, this book has provided a game plan for my wife and me to share a Biblical perspective on sex and relationships with our pre-teen. Believe me, that’s not easy for this dad of four to write or even think about. Good work and thank you Pastor Lusko, for real for real.
  • The Case for Christ– If you are a Christian, read this book. If you are not a Christian, read this book. It has sold millions of copies and been made into a major motion picture for a reason. Lee Strobel has an incredible story and the evidence he provides in the book concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus is simply amazing. The Case for Christ is both entertaining and educational on so many levels. I feel this is a must-have in everyone’s book collection.
  • Play the Man– Wait, I have two Mark Batterson books on this list? Yes, I do. As a dad and a man, this book struck so many chords that I immediately suggested it to almost every dad and male I know. It’s seriously that good. In Play the Man, Batterson explains what it means to be a man and more specifically, a man of God. His delve into manhood and advice for making men is second to none. I plan to read this book again and employ the wisdom contained within as my two little boys grow up and I work to show them what it looks like to be a Man of God. Dang, I want to read this one again while writing these few sentences about it.
  • The Power of Positive Leadership– Would a year of reading really be complete without a Jon Gordon book? Probably not is my answer to that question. As the master of positive thinking, living, and writing, Gordon shares with us his knowledge on the topic. This is not feel good fluff, but instead real and relevant information for leaders in any of every area of life. Jon Gordon shares principles in this book through compelling stories that will turn your negative mindset into a positive perspective pillar of strength for you and your team today.
  • Game Changing Moves– My own book on this list, biased much? Well, I wouldn’t have written this book if I didn’t believe in its contents. So I feel I must share it with you on this list. You might be thinking, “Aren’t these books you’ve read this year? You wrote Game Changing Moves, so why would you read it?” I did read my own book and it spoke to me too. Weird, I know. But it’s amazing how God can take past experiences and speak to you through them again, but in a different way. In this book, I share with the reader life lessons and principles of success that I’ve learned from various people over the years. These people include Hall of Fame coaches, high-level leaders in the world of business, and little old women that I worked for during my youth. The principles are applicable for parents, teachers, leaders, athletes, you name it. The positive feedback I’ve received has both amazed and humbled me greatly. All Glory to God!

There you have it friends, my top reads of 2017. Now go pick some of them up and dig in to help create a better you in 2017!

Happy Reading and God Bless,

Coach P

 

 

The Christmas Chicken

The Birth of Jesus was one of the most incredible days in the history of mankind. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas, let us no forget the less than ideal circumstances under which Mary delivered her beautiful baby boy.

In this time-tested story my friend you’ll find the nativity scene from a perspective you’ve yet to read. Believe me when I tell you it’s true and delivered to the world from a bird’s eye view.

(The story of The Christmas Chicken was inspired by my son Luke. He declared while making Christmas cookies that the Christmas Chicken was an integral part of the Christmas Story. According to Luke, the Christmas Chicken was in the stable with Jesus on the day of our Savior’s birth.)

The Christmas Chicken

By Chad Parks

 

The day was normal as normal days go. 

I was snuggled warmly in the hay while listening to the cold winds blow.

 

Next to me in the stable were my friends Sherman the sheep and Casey the cow. In the nook of our room was Dale the Donkey standing next to the plow.

 

We were a peaceful lot and resting oh so well when all the sudden that ship set sail.

 

There was a clanking, banging, and even a shatter.

We all hopped to our feet wondering what was the matter.

 

In a rush, in a hurry, they flew by in a blurry.

A woman and man scurrying hand in hand.

 

She took to the ground and gave a great shout.

Then all of the sudden a baby came about.

 

The room seemed to freeze, yes everything froze.

This was no normal child, though he had ten beautiful fingers and toes.

 

The man stood in awe and the women started to cry as their gorgeous baby boy let out a long sigh. All at once the brightest light we’d seen by far shown through the windows from a glorious star.

 

Then without warning three wise men arrived at the inn to view the baby boy, each praising God with hearts full of joy. They laid at his feet gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Presents given from magi to a royalty of exceptional worth.

 

I know this story to be true and not merely a fable as I saw it myself that day in the stable. So did Sherman the sheep and Casey the cow, along with Dale the Donkey standing next to the plow. We were simply country animals trying to rest that cold day when to our surprise a majestic baby boy was born on our hay.

 

I overheard the wise men in the room call the newborn, “King Jesus”; yes I’m certain that’s what I heard. You can take my word for it because I’m also wise, a wise old bird.

 

I am the Christmas Chicken and the story I’ve shared with you is true. Thanks for lending your time and ear as it’s been such an honor to tell it to you!

