Throw the ‘hat and towel’ into the ring!

In the early 19th century anyone who sought to enter a boxing ring would ’throw in their hat’ as an intentional sign that they wanted to fight. Another phrase ‘throwing in the towel,’ is a sign that the boxer had accepted defeat from their opponent.  Boxing RingThere are times in life to be in the ring and times when we are out. Times when we are out of the ring and times to get back in.

Recently I received a telephone call from someone who was in a state of deep shock. They had just been notified that they were being made redundant from their current job in May 2019. Such news was like being thrown reluctantly into a ring where one had to fight to survive and prepare to get a new job. I listened intently to the person who expressed their fears. What should I do, how will I cope, what about money and the care for their family. Life is often about being in the ring and then out. Thinking about being out of the ring and then how to get back in.

Three times in my working career I have been made redundant and had to ‘throw in the towel’ acknowledging that I no longer had a job. However, in ‘throwing in the hat’ I worked hard to get another job often with improved pay and conditions.

If you review your own life experiences over the years you will be able to recall lots of unexpected events where you have had to ‘throw in the hat’ and then ‘throw in the towel.’ Many situations that you hoped for or never thought possible would have happened.

Jabez  In 2005 I read a small but very significant book (1) about an obscure man called Jabez (2) who prayed that the land and circumstances in which he lived would be enlarged and that he would be keep safe from harm and danger. Since that time little did I know that I would move from being a busy Minister and Project Worker, to then becoming a full time Minister and Life Coach.

I never thought that I would go on to complete 10 marathons, improve our family home, lose my mother and brother, with its associated trauma. Travel to various countries on mission and holidays and at this present time complete my first book entitled Blog 51

Book cover which contains ten themes on various aspects of life that I have covered in 51 Blogs over six years. (3)

When we incur change in whatever form, we will have to reshape, embrace and then enlarge. Within this blog I want to consider a process that includes enlarging in the context of our personal dreams and aspirations. Taking the opportunity to reshape and reframe the present, on the basis of past experience and expertise. Then to embrace self-confidence beyond any limiting beliefs which we may be carrying or people who want to impose restricting thoughts upon us.

Enlarge – When we face redundancy and a major change in life we will be grateful for support and advice and may even offer up a few prayers for divine intervention and guidance. I wonder if there are any areas in your life where you want to see a planned increase in terms of relationships, wealth, health, spiritual maturity or ambitions that you may want to work on in 2019. Personal and collective dreams are important to hold on to and give us motivation and purpose to fulfil future ambitions.

Ladder to sky

Reshape – When we choose or are forced to think about change then there will be certain adjustments that will have to take place. In enlarging our territory, whatever that might be, we will in one form or another have to reshape what currently exists. In having plans, we have to be ready to reframe and replace. It’s important to remember that if we are not willing to change then in some instances, circumstances will force us to make adjustments where required.


Embrace – When enforced change comes upon us it is vital to retain our self-belief and use it as a driver and stabiliser to experience afresh a new season that can be good for us. Many people will tell us what to do and not do. It’s important to hear people’s wisdom but we don’t have to follow any limiting beliefs that may undermine our own thoughts and self-confidence. A dream fulfilled is to be enjoyed and not to be seen as a nightmare, unless it has changed into one!


Having worked on a formula of enlarge, reshape and embrace, it may be equally helpful to follow the process in reverse or in circumstances which radically reshape us without choice. Going back to the person who phoned me about their redundancy, they felt encouraged and less fearful and are working through their own action plans to find a new and improved job.

So a process of enlarge, reshape and embrace could be experienced as:
embrace, reshape and enlarge
or reshape, embrace and enlarge.

So hold onto ‘your hats and towels’ and throw them into the ring when required.

1) ‘The prayer of Jabez’ Bruce Wilkinson (2) 1 Chronicles 4 v 9 – 10

(3) Blog 51 ‘Insights into daily living’ Graham Smallman (Kindle eBook and paperback from September 2019)

For further reading hit the links below for the second edition of my book Blog 51 (October 2020) in black and white or colour

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17 Responses to Throw the ‘hat and towel’ into the ring!

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