Archive for ‘Perseverance’

August 15, 2016

Olympic Motivation

So I’ve been a bit tardy, not having posted for a little while, but don’t worry — this time around, I’ve just been busy. The Olympics in Rio have been front and center, and I’m struck yet again by some of the stories of champions who shed tears on the podium. Those who have talked about it have mentioned that the emotions come welling up when they think of the road that they took to get there, and all the adversity and pain they overcame.

Every four years — actually, now every two, with the Winter Olympics filling the gap — we hear some of the best stories about Olympic competitors who reached their peak after overcoming adversity. It’s an occasional reminder that when you think it’s bad, it might really be, but maybe there’s a way to fight back, conquer it, and still get to where you want to be.

Here are a few inspiring stories covered in a piece on the British website Metro:

Inspiring stories of Olympic competitors in Rio

I saw the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, win his race last night. Who should I watch tonight?

December 15, 2014

Keeping the Faith

I happened to be watching the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street the other night on cable. Lawyer Fred Gailey (played by John Payne), had just told his girlfriend Doris Walker (played by Maureen O’Hara) that he had quit his law firm to defend Kris Kringle. Despite everyone telling him to drop the case, Fred said that if Kris had faith in him, he wouldn’t want to abandon him.

When Doris appeared dismayed at Fred’s decision, his face clouded over as he asked “Don’t you have faith in me?” To which Doris replied, “It’s not a matter of faith, it’s just common sense.”

Naysayers have been with us for generations, in film and in real life. Fred is intent on achieving something no one else thinks can be done. Even those closest to him, like Doris, express negativity, masking it as a comment that’s supposedly “common sense” or as a plea to “listen to reason.”

If you’ve done your homework and have faith in what you’re trying to achieve, feel free to ignore the naysayers in your life, no matter how close they are.

Oh, and Happy Holidays!

May 19, 2014

Getting Fired a Favor?

I’ve been fired a couple of times during my past corporate career, and though I say so myself, it wasn’t because I messed up or didn’t do my job. What I could have done better is to see the change of the political tides earlier, and understand how that would affect me independent of how well I was performing. Back then, I just assumed that doing a great job would be all that counted.

Here’s an article from Fast Company that covers 5 people who felt that when they got fired, it was a blessing. I’d have to agree with their general sentiment, because I found afterward that the circumstances I was in wasn’t matching what I considered to be the right situation. So getting shown the door put me on the path to a better destination each time.

It feels lousy to get fired, but if it happens to you, and as long as you didn’t create the reason to fire you, be sure to listen to the signal for a new direction.

November 4, 2012

Uncertainty Redux

My thoughts go out to everyone affected by what is now called Superstorm Sandy. Observations from my previous post about uncertainty pale in comparison to what many face now, millions still with no electricity, two of my family members included as I write this. And many unable to return to their homes for the time being, or perhaps not ever returning to the home they once had. Not to mention the families who lost loved ones because of the storm.

How they all come through it will be the supreme example of handling uncertainty, that none of us hopes we have to face. If you’re one of the many affected by Sandy, I hope your recovery is as quick as it possibly can be.

October 26, 2012

Uncertainty and “What If”

A couple of weeks ago while my dad was visiting my house I had to call 911. Just before the paramedics arrived, things were looking very scary to me since I didn’t know what was happening. After they walked in, he started to look better, and by the time they left for the ER, he seemed to be much better. But I still didn’t know what caused this scary scenario.

I had all sorts of thoughts running through my mind. What if it’s this? What if it’s that? What do we do if it’s this? Or that? How will this or that change his life? I had to remind myself to stop. There was no point thinking myself into a frenzy, until I knew more from the doctors who would examine him and probably run tests.

It occurred to me later that the uncertainty of this scenario is reflected often in business too. Something’s going to change, but you don’t know what, or how it might affect you. Or maybe it won’t affect you at all. But you fret about it even though you don’t have any new information to fret about. And then most of your energy goes into thinking about what if this and what if that.