God Bless You and Merry Christmas,

Chad Parks

Game Changing Moves:

  1. Read Matthew 1:18-2:23
  2. Share the story of the Christmas Chicken with your family.
  3. Discuss the birth of Jesus and the meaning of Christmas with your loved ones.

Vision

Hey Friends,

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted on my blog. Since my book Game Changing Moves came out I’ve been running and gunning in that arena. Today I have a couple of items to share with you through this short post.

First, we decided to create a new cover for my book and it was unveiled yesterday. We love the previous cover but also understand that Game Changing Moves is about more than the sport of wrestling. Because of this fact, we didn’t want to limit our potential audience via the book cover’s first impression with a wrestler on it.

Ultimately Game Changing Moves is about faith, leadership, and personal growth. It is for each and every person with a desire to add tools in those areas.

Here is the new book cover:

Second, I want to share some thoughts with you from the chapter titled “Vision” from Game Changing Moves. In the video below I discuss the aforementioned chapter and I hope the contents of the video add to your personal vision.

VISION

Vision- Do you have a vision for your life or are you merely existing?"Where there is no vision the people will perish." -Proverbs 29:18

Posted by Chad Parks on Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Have a great day and God Bless!

TCOB,

Chad

4 Point Friday

Hello Friends,

Each Friday,  I send out an exclusive email about 4 awesome things (aka points) I’ve experienced this week and would like to share.

My intention with these 4 points is to provide you with perspective, inspiration, courage and some laughs.

So without further ado, here is your 4 Point Friday and Thank You for Reading!

Quote I’m Pondering:

“Live an open-handed life. Open your hands to God and let Him open His hands to you.” -Daniel Eric Groves

Social Media Post:

I have recently released a new book called, GAME CHANGING MOVES: Life Lessons From The Locker Room And Beyond.

In the live Facebook video below I share both my heart and thought process behind the book.

GAME CHANGING MOVES

The heart and thought process behind my new book, Games Changing Moves: Life Lessons From The Locker Room And Beyond. Working to change lives and as my friend Heath Eslinger says, "Changing Family Trees."

Posted by Chad Parks on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

 

Inspiration:

I love a great Podcast and this one is on the money time and again.

https://www.andyandrews.com/category/podcasts/

What I’m Listening to:

This song is simply incredible and uplifting!

Thank You for taking the time to read my 4 Point Friday newsletter. I hope you have found some inspiration and light. As always, I’d love to hear feedback and garner inspiration from you! Feel free to shoot me an email at coachchadparks@gmail.com and let’s connect.

God Bless,

Coach P

“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” -Matthew 5:14

 

 

 

 

GAME CHANGING MOVES (Cross Training Publishing , 2017)

Life is full of ups, downs, highs and lows. It is also replete with game changing moves that can shift a situation in your favor and impact your journey. Sometimes that impact is realized immediately, and at other times the awareness comes later. Either way, game-changing moves are powerful. Throughout this book, you will learn life lessons from the locker room and beyond. Chad Parks will share valuable wisdom he has acquired through sports. He provides valuable principles that will inspire and give you confidence for the road ahead so you can experience your own positive game changing moves.

4 Point Friday

Hi Friends,

Each Friday,  I send out an exclusive email about 4 awesome things (aka points) I’ve experienced this week and would like to share.

My intention with these 4 points is to provide you with perspective, inspiration and hopefully some laughs.

So without further ado, here is your 4 Point Friday and Thank You for Reading!

Quote I’m Pondering:

“Do the next right thing.” -John Fritz, Former Head Wrestling Coach at Penn State University

What I’m reading:

Play the Man, by Mark Batterson. The short book trailer video below says it better than I can, so go watch it real quick. I will say that I’m at the halfway point in this book and can’t wait to continue my reading journey. If you have a husband or son, get them this book. If you are a man, buy yourself this book.

You can find it at playtheman.com.

Bring the Funny:

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” -Proverbs 17:22

What I’m listening to:

If you are a fan of Christian hip-hop and modern Christian music, then download the NGEN Radio app on your phone. This app is played in my car, my office and at home. It has the newest Christian music and allows me to discover new artists. You can also go to the NGEN website and listen to streaming music on your computer. It’s definitely a favorite in my household and I hope you’ll enjoy it too. Click on the link below to discover more.

Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You for taking the time to read my 4 Point Friday newsletter. I hope you have found some inspiration and laughter. As always, I’d love to hear feedback and garner inspiration from you! Feel free to shoot me an email at coachchadparks@gmail.com and let’s connect.

