Thursday, August 29, 2013

A lesson from Thurl Bailey

A few weeks ago I was able hear Thurl Bailey speak.  Just a thumbnail bio of Thurl Bailey, he is 6’11” tall, and he played basket ball.  He played collage ball for NC State University and was a part of the 1983 champion ship team.  He was a first round draft pick in 1983 for the Utah Jazz. 

 I jumped at the opportunity to go listen to him speak.  Here is someone who literal is a pro, and played at the top of his game.  I found he had a great sense of humor and didn’t take himself too seriously.  He poked fun at himself.

I found it ironic that when he was younger, he had no interest in playing basketball.  He worked on his studies, but one day he sat and watched a basketball game with his dad.  He showed an interest and his dad began to teach him how to play ball.  Over six foot tall in middle school you would think he could make the basketball team without any problems. 

He talked about the tryouts, and the ball hitting his size 11 shoe and it went shooting across the gym.  He didn’t do real well in the tryouts.  He couldn’t sleep the night before the who would make the team was posted on the coach’s door.  When he finally got to school and worked up the nerve to look, his name was not on the list, he didn’t make the team.

So he went home and practiced on his dirt court.

7th grade came and he went to tryouts again.  He dribbled better, and was able to pass, but he was still awkward, he had grown some more, and his feet were bigger than they were in the sixth grade.  He didn’t make the team.

The coach told him to find something else to do, because he couldn’t play basketball, he wasn’t good enough.

When Mr. Bailey told us that I was stunned.  I am looking at man that stands one inch shy of 7 foot tall.  Huge hands, and such a gentle manner.  He was a first round draft pick to the MBA.  And yet he had someone he looked up to tell him to forget basketball?

There are all sorts of people in your life.  We all have dreams and aspirations.  We all are striving to do better.  Life is short, too short to put up with negative people, folks who degrade and put others down.  Who point out petty problems.  Who only see the bad. 

Those people are poison.  The lower your self esteem, they suck the joy out of life.  If you have negative people in your life, find a way around them, do not let them take the joy from you.  Change things to get them out of your life, or lessen their importance and impact on you.

Fortunately for Thurl Bailey his 8th grade year the middle school had a new coach.  He tried out. However this time he wasn’t expecting to see his name on the team roaster.  So he was thrilled to see his name at the top of the list!  Then in an aside he mentioned he didn’t realize the list was in alphabetical order.

He started every game that year.  You see, he still didn’t play very well, and he was still very awkward.  He was over six foot five.  But the coach played to his strength.  He started, he won the jump ball every time.  Then the coach did a sub and he sat on the bench the rest of the game.  However, that was all it took, he was needed, he loved the game.  He went on to become an elite player and played for one of the best teams at the time in the MBA.

He dreamed that he was Dr. J.  So his first MBA game, Dr. J was there, and welcomed him into the MBA.  It was Thurl’s job to guard Dr. J.  He told us that he held him to 47 points that game.  He wasn’t going to let him get 50!

He talked about other things, but the point that came to my mind was he didn’t give up on his dream.  He spent many hours on his dirt court practicing and doing all that he could so he could be good enough to play.  A coach saw his drive, and that he was a natural, if he would take the time to work with him. 

So take your good talents, your strengths, the things that you love and keep going.  Get the Nay Sayers out of your life.  If you have to deal with them, find a way to keep them from deflating you, keep them from beating you down.

I am here, cheering for you.  What is it you love?  What are you doing to be successful, what stories inspire you?  I’d like to hear about them.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When Your Best Isn't Good Enough

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I try to do my very best when I do things.  There is just a great feeling when you spend the day outside in the yard, cutting the grass, pulling weeds, edging the driveway and walks, trimming back the bushes.  I love to step back and look at the yard after a day like that.  Just a great feeling.

I also strive to do a great job with most everything I do, including my job.  The Job is important.  It takes care of my family, and my future.  So I give it my best.

Typically your best is acceptable, and appreciated.  However, what happens when you are giving your best, doing your best, your honest best, and it still isn’t good enough?

I have worked for a company for the last four and a half years, almost five years.  I am on time, and giving my best.  However, my supervisors would nit pick everything.  They would always, and this is no exaggeration, every time I had an interaction with my supervisors, there was something I wasn’t doing right.
One day I was really frustrated with my situation. I asked myself this question, “What do you do when your best isn’t good enough?”

I couldn’t answer the question.  I am not a quitter.  I reached inside myself for more.  I tried to find ways to cover the growing demands.  Yet at the end I would find myself wondering what to do, my best just wasn’t good enough.

I’d go back and look for inspirational stories about people who overcame obsticals, who were able to succeed at achieving their dreams.  I heard about folks who just didn’t give up, or wouldn’t give in, or refused to back down.

I’d go in and work at my job some more, putting in more hours, working to motivate my people, try and do everything my supervisors were telling me to do, and again, my best wasn’t good enough.
I was stressing out.  I realized I wasn’t the boss.  My customers had complaints, my crew was never happy with their schedules and work hours, my managers tried, but ultimately I had to meet the deadlines, and the buck stopped with me.  My supervisors kept adding things to my long list of responsibilities.  Everyone else was my boss, and I was not in control of my life, or my situation.  It didn’t matter how I tried to be more positive, more energetic, it wasn’t enough. 

I was stressed.  I was frustrated. I was unhappy.  Life was not good.  I was miserable.  I felt overwhelmed and trapped.  I stopped trying to do the things I liked in an effort to make things better with a situation at work.  I reached a crisis in my life.  All I was doing was working, trying to improve the job situation.  As my readers know, I stopped blogging, I stopped writing, I stopped doing everything I enjoyed doing.  My family life suffered, my marriage suffered, my kids had a very grumpy dad, and they didn’t want to do things with me.  I was spiraling downward.

I stopped and asked myself again, “What do you do when your best just isn’t good enough?”

Find some place else that will appreciate your best.  If my best isn’t good enough, then it is time to move on.
I’ve been blogging about time management, about motivational ideas, about improving your life and your outlook.  Many of these posts have been for me.

So I spent a long time looking for something else, and with the poor economy it has been a struggle.  But I kept at it.  It paid off.  I found a new job.  I gave my two-week notice, and continued to do my best during those two weeks, even if it was lost on my supervision, my own code of ethics wouldn’t let me do any less.
The payoff came on the 31st of July.  I was in bed by 10 PM, not up until 3 am doing inventory at the old job.  I was able to get out of bed at 6:30 in the morning of the 1st of August, and go to my new job rested, and ready to work.

My new boss is more of a partner and we are working together, he listens to my ideas, some are implemented, my advice is sought and used.  Things are much better now.  Not perfect, still have long hours and such, but a huge improvement.  I am smiling a lot more now, and my energy levels are coming back up to where they used to be.

My family and friends have noticed the difference.  People have commented on how much better I look.  I feel great.  My energy levels are bouncing back.  I even feel good enough to return to the blogging sphere and begin again.  Over time I should be able to juggle things in life again.  I am still careful, but the clouds have lifted and the sun is shining in my life again.

So when your best isn’t good enough, go somewhere else.  Sometimes staying the fight isn’t the best idea.  I am not saying be a quitter, but if you are honestly doing the very best you can and it isn’t working take a step back and reconsider your options.  My new spot is better than the last. 

Since I’ve a new job now I’m not very sure how things are going to shake out as far as my schedule will go.  I do plan on writing on this blog once again, but there may be a few weeks before I get this back on track. 
Thanks everyone for your patience with me, and for all of your support.  It has been a great help.

Thank you.