12. March 2012 07:40
While watching football with my husband a story came on during halftime about a college football player. I can’t remember his name, but he was a Boston College hero. A few years ago, he was a shining star. He was the one who, many said, was going to not only play professionally but also be drafted in the first round. All of a sudden, in his third year of playing, he had some pain in his legs. His family took him to the doctor. Well, he had cancer. He had bone cancer, and it had hit one of his legs. They were devastated.
After a short gasp, he asked the doctor “What we can do?” The doctor explained that they were going to put a metal rod in his leg and, after all of that, a long bout with rehab. He asked “When will I be able to go back to football?”
The doctor said “You will probably never play football again."
“No, no, you don’t understand," the player said, "I’m playing football. That’s my life. It’s just a matter of when I can get back to doing it, not if.”
What I really liked about this story is life is all about choice.
I recently did some shopping with my daughter. At lunch, we were talking about her brother. If you follow my column, you know that, about a year ago, a shark bit our son, and basically the same thing happened. After five hours of surgery and 400 stitches, he asked the doctor “When I will be able to get back to baseball?"
The doctor said “Don’t worry about baseball; just make sure your foot is OK.”
My son said “No, no. I will be playing baseball. When will I be able to get back?”After six months of rehab and after dropping a 10-pound weight on his finger and six weeks of healing from that, almost exactly one year to the day after his shark bite, he was signed by the Kansas City Royals’ minor league baseball team.
At lunch, our daughter said to me “Someday, if Clayton makes it to the big leagues--”
I stopped her, “Jessie, it has nothing to do with if, it has to do with when. If Clayton chooses to go to the big leagues, and he does what he does now, which is work harder than everybody else, longer than everybody else, and puts more in than everybody else, he will be in the big leagues.”
After looking at me with her eyes squinted like she was pondering that comment deeply, she said “But what about the other great players, and what if they don’t choose him?” I shook my head and said with 100 percent confidence that if he decides to be in the big leagues, he’ll do it. Choosing your path, the things that you do in your life, are a choice. They’re your choice. For some reason, we all forget that and let others decide.
Clayton may have to fight harder, look for a different path than the one he was originally on, but it is a choice that he will make: To have his life the way he wants it. If Clayton decides that he wants to continue on this path and he wants to play on TV in the major leagues, he’s going to. Nothing will get in his way. If somebody is chosen ahead of him, he will just work harder and go out there to be chosen next. If it takes him longer than he thought, then he will just work harder until he gets there. If a coach, a player, anybody gets in his way, he’ll just work around them.
When you make a choice to do something in your life, you do it. You may not know the time frame and you may not know the exact circumstances, but either way, you follow your choice. I said “Jessie, Clayton will be in the major leagues because he’s decided and made a decision that’s what he wants.”
She looked at me and said “You know, I think that makes sense.”
What’s important for all of us to remember is that we have to decide what our fate is. Our fate has very little, if anything, to do with people and circumstances around us, who we work for, the economic situation or anything else. Those are obstacles that get in our way, and our job is to work over, under, around or through them. They only get in our way if we let them. If something is in your way, remember it’s just a hurdle and you have to jump over it. The question is: How high are you willing to jump?
Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of "To Sell is Not to Sell" and a columnist for business journals around the country. Greta does corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies and she has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs.
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