God Bless,

Coach P

“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” -Matthew 5:14

4 Point Friday

Hi Friends,

Each Friday,  I send out an exclusive email about 4 awesome things (aka points) I’ve experienced this week and would like to share.

My intention with these 4 points is to provide you with perspective, inspiration and hopefully some laughs.

So without further ado, here is your 4 Point Friday and Thank You for Reading!

Quote I’m Pondering:

“There seems to be more negativity in the world. What a great opportunity and time to be a positive leader. The star shines in the darkness!” -Jon Gordon

Social Media Post:

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to speak at the USA Wrestling- Kansas Youth State Tournament during a Sunday morning church service provided by Wrestlers for Christ. During this brief message, I shared a story that impacted me as a wrestler and still impacts the way I live today as a husband, father, coach, and man of faith. Please take a few minutes to watch and apply this powerful message in your own life.

USA Wrestling Church on the Mat 2017

Posted by Wrestlers for Christ on Sunday, March 26, 2017

 

What I’m Reading:

Lead for God’s Sake!

This book is based on the life of a successful coach whose world comes spiraling down as he realizes his self-worth is connected to his success in sports and not who he is as a person. The lessons contained in this book can be applied to every area of life and are much needed in today’s win at all cost society. I’m having a heart check as I read the story and think about my own motives as a coach and human being.

Inspiration:

Thank You for taking the time to read my 4 Point Friday newsletter. I hope you have found some inspiration and laughter. As always, I’d love to hear feedback and garner inspiration from you! Feel free to shoot me an email at coachchadparks@gmail.com and let’s connect.

God Bless,

Coach P

“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” -Matthew 5:14

4 Point Friday

Hey there,

Each Friday,  I send out an exclusive email about 4 awesome things (aka points) I’ve experienced this week and would like to share.

My intention with these 4 points is to provide you with perspective, inspiration, useful information and hopefully some laughs.

So without further ado, here is your 4 Point Friday and Thank You for Reading!

What I’m watching:

Funny with life lessons = Doubly Awesome!

Scripture I’m Pondering:

No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29

  • This is a powerful reminder for me to use my words wisely and for a positive purpose. How about you?

What I’m Reading:

Okay, I’ll admit that I haven’t done a great job of intentionally growing and building into my marriage during wrestling season. As a coach, I often get so focused on developing my athletes in all areas of their lives that I neglect relationships at home.  That being said, I’ve started reading the book at the link below by Pastor Levi Lusko and it has me fired up stoke the fire in my marriage.

Swipe Right: The Life-and-Death Power of Sex and Romance 

Sidenote: This book is for everyone, not only us married folks.

Popular Facebook post this week:

A quick journey through the lows, highs, and life lessons brought about by wrestling…

What has Wrestling Given Me

Thank You for taking the time to read my 4 Point Friday newsletter. I hope you have found some inspiration and laughter. As always, I’d love to hear feedback and garner inspiration from you! Feel free to shoot me an email at coachchadparks@gmail.com and let’s connect.

God Bless,

Coach P

“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” -Matthew 5:14

Push Back Your Wall

“Let’s go Parks, we gonna work today son.”

These were the words Coach Atterberry barked out at me after a 2.5-hour wrestling practice. Coach Atterberry was my dad’s assistant wrestling coach and was known for his personal work ethic, along with pushing athletes to their limits. He was a longtime football coach but loved the mentality in the sport of wrestling.

Coach Atterberry would keep me after practice almost daily and put me through extra workouts. I didn’t mind because I wanted to be the best and knew that Coach Atterberry had my greatest interest in mind. I was certain he would push me and just as certain that he loved me as a person and not just an athlete.

On this particular day, Coach Atterberry had a little something in mind that I wasn’t ready for mentally or maybe even physically. We had just completed a grueling wrestling practice when I heard Coach’s call for me to stay and work. As usual, I reported for duty and waited to see what extra workout I’d be performing that day. Coach ran me through a circuit of stationary bike sprints, bear crawls around the wrestling room and swings across the monkey bars (which spanned the length of the room.) To make matters worse, he had another wrestler stay and complete the circuit with me, but he let that wrestler go home after a couple of rounds.

In my mind, I’d surely get to go home soon just as my teammate had done. But as the moments flew by and the sweat rolled down my body, it seemed as if there would be no reprieve from the pain. Coach Atterberry kept pushing me with words that I could no longer make out in my state of exhaustion. At one point I was bent over taking a 30-second rest when my dad walked into the wrestling room and looked at me and then Coach Atterberry. I didn’t say a word, but with my eyes, I tried to yell, “Help! Get me out of here.” My dad shook his head and walked out of the room. I looked down and watched as blood dripped from each finger and made a puddle on the floor. My calluses had been torn off my hands by the tape we put on the monkey bars to keep them from getting slick with condensation from the heated room.

