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Beating the Odds

The Story Every Competitor Should Hear

“The minute you start making excuses, you have one foot in the grave.” ~ Mark Messier

Any time you or one of your players are tempted to make excuses, just think of Toni Clark.

A native of Newark, N.J., Clark just graduated from Essex Community College despite being homeless for all her years at the school.

Clark’s story is chronicled in the Star-Ledger of New Jersey. She kept her belongings in a shopping cart and in luggage. When the school, which did not know of her homelessness, objected to all the luggage, she downsized to one bag.

She says that after four years of sleeping in the training station, the airport, or anywhere she could find some rest, she compiled a 2.77 grade point average.

For Toni Clark, life is a no-excuse proposition. And it should be for your players and your team, also. If Toni Clark can graduate college without a home, players can get to the gym on time, and be dressed, and do what they are supposed to. But not all of them will, and some of them will offer excuses.

This raises an interesting point. Clark has proven that it CAN be done. But not everyone will. Why? Because the motivation is not there. And that in itself is a mystery.

Noel Tichy, a University of Michigan business school professor who has worked with managers for 30 years, told Fortune Magazine, “Some people are much more motivated than others, and that’s the existential question I cannot answer – why.”

Imagine what you could do if you were as motivated as Toni Clark!


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