Underdogs Rise Up: How Viola Davis and Frances Tiafoe Turned Their Backstory to Breakout Glory

The wall-to-wall coverage across broadcast and cable is over! The world was watching the pomp and circumstance around Queen Elizabeth’s homegoing events. With every angle covered in location and legacy, some folks aren’t sure if the whole Monarchy thing will survive without having to scale back.

While her son Charles has assumed the throne as King, there’s still a coronation ceremony in the works in the coming months. Imagine how some Brits feel about him taking over? Even a few Commonwealth countries are thinking about their next steps. That story is still unfolding and extends for 1000 or so years.

How ‘bout the other unofficial ‘Kings’ that fans these days are giving props to? There’s Viola Davis in her new movie role as ‘The Woman King.’ And there’s Frances Tiafoe who some think could be the next king of tennis (so to speak). Think of them not simply as ’rags to riches’ but more like ‘underdogs rise up’.

Next ‘King of Tennis’

Davis spreads her wings from TV screen to big screen as both star and producer. She plays a warrior in an all-female African army from the 1800’s. Tiafoe is the first Black American to advance to the U.S. Open semis since 1972 and Arthur Ashe. He’s stepped-up his game from junior tennis to being ranked top-25.

Their journeys played out differently but with a similar thrust. For Davis, it was looking around and being on the socio economic low-end. She still found a way out and way up to her breakthrough. For Tiafoe, he grew-up seeing wealth, it just wasn’t his own. They’ve turned their backstory to breakout glory with a:

  • Dream:- At 12, he got bit by the tennis bug from hanging around the Sports Center where his dad worked as a custodian. Dreams can happen by association, aha moment or even trial & error.    
  • Goal:- To build-on his desire and skills, a coach took him under his wings. Then one tournament after another he started to achieve his goal of eventually winning big on the youth circuit.   
  • Lane:- Davis decided to pursue this movie project as she considered new acting roles. Sometimes in careers it means re-inventing yourself in a new lane or a new line of success.    
  • Brand:- She’s expanded her cred not just as actress but as producer and can begin to carve her niche as a brand. Your brand is how you want others to see you, based on how you do you.      
Viola Davis

Davis shares how persistence and perseverance was needed to make the movie. Sometimes when a thing has never been done before, it can be a tough sell. But along the way it took moments of faith to the guide the hands of fate. That also came from personal experience in how she met her husband.

Tiafoe might not say he’s on the fast-track to #1. But he’s certainly seen as the latest American male tennis player who’s got next, once the big names like Federer, Nadal and others move on. They’re inspiring young and older to live out their dreams, even when times are hard or a job isn’t as it seems.

Talkback: Kobe gave us the mamba mentality. What’s the motivation mindset that works for you?

Tip: Underdogs rise up by turning dreams into brands and backstory into breakout glory.

Tracks: Alicia Keys – Underdogs – https://youtu.be/izyZLKIWGiA

Jennifer Hudson – Hallelujah – https://youtu.be/LgMCm5NWtII

Dream Out Loud: Here’s to Rolling Out the Red Carpet Under the Bright Lights of Success

Doc Cunningham

Who thinks the NBA playoffs ‘bout to get poppin’? The post-season slate of games started off with the play-in tournament. Teams on the bubble got to earn the last few slots before the first round series matchups. This year the Lakers are out of the running and the Bucks seem like favorites to repeat.

Fans got watchful eyes on some teams while franchise execs looking at whether their squad’s got the right stuff. In-between quarters, we get to see LeBron talking with his younger self in a TV ad. It’s like a back-in-the-day preview of things to come, a kinda before and after. And as they say the rest is history.

Maybe Lebron’s hoping we’ll see another ad someday of him talking with his son about making it in the league. He stirred lots of buzz recently about wanting to one day play with his son before retiring. It’s as if he was trying to dream out loud, wishing that the ‘hoop gods’ were listening. Well, the media crew were.

Press Conference

As a kid, he had coaches who saw his potential. That got shaped over the years to the point where he went from high school straight to primetime. That’s not easy to do. Just think, only two percent of college athletes make it to the pros. It’s a much smaller number that jump directly from high school.