It’s difficult, but you have to ignore the vicious circle of thoughts and “what ifs” that will swirl around in your head. You must force yourself to not think about things, until you know more. I don’t mean put your head in the sand and act like it’s not there. I just mean you keep looking, listening, awaiting more information, and putting off your worrying and decisions until you know more.

It’s perfectly human to fall into the “what if” trap, but try to be super-human and avoid it. At least until you get enough information.

Oh, about my dad? He ended up being perfectly fine. All tests came back normal, and he walked out of the ER with me later that evening. They really didn’t have any explanation for what happened, other than it’s just one of those things. My dad enjoyed the rest of his visit with us, and returned home.

January 12, 2012

Off to a Good Start

I hope the holidays and the ringing in of the New Year were good to you. I also hope you are off to a good start, for what you need to do to start the year. To be sure you’re off and running, look at what you need to do, or were planning to do, and do something. Not sure which of the 3 or 4 things you’re considering to start with? Just pick one — any one.

You could always change course if you need to. Just get rolling. More people miss their goals, not because they take the wrong action, but because they take no action.

As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

December 6, 2011

Own Up to Your Mistakes!

No one likes to make mistakes, but as it turns out, you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. Why? They cause more pain, and in general we remember pain a lot longer than we remember pleasure. A mistake also generally causes us to make some kind of change. It should, anyway, because if we don’t change from a mistake, we didn’t learn from it.

According to John Caddell in an article on the99percent.com site (I don’t think this has anything to do with the recent “Occupy” movement), when you make a mistake, one of the most important things to do is to own up to it — take responsibility. Don’t look for others to blame. Look in the mirror and see what you can do to fix it.

Caddell outlines five other things you should do after your mistake: fix it, apologize, reflect/learn, change things, share the knowledge. Remember, if nothing changes after you’ve made a mistake, you didn’t learn anything. If you’re going to make a mistake, you might as well make it worthwhile.

July 11, 2011

Going With The Flow

I just returned from a vacation last week, where I flew through Chicago to get to Milwaukee. Tried to, anyway. My first flight was delayed to the point where I knew we were going to miss our connecting flight. So, just board the next available flight to Milwaukee, right? Well, the next available was 29 hours away, for a 45-minute flight at that.

So I just rented a car at O’Hare, and drove the 85 miles to Milwaukee. Not bad after all, except for a $225 drop charge for a one-way rental. What can you do? It’s like business … when you have to get there, figure out a way to get there.

May 19, 2011

Landing the Dream Job

Interesting story from this morning, on CNN Money, regarding a guy landing his dream job. An Ivy League graduate, he started as a calculus teacher/football coach, turned accountant, turned sports radio talk show host. A move up from a local show to a national show on XM and Sirius Radio required a relocation and odd hours.

But, it was his dream job, so he took action to make it happen. That takes a lot of gumption, too, but he’s apparently a happier man for it! Just goes to show, if you want it enough, and are willing to work hard enough for it, you might, just might, achieve it.

February 10, 2011

What to Learn from the Super Bowl

Enough time has passed since Christina Aguilera flubbed a line in her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at the start of last Sunday’s Super Bowl. Tens of thousands of opinions ranging from snarky to sheer outrage were expressed over the next few days. But Aguilera has moved on, as she should, issuing a short statement about it all.

A columnist/blogger for The Daily Beast, Clark Merrefield, asked himself the next logical question in his blog entry today. He wondered how many of those critics, or Americans in general for that matter, know the anthem and could do better? His purely random sample while standing on the streets of Portland, Oregon, yielded a surprising (or perhaps not so) result.

Of the 73 adults he asked, only 8 of them (less than 11%) could recite the Star Spangled Banner correctly. And that was just performing in front of him, an audience of one, never mind the hundreds of millions of people who were watching Aguilera.

What’s the takeaway? You’re going to make mistakes, though hopefully not in front of a hundred million people or more. But if it happens, just move on. Most of the vocal critics probably couldn’t do any better than you did, and likely would do a lot worse.