It was in this moment that I wasn’t sure if I could take any more. Coach Atterberry yelled, “Bear crawls, get ’em.” I started to bear crawl around the room but stopped. I stood up and begin to walk. Coach hollered for me to continue, but I didn’t listen. He had done it. He was the first and only coach to ever break me mentally in a workout. I looked at him and said, “No.” Even as the words left my mouth I couldn’t believe I was telling a coach no. Where was this coming from? What was going on here?

I continued to walk for around a half lap and then something inside clicked. There it was, that place in the mind that a human can go when they really need to make something happen. The mental lapse was over, a decision was made, and I was back to work.

I’m not sure how much longer the workout lasted. It didn’t matter at that point because now I was all in and that made all the difference.

You and I, we have mental walls. We are not sure where they exist and will never be certain until we push the limits and discover a wall. It’s in the moment of discovery that a decision has to be made to turn around and retreat or keep pushing until the wall is driven back. Then next time we will be able to travel a little further to hit the wall and again push it back. This requires getting out of our comfort zone and journeying into the unknown. It’s scary, it’s uncomfortable, and it might cause us to cry out for help. But if we will persist, then what was once a wall, a stumbling block, or a limitation will no longer exist. It’s in these moments that we grow stronger and get better.

Outside of each individual, there is a major key in this growth process… someone to help us find our wall. We all need a Coach Atterberry to push us further than we’ve been and beyond where we think we can go. This person can be a coach, a spouse, trainer, boss, or best friend. But this I’m sure of, we need someone to help us discover our walls and push them back. Once this has been experienced enough times, then it becomes part of our internal fabric and we can push ourselves to new levels.

Let me make this personal for you. In life, there is a guarantee that you will be pushed outside of your comfort zone. This might be a personal choice such as pursuing a vision for a sport, job, or your family. There are also times that life will throw at you tests that you are not ready for physically or mentally. It’s in these moments that you can break and quit or you can go to that place deep inside and decide to keep pressing on. The circumstances might be out of your control, but your mentality is totally up to you in the midst of the circumstances.

Where is your wall? Are you willing to find it and then push it back? When life yells, “We gonna work today”, how will you respond? It’s your choice and I hope that you will embrace the discomfort and allow it to push back your walls in order to make you stronger and weave within you a fabric that cannot be broken.

God Bless,

Coach P

Game Changing Moves:

  1. Think of a time in your life when you were pushed to your limits and beyond either mentally or physically. How did you respond?
  2. Who do you have in your life that challenges you to get uncomfortable and grow?
  3. Read Proverbs 18:10. Where do you turn when you need help?

P.S. Thank You to Coach Duke Atterberry and my Dad (Coach Martin Parks) for pushing me so hard in high school wrestling. When I wrestled in college, we did workouts that would make a billy goat puke, but I was ready for them because I’d been there before. Your influence impacts how I train even today. I love you guys.

 

4 Point Friday

2/3/17

Hello Friends,

Each Friday,  I send out an exclusive email about 4 awesome things (aka points) I’ve experienced this week and would like to share.

My intention with these 4 points is to provide you with perspective, inspiration, useful information and hopefully some laughs.

So without further ado, here is your 4 Point Friday and Thank You for Reading!

What I’m Listening to:

If you are into leadership training, then add this to your watch list or listen via podcast (that’s what I do personally.) Craig Groeschel is an amazing leader and I gain great perspective with each listen.

Scripture I’m Pondering:

“He then said, “God’s word: Dig ditches all over this valley. Here’s what will happen—you won’t hear the wind, you won’t see the rain, but this valley is going to fill up with water and your army and your animals will drink their fill.” -2 Kings 3:16-17

How many people are willing to put in work ahead of time while not being certain that it will pay off down the road? My educated guess is… not many. But God often calls us to dig ditches (put in work) while trusting that it’s all part of the grander plan He has designed for our lives. Dig the ditches, do the work, and watch God provide beyond what you could ever think or imagine.

Popular Social Media Post:

Be careful, this one is about Passion. Click Here to View

Let’s Get Funny:

If you’ve never heard of Michael Jr.- You’re Welcome :).

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” -Proverbs 17:22

Thank You for taking the time to read my 4 Point Friday newsletter. I hope you have found some inspiration and laughter. As always, I’d love to hear feedback and garner inspiration from you! Feel free to shoot me an email at coachchadparks@gmail.com and let’s connect.

God Bless,

Coach P

“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” -Matthew 5:14