Folks who dream out loud do more than just say stuff and hope it happens like magic. Bron might tell his son you gotta believe it before you see it. Spend time building-up in the weight room and taking shots in the gym. But listen closely, there’s other heads-up points you’ll hear in convo or on sports shows about:

  • Planning:- The off season brings downtime as things happen behind the scenes. Soon he’ll be back at it during training camp. But he’s prob also thinking thru next-level moves in career & biz.    
  • Passion:- In that post-game interview he said he’d like to play a few more seasons. As long as he’s in good shape and still got love for the game, he feels his passion will stay strong.
  • Pizzazz:- Fans get excited for his high-flying dunks in a game. They like the no-look passes on a score assist. His eye for the game and his heart for winning is often the spark for a turnaround.   
  • Patience:- It took a while before he won his first NBA championship. Year-in year-out he kept working at it until things clicked. Sometimes success feels slow, but patience gets you to the win.      

Bron knows there’s more to it than just swag, right? You gotta have discipline to have game. You gotta see things thru from first shot before you’re named the MVP. There’s even the idea that you gotta do that thing thousands of times before it’s a breeze in doing it almost like second nature and with ease.

Big Stage

Being under the bright lights of success is a great place to be seen. Sometimes it takes a setback for that push to go from stop to star, from seeing red to seeing green in dollars and a dream. Lebron says retirement’s gotta wait if he can still produce at a high level and if in his spirit, he still got the fire to amaze.

Talkback: Lebron/Wade vs Durant/Irving, best tag-team combo? Plus, what’s Lebron doing these days in the off-season, spinning his wheels or cutting new deals?

Tip: Those who dream-out-loud set things in motion to go from first step to bright lights and red carpet.

A WordPress Community & Lifestyle Feature in #WordPrompt

Signing-off From the Office: What the “Great Resignation” Did to Create a New Vision for Work, Career and Lifestyle

Doc Cunningham

In sports news, Tom Brady is on his way back! Retirement didn’t last long. Rumors kept swirling he’d maybe head to the 49ers since they’ve been his childhood dream team. But not this time, he’s staying put in a different ‘Bay’ area. Some weren’t surprised while others were annoyed that he just won’t step aside.

The numbers are major in his pro career. He’s been on more Superbowl winning teams than any other player in history. He has so many championship rings he could almost wear them on each finger. It seems Brady isn’t quite ready to sign-off, hang-up his cleats or “take the bridge” to an off-the-field role.

Tom Brady Rings

There’re some other stunning numbers though around news of the Great Resignation. That’s the large wave of folks who’ve been stepping out, moving up and shifting gears in their careers. The pandemic caused many to reassess what’s important in work, career and lifestyle.

What’s driving the job change numbers into the millions? Well, it’s a dream come true to be doing what they love. It’s a way of getting lost in the work and having fun. Plus, it’s about enjoying more time at the parks and 9-to-5 benefits in the perks which bring big energy, money and happiness.

Some opted to start a biz, grow a side-hustle or pause to redirect their passion. Some might have made the move from job to career, while others took the career to vocation route where “purpose in living” is priceless. A big takeaway from all this is in a new vision for work based on great résumés that:   

  • Crossover:- Some skills are tied to a job and some have crossover appeal. Life’s transferrable skills can move from job to job as easily as traveling over a bridge from end to end.
  • Connect:- Does your favorite song keep playing in your head? Is it the verse, chorus or vibe that connects with your core? Social & professional networks forge connections around a skillset core.
  • Callout Dreams:- Early education gives baseline knowledge. Then we go deeper within a subject area. The pandemic pushed folks deeper to callout goals, dreams and bucket-lists.  
  • Collaborate:- Adding two numbers gives us a sum. Multiplying two numbers gives us a product. A collab across two numbers creates greater visibility and a sum of products in the marketplace.    
Baseball Breaking News

Of-course there was more sports news with word the baseball season isn’t lost. Sports fans were full of joy knowing that the seventh-inning stretch will be in full effect. The athletes’ careers have a season’s window of games. Over time they get to showcase clutch performances, or even change teams.

Other careers have a season’s window too, maybe with promotion or crossroads decision. Those not ready to retire, whether “comeback jocks” like Brady or “bounce-back execs” like Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, are proof of times pushing us towards ‘joy & mojo’ at work or ‘gin & juice’ at Happy Hour.

