Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jordan’

I tore a page from a Town & Country magazine a few weeks back and I’ve been carrying it around with me ever since.

It wasn’t colorful or clever or cute. It was a simple one-page ad, on a mostly white background, for Outward Bound. I can’t help but wonder how many times I’ve overlooked it in previous issues as I hurriedly flipped from one slick photo to the next interesting article, approving and disapproving of people I don’t know and lifestyles I can’t fathom.

But this time the message beckoned to me like a whisper of encouragement. And as I’ve reread it during the past few weeks, the hint of a suggestion has transformed into a shout of declaration:

A Farewell to CAN’T

This goodbye does not make me sad. I will not miss you.

I have discovered what it feels like to do the unthinkable.

The hard. The long. The challenging.

You have no business here anymore.

From now on, difficult will seem doable.

I will see the impossible as simply not-yet-conquered.

Farewell, Can’t. You will haunt me never again.

Hello, Can.

Welcome to my world.

Regardless of what person or circumstance or decision you’re facing, I encourage you to say your own farewell to Can’t, and a warm welcome to Can.

As Michael Jordan said, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

Whatever you are, bid farewell to Can’t,


Stevens Creative Consulting

Read Full Post »

I subscribe to an inspirational quote service from Compendium.com. Each week, while I am going about my life, I am pleasantly surprised to see an email arrive with the subject line “Your Inspired Quote of the Week.” And I have to tell you, these people know how to select some pretty terrific quotes. Last week’s was exceptionally poignant, because it arrived just after I received disappointing employment news:

“The wonderful thing about the game of life is that winning and losing are only temporary . . . unless you quit” [Dr. Fred Mills].

Everyone is going through something. No one is void of troubles or difficulties or challenges. An old saying states, “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” So remember, while you’re dealing with all of your “stuff,” everyone you encounter is also facing their own “stuff.” As Plato said, “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

Some days it feels like you are winning and sometimes it feels like you are losing and other days you fight your best fight simply not to give up any ground. But I have learned that the outcome has far less to do with the circumstances, and much more to do with my attitude. “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do before it, during it, and after it” [Alan Weiss].

Consider this: during his career, baseball legend Hank Aaron struck out 1383 times.

Think about that for a minute — nearly 1400 failures. If we fail once or twice at something, we’re often ready to throw in the towel and write “failure” in our diary. If Aaron had quit the game after the first few disappointments, he would never have enjoyed record-breaking successes, and history would certainly have forgotten his name!

Aaron holds many of baseball’s most distinguished records, including runs batted in (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), total bases (6,856), and most years with 30 or more home runs (15). He is in the top five for career hits and runs. Aaron also had the record for most career home runs (755) until Barry Bonds broke it with his 756th home run on August 7, 2007, in San Francisco.

It’s easy for us to sit in our living rooms and think about Aaron’s phenomenal accomplishments, without taking the time to realize he was just an ordinary man (albeit one with exceptional baseball abilities) who had to deal with “stuff” just like we do. Besides all the strikeouts, breaking Babe Ruth’s record of 714 career home runs, was both a triumph and a trial for Aaron. He was besieged by the media and badgered by racist letter-writers who resented him breaking Ruth’s record.

How did he do it? Aaron said, “my motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” The secret to Aaron’s success? He didn’t stop — he kept swinging! As long as he kept playing, he could influence the outcome and impact the results!

When you look up at the scoreboard for your life, if you don’t like the numbers — keep playing. Keep playing until you win. Whatever happens, regardless what the circumstances look like — do not quit! “An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything, and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men” [Thomas Fuller].

Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Regardless of what your life’s score looks like today, “never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat” [F. Scott Fitzgerald].

Everything will be okay in the end.

If it’s not okay.

It’s not the end.”

The score is only final if you quit. Stay in the game until you win!

Whatever you are, be a good one!


Read Full Post »

During dinner Saturday evening, my friend, Lora, shared a humorous story that had everyone around the table in tears. For her college-age daughter’s recent birthday, Lora’s mother (who is quite the practical joker) brought a piñata. Everyone knows there’s nothing like a brightly-colored paper container, suspended from a tree limb, and filled with goodies to add a little excitement, competition, and anticipation to a party! The activities were proceeding as planned until someone successfully broke open the piñata and the party revelers chased after the “prizes” that spilled forth. As everyone rushed to claim their share of the bounty, they were aghast to discover the piñata had been filled with bite-sized pieces of CELERY (instead of the wrapped candies they had expected). Can you imagine the look of surprise on the faces! What an amusing example of unmet expectations resulting in disappointment.

It matters not if you are a child who fails to receive an expected gift at a party or an adult with unfulfilled dreams, disappointment can be crippling. I have met many people who have experienced profound or repeated disappointment in their lives and are now fearful of moving forward, approaching new opportunities, or even daring to hope for a better future. Collectively, our country is currently experiencing an epidemic of disappointment as jobs disappear, retirement accounts evaporate, and confidence in our leadership weakens – daily we watch as our hopes are dashed on the rocks of failure, defeat, and frustration.

Are you ready for a change? I know I am!

In the book, Classic Wisdom for the Good Life, actor Russell Crowe says “If you want anything to actually change or to move ahead in your life you actually have to do it yourself, you can’t sit there and wait for somebody to talk about what you might want.” It is OUR responsibility to stop allowing the disappointment of past or current circumstances to cloud our judgment, pollute our attitude, or keep us from reaching our goals.

How ridiculous would it have been if Lora’s daughter, after seeing that the piñata was filled with celery, decided the disappointment was too great to bear, the entire party was ruined, and she sent everyone away? How much sillier if she decided she couldn’t risk attending another birthday party because of the fear of a future disappointment (mainly, vegetables showing up unexpectedly)? Think of all the wonderful experiences she would miss by eliminating birthday celebrations. (What experiences or achievement are you missing because of an anticipation of fear?) Instead, after experiencing the disappointment of celery, reasonable minds prevailed. The party continued, everyone had a great time, and Lora’s family now has an entertaining story to share.

No one is immune to disappointment. Basketball legend Michael Jordan (winner of three league MVP Awards) said, “If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” If YOU have run into the wall of disappointment, now is not the time to give up. Instead, it’s time to regroup, make a new plan, and boldly go after what you want.

As Helen Keller said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

Whatever you are, be a good one!


Read Full Post »