It was 50 minutes before kickoff on Saturday, November 6, 2011 at Neyland Stadium and Tennessee Volunteers coach Derek Dooley was out of kickers.


The first string kicker hurt himself during practice earlier in the week, and the second string kicker pulled a muscle during pregame warm ups.

Dooley had a problem.

What transpired next is straight out of Hollywood!

As a last resort, Coach Dooley called 19-year-old freshman walk-on Derrick Brodus – who was laying on his living room couch with his hand in a bag of chips, watching football on TV. Dooley told Brodus that they needed him at the stadium as soon as possible and sent a police escort to pick him up.

Brodus answered the phone and answered the call.

That night, he made good on all three of his point-after attempts. As time expired in the first half, he kicked a 21-yard field goal that increased Tennessee’s halftime lead to 24-0. For Brodus, an evening that began on the living room sofa ended with the team chanting his name and the coach giving him the game ball!

Imagine what that must have felt like…

The surreal phone call.

The drive to the stadium.

The pregame nervousness.

The exhilaration of success.

The satisfaction of victory.

I’m sure November 6, 2011 will remain a highlight of this young man’s life and a permanent part of the team’s lore!

But … What if he had disqualified himself?

Last week, we discussed the concept of self-imposed limitations, including how they form. This week’s discussion is a continuation. You see, we often hold ourselves back by convincing ourselves that our opportunity has passed and disqualifying ourselves on that basis – and that’s where “by now” enters the picture.

The phrase “by now” is the ultimate justification for not taking action. It appears rational, reasonable, and incontrovertible. It complements “if I really wanted to” perfectly because it connotes a disqualification based on the passage of time, which cannot be helped.

Once you’ve been relegated to the sidelines, who can expect you to perform?


But “by now” is a hoax!

“By now” allows us to relegate ourselves to the sidelines – to count ourselves out – and in so doing, excuse ourselves from pursuing our dreams. Then we can safely say:

“I could have ______ if I really wanted to… However, by now, I should have ____.”

Thus, “by now” helps us justify avoiding potential failure by providing a buffer zone that prevents us from ever having to face it. But it also robs us of our potential and life-defining moments like that experienced by Derrick Brodus.

Call the “by now” bluff.

We all embrace “by now” for different reasons, but here are three universal truths we need to acknowledge about the great “by now” hoax in order to see it as the deception it is:

1) “By now” is a rationalization – The goal of the phrase “by now” is to offer justification for not pursuing a dream or goal. It complements “the myth of what if” by keeping questions away from our ability to succeed. Instead, it blames time as the issue: We could have lived our dreams but, alas, now it’s too late. Rationalization is much less risky than facing failure, and placing the blame on the passage of time instead of claiming a lack of desire seems much more credible. However, we still end up losing in the end, because “by now” keeps us on the sidelines instead of in the game.

“I’d rather have an idea that fails than a faith that doesn’t try.”

– Bob Goff, Founder of Restore International; Best-selling author of Love Does

2) “By now” is perpetual – The phrase “by now” is not age-specific. It works just as well at 25 as it does at 55. Consequently, we never grow out of it. Instead, the only way to neutralize it is to call its bluff. We must recognize the rationalization for what it is and admit our fear of failure. The most amazing part is how quickly that fear dissipates when we acknowledge it and start talking about it. Find a good friend or one of your personal board members and give it a try!

“Most people don’t ever sing the song that God gave them; they die with the song still in them.”

– Lance Walnau, Executive Coach

3) “By now” is a ‘gateway’ lie – This is the most insidious part of the “by now” hoax: If we buy the lie of “by now,” we’ll also buy the next lie, which is “don’t try.” This is how “by now” keeps us on the sidelines and ensures we always lose. But the truth is, there really is no such thing as “by now” – there is no one right way to succeed at anything and chances are that many opportunities still await you! The most important prerequisite for success is simply staying in the game.

“Anything worth doing is worth failing at.”

– Gregory Boyle, Founder of Homeboy Industries

Brodus and “by now”

If Brodus had believed the great “by now” hoax, he would have hung up the phone and missed a life-defining experience.

He would have said – by now:

  • I should be on the team…
  • I should have been at practice…
  • I should have more experience…
  • I should be at the stadium…
  • I should be suited up…

There are many plausible-sounding excuses that Brodus could have used to hang up the phone, lay back down, and eat another chip. Chances are you can think of a few more with little effort.

But he didn’t.

And we shouldn’t either.

So next time “by now” echoes in your mind, think of Derek Brodus and neutralize this hoax.

Don’t buy the lie that you belong on the sidelines! Stay in the game, and give yourself a chance to succeed.

Leave a Comment: Describe your experience with the great “by now “ hoax! How have you been fooled? What were your rationalizations?

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