Talkback: Alexa, did Tom Brady retire? Siri, is Howard Schultz back at Starbucks? Hey Google (or Cortana), is Colin Kaepernick still in shape?

Tip: On the road of career travels, pit-stops come and go but a dream is like fuel for the ride.

A WordPress Community & Lifestyle Feature in #WordPrompt

Megan Thee Stallion and Bryce Young Getting Raves on the Big Stage for Their Game That’s Like in Another League

As folks wind-down another year, others getting ready to turn-it-up “like they don’t care”. The holiday season is a good time to look back on the year-in-review. Plus, some will party-on in “jingle bells” style. That might be the case for Megan Thee Stallion and Bryce Young who’ve become even hotter this year.

Megan made it known that while she’s gone from ‘hot girl summer’ to pushing her ‘hottie sauce’, she’s more than just a one-hit wonder. Now that she’s a college grad, she’s ready to top the music charts and market share. True, with her degree in the Healthcare field she hopes to open an assisted-living facility.

For Young, he’s upped his cred leaps and bounds in winning the Heisman trophy as a college sophomore. This gave Alabama’s football program consecutive wins. Maybe if he puts up big numbers again, he’d be right back here next year. It’s happened once before of a back-to-back winner as a player.

Considering that each year Time Magazine names its Person of the Year, they’re on track in a similar way. While they didn’t make that list, they’ve been getting that kinda press. Winning the Heisman makes Young like Player of the Year in college. She’d be happy to run with the title of Hip/Hop Grad of the Year.

They’re getting raves for their game that’s like in another league. Even if their style of play doesn’t fit some people’s taste, there’s more left in the tank. Megan says she got her mojo from watching women in her family make that paper. Young learned as an understudy to Mac Jones. Their success is built on a:

  • System of Excellence

The QB position has produced lots of Heisman winners over the years. Many have gone on to be pro-bowl players in the big leagues. But it seems there’s something about Alabama squads that turn out gems in players in all positions. Maybe it’s about a system of excellence that helps them rise to the occasion.    

  • Boxset of Skills

For those Christmas giving purchases, sometimes folks just want to order one of a particular type of merchandise. But for others, they’d like to pick-up the boxset with a combination of styles or flavors. Well, for Megan and Young, they bring a boxset of skills to their game with a winning combo of style & flava.   

  • Bucket-list of Goals

They might also know something about stepping outside the box to achieve a bucket-load in money or stats. For Megan it seems her push to be a college grad was more like a bucket-list goal. While her music career took-off for sure, she still wanted to show that she could finish her studies in Health Administration.         

  • Sense of Purpose

There’re stories like the “5 plays that made Bryce Young” or the “key collabs that put Megan on the map.” Those articles and sports clips might be just about on point. But to take a page from a famed college coach, to be an even bigger blowout and make a difference in their careers involves a sense purpose.

Megan’s prob working on her next project. In a few months we might be hearing ‘hot girl summer, part 2’. For Young, the season isn’t done yet since Alabama is in the College Playoffs. When the dust settles, they might look back and see lessons learned and look forward being ready to step hottie next year.

Tip: No matter the field of dreams, league of play or line of work, the standouts find a way to make big moves with a system of excellence and make a difference with a sense of purpose.

Talkback: Who’s got that end-of-year vibe or lala feeling?

Tracks: Alicia Keys ft Swae Lee – LaLa – https://youtu.be/fmx8ww3XYHg

Skip Marley ft Popcaan – Vibe – https://youtu.be/pTwMEpSZq9M

Willie Geist, Abby Wambach & Diddy: Showing Us What It’s Like to turn Dreams into Golden Moments

It’s another fall day in the Northeast with the color-spectrum of leaves. This time of the year has some of the best views of the foliage. Then, not long from now we’ll be trying to get through snow, sleet and freezing rain. But just before that, folks are getting ready for a few other harvest-time traditions.

In NYC excitement is building for the return of the Marathon. It was suspended last year due to Covid. Now, athletes from far and wide and getting ready to run their hearts out. The event stats are just crazy. Over 30K runners from 140 countries set to run a 26.2 mile stretch. And yes, some celebrities too.

