Posts Tagged ‘overcoming adversity’

My Worst Day at Work

September 16, 2009

boss-yelling-at-employeeAs the right-hand man for a hot-tempered entrepreneur, I had thoroughly prepared for a crucial weekend meeting at his Minneapolis home. As soon as the meeting convened, he asked me to give copies of specific documents to the other two people there—the writer of the investment newsletter we produced and the copywriter of our promotional material who had flown into town expressly for this important strategy session.

I I had indeed brought those documents, but hadn’t thought it necessary to make copies for everyone else. Big mistake. Much screaming and swearing ensued. My two colleagues remained stone-faced and silent. I was ordered to return to our  office to make copies and gather even more documentation.

That was one long fifteen-mile car ride—I felt humiliated and furious. Hoping to avoid another tirade, I lifted all the Pendaflex files out of my desk drawer and put them in the trunk so I’d have access to every last shred of information. The rest of the meeting went off without a hitch—except for him yelling at his wife because she hadn’t prepared dinner just the way he liked it.

I was only twenty-six, with a young family to support. I took his abuse because I was afraid of losing a good paycheck. Still, within a year, I found the courage to quit and landed a much better, much calmer job. Looking back, I don’t regret working there at all. It (more…)

NFLer Earnest Byner’s Triumph Over Public Humiliation

September 3, 2009

Earnest Byner was introduced as the Tennessee Titans' new running backs coach on March 10, 2008

Football player Earnest Byner will forever be linked with The Fumble. What is The Fumble? Any rabid NFL fan will tell you that it was the turning point of the AFC Championship game between the Cleveland Browns and the Denver Broncos on January 17, 1988 at Denver’s Mile High Stadium.

With 1:12 left in the game, running back Byner appeared to be on his way to scoring the game-tying touchdown, but was stripped of the ball by Broncos defensive back Jeremiah Castille, and fumbled at the 3-yard line. Denver recovered the fumble and Cleveland ended up losing 38-33, another heartbreaking defeat for a city renowned for them.

Byner went on to have an outstanding NFL career that included a Super Bowl championship with the Washington Redskins. At the time of his retirement in 1997, Byner ranked within the NFL’s top 30 all-time leaders in rushing attempts, rushing touchdowns, rushing yards and total yards.

Why am I writing about football? Because of the way Byner handled his notoriety. He was devastated at first but eventually came to see the value of such a public, humiliating failure. On the August 27, 2009 edition of the nationally syndicated Jim Rome Show, Byner said:

It was really a spiritual thing that I had to go through to kind of forgive myself for not being successful in that particular instance in my life. The reality is, it stuck with me probably about three, four years. And the thing that was most difficult, (more…)

Turn Your Losses Into Opportunities

April 2, 2009

Hee Ah Lee, concert pianist

Sybil Archibald saw the video of four-fingered pianist Heeah Lee on this blog yesterday and immediately posted it on her own blog with the following comments:

Over the past 6 months or so my hands have almost completely contracted into fists. I have limited movement in my two index fingers and a bit more in my thumbs and that’s it. I get along just fine, but from time to time I feel the loss of my ability to play the piano. Today I was a concert and I felt the twinge, just a seductive hint of self-pity. When I came home this video was in my email via Triumph of the Spirit.

I mean, do you think God is trying to tell me something? The joy and life in this woman is astounding for anyone, not just a person with disabilities. She embraces what she has, her gift, with gusto and joy. I loved playing the piano, truly, but I never had a gift for it. I am no musician, more like an amateur crafter filling a Saturday afternoon. I believe this video was sent to me to show me how to let go of suffering over my hands and embrace my gift. Each of us has a gift, perhaps not the one we would choose or perhaps we dislike the way it is given. But, wow, look what is possible if we embrace it.

Wise words, Sybil. The moment we recognize the gifts inherent in our suffering, the (more…)