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TACOS! An Acronym For Dealing With Adversity

Last Sunday I participated in the UVa Contemplative Science Center's Virtual Meditation on the Lawn.  It was a great hour.  One of the speakers was the UVa wrestling coach who spoke about how he leads his team.  He has a philosophy similar to Coach Bennett, but his approach is known as TACOS.  He spoke yesterday about how we can apply this approach to the adversities we are all facing during this Covid-19 situation.

His portion of the presentation starts at the 32:00 minute mark of the above video. I think you will find him inspirational.

He was kind enough to respond to my email and provide me the following description of TACOS.  I wanted to share it with you as I found it both inspiring and useful.


T stands for thanksgiving: A heart of gratitude fuels everything good. Start your day being intentional about developing this in your life. Keep a journal next to your bed and start each day writing down 3 to 5 things you are grateful for. 

A stands for acknowledgement: Similar to the first letter, start being intentional about acknowledging the positives in your life. Then of course, hit the problems, trials and set backs head on. Don’t put your head in the sand. It’s ok to not be ok…but you can’t stay there…how do you get up/get out?

C stands for commit. Commit to getting a plan in place that is specific to you. Commit to making mind, heart and action changes:

Mind: Change your perspective. Start asking yourself different questions. Instead of asking “When is this going to end? Or how am I going to get through this? Ask yourself instead how am I going to be better on the other side? What am I going to learn through this? How am I to grow in this time?  

Heart: Open your heart to learn lessons through the trial. I believe adversity is one of the best teaching tools we can ever experience. 

Actions: Create a plan to improve and develop in this time based on those lessons learned above. Make a financial plan, relational plan, a physical plan…make sure it is specific to your needs and get moving!

The O stands for Others: As you go through this process, you actually start to develop even more empathy for others needs. Empathy is defined as understanding and sharing in the feelings of another. Be intentional about how and who you can reach. Be intentional about helping others.  Everyone has been gifted with skills and talents that are unique to them. It’s up to us to be good stewards of these gifts and talents and use them to serve others. There is no greater fulfillment of purpose and feeling of joy then when you can help another. 

The S stands for Self: You have to be concerned about you! It’s ok to take care of you. You need to make sure your cup is full before you can pour into others. Be intentional about engaging in activities and relationships that help you.

In addition, a nurse from the Pallative Care department of the UVa Hospital speaks starting at the 43 minute mark. I thought his remarks were very moving as he talked about how the staff at the hospital deals with deaths due to COVID-19.

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