With this the 50th anniversary, there’s buzz to go along with the carbs. Willie Geist from NBC News is in it for the first time. Abby Wambach, soccer Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champ as well. Hip-Hop Icon Diddy (LOVE) did it in 2003. Even a runner who was there for the first one is set to run this one.

The event is like a tour of the five boroughs of NYC, starting in Staten Island and ending in Manhattan. The starting line-up will include pros as long-distance runners. For some it’s become like a walk in the park. There’ll also be folks like friends and neighbors who see this as a crowning moment of sorts.

The collective experience has great lessons for participants and onlookers. Some have recovered from a life-altering situation and see this event as a coming-out party. For many more no matter their professional station or social status in life, it’s a show of strength, inspiration and determination through:    

  • Training

While running is a basic physical activity, only a fool would show-up to run a marathon without the training. To go from start to finish takes having put-in the work of running miles and miles each day. In other words, they gotta do more than break-a-sweat, they gotta break the mold, fear and pain in stages.  

  • Tribute

Part of the incentive is in doing something that seemed like a stretch. If you’ve never run a mile non-stop, how ya gonna pull-off running more extra miles? For some, the inspiration is in paying tribute to a family member, friend or lost loved-one as appreciation for the personal connection. Geist is doing it for his dad.

  • Fundraiser

Often in the case of celebrities, they’re doing it as a fundraiser for a cause. Before we had online crowdfunding, there were sponsor sheets that folks would get friends and family to fill-out a donation. They’ll sponsor a certain amount for each lap or mile or mountain peak achievement you get to reach.         

  • Crowd-pleaser

Even on cold days, fans will hang for hours along the course to wave, cheer and catch the thrill. It’s the kind of crowd-pleaser that doesn’t cost much but brings a lot of heartfelt returns. Just think about the feeling a runner has at the finish line, after hearing friends and family scream their name along the way.    

The night before the race is when runners get to load-up on carbs. This way they’ll have the energy to take them through the finish. No matter a runner’s age, ability or reason, the experience reminds us all of what it takes to turn dreams into golden moments. You gotta run, run, run with vision and purpose.

Tip: To turn dreams into golden moments no matter your age, sex, ability or nationality, you gotta start somewhere and then run run run with vision and purpose to the finish line.

Talkback: Who’s up for the marathon challenge?

Tracks: One Republic – Run – https://youtu.be/TKkcsmvYTw4

BBD – Run – https://youtu.be/lRrY2_4AKKs

Bubba Wallace and Dak Prescott Show That One Thing Career ‘Joes’ and Sports Pros Have in Common After a “Make or Break” Moment

Hot off the press! The sports wire reports that Zaire Wade, son of NBA great Dwyane Wade, plans to skip college and go pro. Word is he’ll set up shop with the G-league team of the Utah Jazz. That’s a major decision and gutsy move by the youngster. Gonna miss-out on having some college play under his belt.

He grew up in a household where winning is par for the course. He’s had a front row seat in watching his father win NBA Championships. So yea, he’s got a leg up on his peers. That’s not always the case for career Joes or sports pros in basketball or other leagues. Not always much of a legacy to follow.

It might be one reason why Bubba Wallace is getting so much attention. He’s the first Black driver to win the Nascar Cup in motor racing since 1957. The last time that happened, the black driver wasn’t even recognized in front of the fans. His trophy ceremony was done reluctantly after the stadium emptied out.

To get a sense for what this feat means outside of racing, think about Dak Prescott coming back from major injury last season. It was a lonely road to recovery, but he put in the rehab time to be back on his grind. There’s a lot that goes into winning in sports or life beyond just the physical demands.   

That one thing career Joes and sports pros have in common is mental toughness. Wallace dealt with blowback from calling out the confederate flag at Nascar events. Prescott had to believe he’d make it back from a potentially career-ending injury. You see this in how they handled two sides of a coin around:

  • Pressure (Side A)

When you know something hasn’t been done before or happened a long time ago, that’s a kinda pressure where lot’s riding on your shoulders. When you find a noose in your team garage after you put a spotlight on social justice issues, that’s a kinda pressure to take you off your game. But still, that didn’t stop him.   

