Category Archives: Facing Adversity

Just… Wouldn’t… Quit

The Minnesota Twins were 7 games behind Detroit on September 1st.  They lost one of their best players to injury for the year shortly thereafter. The local sports pundits chortled and said “See ya next year in spring training”.  Yet, with their back to the wall, they refused to lose. Through the month of September, they worked, hustled and just kept coming back.

Going into the final weekend of the season. they were 3 games down with 4 games to play, no team had ever overcome those odds before; winning was improbable at best, it was said. Good effort they were told, way to fight guys, now go close the Metrodome and “wait ’til next year boys”

This glorious morning the Minnesota Twins are Champions of the Central Division of the American League.

Tied with Tigers after a 162 game season, they played in an epic 12 inning game that featured comeback after comeback, a game that will be remembered for years to come, winning dramatically with hits from two of their youngest players under enormous pressure. Truly a classic performance from a team of over-achievers. It doesn’t matter how they fare against the big, bad Yankees in the coming playoffs, these guys are winners now. 

For the rest of their lives, they will look back at this past month, these past few days, last night’s game and remember that this was one of their finest hours, their defining moments, because they just… wouldn’t… quit.

So, if someone says to you “it can’t be done” or someone tells you “to stay down, you are beaten”, remember the Minnesota Twins of 2009 and know it isn’t so.

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Filed under Facing Adversity, Leadership

A Light in the Darkness

She had been driving for what seemed like the entire day. The weariness that comes from being “busy” but not really accomplishing anything had settled on her like someone had thrown a leaden shawl around her shoulders. No matter how she turned her head or arranged herself in the car seat, the ache in her neck and between her shoulder blades would just not go away.

Even though she had made the meetings on time and had said all of the right things, she didn’t feel much satisfaction. All of her training, all of the preparation had not helped her deal with the negative attitudes she had encountered that day. Some days she wondered exactly why she put up with this crap. The traveling, the bad diet, the ever escalating expectations of her boss. Her feelings toward this job had changed from an initial impression of opportunity to a dread-filled vision of one huge dead end sign.

Her thoughts were now fixated on dinner, followed by a date with a deep tub filled with hot water and lots and lots of bubbles.

She let her mind wander, drifting along with the Sinatra tune playing on the radio. Suddenly, she felt a huge thump and immediately her car began to leap and buck, the wheel pulling suddenly into the oncoming traffic lane. It took about 3 seconds for her to regain control of the car and for her to realize what had happened – a flat tire on the front left of her car. What next!

Once control of the car was affirmed in her mind, she eased the car over onto the shoulder of the road. What to do now? Her mind raced back to what she had learned in drivers training, so far back in the past. She could hear her father’s voice in her head – “Make sure you pull far enough off the road, so you don’t get hit by some knucklehead not paying attention”.

After she had pulled over, far over off the road, she made the call on her cell phone. The AAA guy was sympathetic, but it would take him over two hours to get out to her. Perfect! Here she was, on the side of the road, in the dark with sore feet, sore neck and now a sore disposition.

It was then she remembered the road side emergency kit she had gotten as a “Thank You” gift from her insurance agent. She went to the trunk and looked inside of the nicely logoed plastic case. There, she found a flashlight (one of those nice ones that stands up on own), jumper cables, first aid supplies and emergency road markers (to warn oncoming drivers). Also, there in the kit were instructions on how to change a tire safely!

Suddenly feeling empowered, Sally made a quick decision – she wasn’t waiting for any stinking tow truck! She dutifully put the lighted emergency road hazard markers out, read the tire change instructions and went to work.  Using the flashlight to illuminate the work area, she had the blown tire off and the temporary spare on within 10 minutes. Within 15 minutes of the original blown tire, she was back on the road and on her way home.

Thanks to the thoughtfulness of her insurance agent, what could have been a major hassle turned into the best thing that could have happened to her.

“He is a really great guy”, she thought, “how can she ever thank him?”  “I know” her thoughts continued “I’ll give him my insurance business for the rest of my life”:)

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Here’s to Failure

This post is actually an article I wrote for Promotional Products Business in October 2007.

“Do or do not… there is no try.”

– Master Yoda (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)

I have heard many speakers and trainers over the years. Many of them will echo the sentiments of Master Yoda; you either accomplish something or you do not. A very simple concept and easily measured. It is a fairly simple matter to look at a task and tell whether it has been accomplished or not. However, in the accomplishment, little is known about what lead up to the achievement. In other words, how many times did someone have to “try” something until they got it right?

That has always been one of the reasons such stark statements such as Master Yoda’s have made me uncomfortable. How many people, having listened to such “motivational speakers”, were scared away from even attempting something great because the risk of failure was too great? How many Million Dollar Ideas have been left unfulfilled because the dreamer was afraid of being stuck on “try”?

Is there some great accomplishment or goal left undone in your life?  Do you have a buried, burning desire left unrequited in your psyche?  Well then, my friend read on and hopefully you’ll find the inspiration to add that goal back to your to-do list and give it the “old college try”.

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge (30th US President)

You have, no doubt, heard the tales of Thomas Alva Edison developing the first practical incandescent light bulb. What you don’t hear about are the many inventors who came before him, the ones who “failed” in developing the proper technology, but blazed a path for Edison to follow. Edison was the technocrat who perfected it and unfortunately, got all the credit. But, I ask, where would Edison have started? Would he have had the imagination to even start? I say, let’s hear it for the dreamers who “tried” before him.

What I want to see is more failure. I want to encourage those intrepid spirits out there who have an idea, a dream, a goal; it is time for you to shake the doldrums and go for what you seek. Those of you who feel you can do something more; I say, you won’t know until you start. To those of you who have an unspoken truth in your life; speak truth to power. I want those of you who have the next incandescent bulb in your brain to put your ideas into action. You will never know until you try.

You may have heard the statistics of Babe Ruth, the best (my opinion) baseball player in the history of the game. For many years, he was the record holder for the most homeruns. Babe Ruth hit 714 homeruns in his career. He also struck out 1330 times. So, one can say that he failed almost twice as many times as he succeeded. However, what is not as often cited is the fact that he had a career batting average of .342. This means he failed 63.8% of the time he “tried”. Yet he is one of the most famous figures of the 20th Century because he “tried” mightily and was not afraid to fail.

So, here’s to failure, trying, struggle; long may it reign. Put it to work in your life. Persist and see what it does for your life, your income and your legacy.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. … his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt (26th US President)

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