By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you smile in the face of immediate adversity. Reading time 2:55.
You got off on the wrong foot. You stumbled out of the block. Now you’re sure your project is doomed.
Well cheer up! The most effective leaders battle back from tough starts. They stub their toe and get back up and go. Consider that:
PABLO PICASSO was born dead. His uncle –a physician- tried an innovative approach (breathing cigar smoke into the baby’s nostrils to shock the newborn’s lungs) and revived him. Picasso, the 20th century’s most innovative artist, turned a tough start into spectacular show over his lifetime.
So did the following six sports legends.
JACK NICKLAUS, the greatest professional golfer of all time, took his first swing as a professional golfer and drowned his golf ball. He hit his drive into the water. From that pro exhibition match in Miami, Nicklaus went on to win a record 18 major tournaments including six Masters Championships, five PGA Championships, four US Opens and three British Opens. That’s two more than the combined total of Arnold Palmer (7) and Gary Player (9) and three times as many as Lee Trevino (6). Tiger Woods (14) needs five more major victories to unseat Nicklaus.
LOU GEHRIG struck out in his first at bat in the major leagues—on three straight pitches. Yet Gehrig went on to set 45 major league baseball records, including a then-record 2,130 starts over a 14-year span.
GORDIE HOWE, earned his Mr. Hockey moniker as the only player to compete in five different decades in the National Hockey League. But even before scoring his first goal of his career, the eventual four-time Stanley Cup Champion, suffered four lost teeth in his first line shift on ice. He was high-sticked during the 1946 season opener.
MICHAEL JORDAN, pro basketball’s all time greatest player, did not make his high school basketball team his sophomore year.
Willie Mayes, the Hall of Fame baseball slugger, batted 0-for-5 in his first game in major league baseball. In fact he managed only one hit in his first 25 trips to the plate.
JOHN WOODEN coached his first basketball team to a losing 6-11 in the high school ranks before going on to win 12 NCAA college basketball national championships including a record seven consecutive championships at UCLA, the University of California at Los Angeles.
And OSCAR ROBERTSON, the Hall of Fame basketball pro, missed his first shot as a college player–an easy layup— playing for the first time in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. That night he scored a Garden record 56 points in pacing his University of Cincinnati team to a victory over Seton Hall (scoring more points himself that the entire rival team). Robertson went on to a stellar career in pro basketball. The Big O was voted one of the Greatest 50 Players in NBA history and a 12-time NBA All Star.
So the leadership lesson is clear. Stubbing your toe is part and parcel of the leadership walk. But staying down is for losers. Not leaders. Get up ‘n Go.
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