  • Pain (Side B)

The image of seeing Prescott’s injury on the gridiron was hard to un-see. There was his foot pointing one way and his leg another. The physical pain must have been off the charts. But pain isn’t only tied to what you feel in the flesh, but also what you might feel in having to defy the odds to be back on your feet.

  • Pathfinder (Side A)

In the work world it can be tricky to make a name for yourself. There’s the idea of being a team player but at the same time being a go-getter. Balancing the two means being a pathfinder in carving out a lane for yourself or niche for your skillset, without diminishing what others are doing for themselves.       

  • Pioneer (Side B)

When it’s all said and done, many will look back and see Wallace as a pioneer. These are individuals who make such an impact in their field or the marketplace, that there’s a rush of candidates that follow in their footsteps. Many in the motorsport game see that as a potential silver lining in what Wallace achieved.   

The NBA pre-season is almost done. Wade Sr is now part owner of a team. Kyrie Irving seems bent on giving up his dream. And young Wade is setting his sights and going full steam. All that to say, he might have crossover dribble in his genes, but it’s mental toughness that makes you a winner in the game.

Tip: With mental toughness in career and the game, you can get past those make-or-break moments to secure the bag.  

Talkback: Is Zaire Wade taking a risk to skip college and go pro?

Tracks: Koffee – Pressure Remix Ft Buju Banton – https://youtu.be/JLcdjysXPgs

Chloe X Halle – Do It – https://youtu.be/a9HIaGcBocc

Ready, Aim, Aspire: The #Inspiration4X Space Crew On What It takes to Be Trailblazing

The back-to-school drill is in full swing. Folks are returning to the building, kinda in a groove they once knew. The TV season is off and running. Some fav shows have had their first run. Elected Officials are back in Washington. They’ve got a tall order of bills to make happen, with the usual drama in play.

This time of the year also brings buzz around the next iPhone gizmo. That news came and went. With Covid still dominating the lead story, seems like there’s not much room for tech talk. One story that got major coverage is the first-ever all-civilian space flight. It reached a higher orbit than other such trips.

The crew members blasted-off with great fanfare and returned with excitement to spare. They included regular ‘Joes & Janes’ who did months of space flight training. They were celebrated by public officials, science enthusiasts and all levels of students. In other words, their achievement had broad appeal.

Their collective stories might be described as “ready, aim, aspire.” A couple of them won the chance to take the trip as part of a ‘space flight’ competition. Some say they’ve been preparing for this all their life based on their own professional training, personal trials and business triumphs.

The crew got recognized by all corners of society. One artist built a sculpture with the words “Leadership, Hope, Generosity, Prosperity.” Others might agree their trailblazing work is summarized by “Struggling, Hustling, Discovering, Tuning.” It’s all about keeping your life instrument working right and drawing on:

  • Courage

As with any new endeavor, they prob had some fears to manage. This might have showed up as having second thoughts or having butterflies in their stomachs with each new test, task and turning point. Courage doesn’t mean there’s an absence of fear. It’s about having those butterflies fly in formation.   

  • Curiosity

This can get the best of us or the scariest of us. The expression “curiosity killed the cat” didn’t hinder the experiments which put them on the edge or flirted with danger. It’s also said that a cat has nine lives. So maybe curiosity can help us to experience as many facets as possible of life in one lifetime.       

  • Passion

The things we love to do might be put in boxes like first love, second love, other love, etc. Plus, when we string together our abilities, strengths, skills and expertise this helps to give our passion some more push or pull. There’re times passion is good for pulling your goals along or pushing your vision ahead.     

  • Dream

On some level, this trip was a lifelong dream for each crew member. In their own way, the dream might be in the seed of an idea, the science of the mission, the thrill of achievement or the glory of philanthropy. What brought them together is a shared purpose that had them pulling together as a dream team.

Whether at school, work, public service or showbiz, we can take a page from #Inspiration4X to reach a higher orbit. Make sure your personal/professional instruments are working right to take you to new heights as you “ready, aim, aspire.” And to be trailblazing, add-in courage, curiosity, passion and dream.

Tip: Where the stars and dreams line-up bring a great feeling of achievement and sense of fulfillment.  

Talkback: Who’s got next for a ride to space or for a new level of ‘wow’ at work, play or gameday?

