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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Life's Curveballs

My brother recently told me about how he became a catcher in the little league many years ago. It all started when his coach needed someone to catch batting practice for him. The coach asked several players to catch for him, but none were willing. He noticed my brother sitting by himself on the bench and the coach asked him if he’d like to try. The coach threw my brother a curveball and my brother caught it. He had no idea what the big deal was as the coach exclaimed, “No one catches my curveballs! I just threw him my curveball and he caught it!”

As he became an adult, this moment in his life led him to some interesting realizations. Life throws us curve balls ALL the time. We can either let them fly by and miss the lesson or we can choose to recognize what’s coming our way, catch it, and achieve that which no one seemed ever to have thought we could!

Hearing his revelation reminded me of Olympian Noelle Pikus-Pace, an American skeleton racer. She was favored to win the gold medal in the Torino Olympics in 2006 when a tragic accident, at team trials in Calgary shattered that dream when she was hit by a runaway bobsled. Noelle suffered a compound fracture to her right leg and was told by the doctors that her Olympic career was over.

Noelle had other plans. She feverishly began rehab and returned to competition two months later. Noelle went on to win World Championships, by the largest margin in history, while breaking the track record in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and again becoming the first American woman to obtain the title of World Champion in the sport of skeleton.

During the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Noelle missed the podium by a tenth of a second, but didn’t let that ruin the moment. Her response, “This has been the best race of my life, I gave it all I had.”

Both Noelle and my brother realized that it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world does. It matters what you do. It matters how you react to life’s curveballs. How will you to choose to respond to the curveballs that come your way? When faced with challenges, both personal and in your business, will you remain seated or will you stand up?

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