Welcome to the end of March and the approaching Easter weekend! And thank you to all who took the time to respond and reply with some great feedback on last month’s newsletter. Glad you enjoyed it! This month, let’s build on the fundamentals outlined in February’s newsletter on lessons from Olympians.
I have always found it motivational, inspirational and educational to hear the stories of others, some famous and some not so famous. So many times we think there is some “magic” to their success, but most times what we discover is what we actually have in common with them.
The number one thing that repeatedly comes up is the ability to overcome obstacles. Through whatever factors come into play for each of us, determination, resilience, toughness, focus on the end goal, the ability to adapt and the drive to never give up are attributes MANY people famous AND not so famous exhibit. I’m sure we all have examples of people who fit into this. So can you!
Here are a few names of the more well known you may be aware of that exemplify this.
Bill Gates – Yes, Bill Gates, perhaps the richest person in the whole world, experienced failure right out of the gate. His very first company, Traf-O-Data (a device which could read traffic tapes and process the data), was a complete failure. So the story goes, when Gates and his partner, Paul Allen, went out to try and sell it, the product wouldn’t even work. Did they let that stop them?? NO. Gates and Allen did not let that deter them from continuing to try, again and again. Gates partner, Paul Allen, has often said: “Even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later.” In other words, through determination and overcoming obstacles, this failure helped them to become hugely successful!
Jim Carrey – While certainly not everyone’s “cup of tea”, there is no denying that Jim Carrey has become one of the more recognizable names in comedy and comedic acting. And he is hugely successful as a result of overcoming his own obstacles. When Carrey was 15 his family was so poor, he had to drop out of high school to help support them. To quote Carrey, “We went from middle class to poor”, eventually living, as a family, in a van. He did not let this stop him from achieving his dream of becoming a comedian.
Bethany Hamilton – WHO is Bethany Hamilton you might be asking yourself?? Once I begin to describe her you’ll most likely remember immediately. Bethany Hamilton had her arm bitten off by a shark, at age 13, on the North shore of Kauai. Not just a little shark, it was a 14-15 foot tiger shark and it could have taken her life. I was just in those very waters, at that very spot, in September 2015. 20 feet of water, big waves and let me tell you I definitely was on the lookout as the local guide told the story of that day! So how did she respond?? After losing her left arm at age 13, doing something she had been doing since she was a small child, she was back on her surfboard one month later. Two years after that she took first place at the Explorer NSSA National Championships. Wow! Talk about showing the ultimate in determination and overcoming obstacles!
Steven Spielberg – Yes, we have all heard of him. He has become one of the most well known and prolific film makers of our time. The maker of “Jaws”, “Jurassic Park”, “E.T.” and “Schindler’s List”, along with many other films and TV projects, could not get into USC film school. This was his big dream and yet it was denied. Hmmmm, seems to have all worked out rather well for Mr. Spielberg. And ironically, he received an honorary degree from USC in 1994. Two years after that, in 1996, he became a trustee of the university. Quite a turnaround wouldn’t you say! He kept plugging, did not give up and overcame what at the time seemed like a crushing obstacle to his dream of making films.
Look, the bottom line is we all have it in us to persevere, overcome obstacles and keep moving forward towards whatever goals we might have personally and professionally. We sometimes just have to be reminded of how much we are truly capable of handling and achieving. If this newsletter helped in some small way to in that quest, great!
Thanks so much for reading. I hope everyone has a wonderful, peaceful and fun Easter Weekend. Take care and talk to you next month.