Tracks: U2 – Beautiful Day – https://youtu.be/co6WMzDOh1o

Elijah Blake Ft Trinidad James – Dreams – https://youtu.be/PTXBhlgLwVI

Drew Brees Retired, Justin Fields ‘Bout to Get Hired; How Career Moves Can Involve a Leap of Faith

It’s been a different kind of NFL off-season as Covid-19 is still on many minds. Since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their first Superbowl ever, eyes have been on Brady and whether he’s up for another season. It’s something Drew Brees had hoped to pull-off as he leaves the game after 20 seasons.

With Brees retired, the rumor mill had folks thinking Russell Wilson was about to get hired. Well, the jury is still out as NFL Draft buzz picks up. Lot’s of QBs on the list of choices, including Ohio’s Justin Fields. Some sports junkies think he’ll be in the top 5 while others see him further down in the top 10.

No matter where Fields ends up, he’s sure to get hired. Teams often have eyes on the QB spot because it’s so central to a well-run offense. Fields isn’t losing any sleep for now, while Brees hopes to get more zees and maybe time at home with the fam. As he likes to say, “it’s not the end but a new beginning.”

That’s because he’s already been locked-in by NBC as a commentator in the primetime booth. For him, It’s a shift from playing on the gridiron to being an analyst around plays, passes and points. He was on a winning Superbowl team during his time with the Saints, so he’s got the goods and receipts as well.

Fields and Brees find themselves at the start and end of their pro football playing days. But both have to approach things like taking a leap of faith. This means moving forward as if it’s a done deal while looking around knowing your chances for success are for real. How they move through this phase comes with:

  • Revelation

It’s not clear what was the ‘writing on the wall’ that made Brees throw-in the towel. Was it the 20 years, or the offer from NBC or the mid-season injury? Sometimes there’re are clues going into a decision and cues in the process that give you a picture of what’s possible or a feeling of peace whether win or lose.  

  • Promotion

At first when Brees got traded from the Chargers to the Saints, he probably wasn’t sure how things would play out. He became starting QB for the Saints and as the saying goes, the rest is history. This wasn’t a decision he controlled but was a career move that led to promotion and Superbowl XLIV MVP.            

  • Coronation

Fields has seen his college career go from contender to coronation. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist, even after having to transfer schools to land the starting spot at Ohio. Now he’s hoping that being drafted in the first round would be one more feather in his cap as another elite player headed to the pros.        

  • Validation

A leap of faith is sometimes preceded by validation. This is when you’re fairly certain about the next move to make. But other times the validation happens after when what you envisioned for yourself comes to past. Fields is working with some of this from his college days and hoping for more of it in his NFL days.

Soon, fans will know where Fields will go. Then in a few months we’ll hear Brees breaking down his game. Brees has to kinda reinvent himself from player to announcer while Fields has to up-level his game from college to the pros. For both, it’s just a matter of stepping-into the moment.                

Tip: A leap of faith requires stepping-into the moment that presents itself and living in the moment that elevates yourself.  

Talkback: Is Fields a top 5 or top 10 pick or does it even matter?

Tracks: Lupe Fiasco Ft Matthew Santos – Superstar – https://youtu.be/hVkBlsgthLg

Common – Don’t Forget Who You Are – https://youtu.be/mp2681a91NM

Scott Drew & Jordan Spieth on How to Reach Your Goal No Matter the Field of Dreams or Slumps & Bumps with Your Team

The sports wire has been on fire! On the basketball court it’s due to the level of championship play. The men’s Final Four tournament lived-up to its billing. While Gonzaga didn’t come out on top, they gave the Baylor Bears everything they had. Bears Head coach Scott Drew is being hailed as a master in his lane.

Speaking of Masters, the annual pro golfing trip to Augusta won’t have Tiger Woods in the mix, who’s still recovering from his car accident. But it will have Jordan Spieth who’s coming off a recent tour win, after a 4-year winless streak. Spieth says his game has been off these past few years so he’s happy to be back.

Drew took the job of head coach almost two decades ago when Baylor’s men’s program was reeling from scandal. A player was killed by an ex-teammate. The coach at the time was cited for corruption issues around paying the tuition for a student. Drew applied for the job even though things looked bleak.

He approached the interview like he had nothing to lose. He might say that’s just one factor for him getting the job. He’d probably add that he shared a vision for the program’s turnaround. He wanted to move the culture in a new direction, as long as he had the time and support to flip the script.  

Fast forward to their recent wins and some might wonder how’d they do it? How did they get past the slumps and bumps in the road? How did they turn a period of bruising to now having the experience of cruising? They’d remember the long days and dark nights working at it with these things in mind:

  • Firsts

Spieth remembers the first time he put on the winner’s green jacket. He felt his game had hit the jackpot. But sometimes our ‘firsts’ can be beginner’s luck. So he’s been working at his game trying to recapture the grit and feeling of excitement like what Drew is feeling from winning his first national championship.  

  • Focus

Spieth took cues from the success he saw with Bill Belichick and the Patriots. During his first visit to their home stadium, he was struck by the commitment to preparation that was part of the team’s mystique. He’s been giving more attention to that not only as a player but also with his supporting golf team/staff.           

  • Faith

It’s been said that success comes with enjoying the journey just as much as the destination. For Drew it’s been quite a journey. In the early days of his tenure, athlete recruitment might have been a challenge. In trying to turn around a losing program, he ‘drew on’ something we probably all heard… to keep the faith.         

  • Family

This is Spieth’s first win as a husband, after getting married a few years ago. They both have reason to celebrate not just with their teams but also with their families. Spieth is grateful for how his wife hung in there during his game’s rough patch. For Drew it’s a generational family affair of “like father, like son.”       

In the “instant clout” world, it’s not normal for a coach to last that long with a college team, with mixed results. But Baylor gave Drew the room, space and time to deliver. Spieth says it’s true that his wife gave him the same. Now they’re riding on cloud nine and Spieth got back that smile.               

Tip: Destiny is sometimes where preparation takes you from beginner’s luck to pulling the big bucks.

Talkback: Is the Master anybody’s to win or can Spieth turn his recent win into a lucky charm?

Tracks: Rudimental Ft Major Lazer – Let Me Live – https://youtu.be/L08uxunfLi4

Katy Perry – Smile – https://youtu.be/vZA5heWazIQ

Dawn Staley and Lebron James: Fire-Brand Performers Who Push the Limits of Their Game and Help Light-up the Team Stats Frame

So where are folks headed on spring break these days? Well, it depends on who you ask. Some travelled south to the warm weather of Florida. It’s always been the spring break capital for college students. This year with folks wanting to get past Covid restrictions, things have kinda gotten out of hand.  

Same time, the NCAA March Madness frenzy has landed in Indy! Yea, on the women’s side it’s in San Antonio. March Madness is also a place people go on spring break to raise their praise for breakout performances. Of course, there’s always the Cinderella team that busts up the brackets.

For those wondering or asked the question, Where do folks go to understand greatness? Well, we see it in the play of Lebron James and the eyes of coach Dawn Staley. James has had to sit-out a few games after a high-ankle sprain injury. He’s missing the chance of the Lakers being positioned for a playoff run.

Staley recently called out the NCAA for disparities in supporting women’s teams. After pics went viral on social media showing a less-than-stellar setup for their facilities, Staley wrote an open letter calling out the diss. Her take was the NCAA message of “togetherness and equality” was just marketing jargon.

James and Staley bring focus on issues of social justice. They’re admired by peers, players and the hometown posse for using their platform to spur reform. While they get attention for putting their names to causes, it’s also how they put passion on the line, reminding us of how greatness is tied to:          

  • Gifting

A proverb says, “a man’s gift makes room for him and brings him in front of great people.” Well, think of that in universal terms and you can see why James at his age is still performing at a high level and Staley has such impactful coaching. Your gifting when tied to passion makes you do stuff that folks can’t teach.  

  • Branding

James doesn’t only marvel us on the court, he also has his hands in biz ventures and social projects. His career track might have started out with basketball, but his branding has reached new heights in media, fashion, entertainment and sports. He recently became part owner in the Boston Red Sox franchise.          

  • Networking

A recent story on Staley shared how much her success has inspired other women to consider coaching. Plus, there’s a whole eco system of black women in particular who’re plugged-in to what Staley has done throughout her career as a player, recruiter and U.S. head coach for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.       

  • Collaborating

After events of social protest prompted by the George Floyd killing, James rallied an investment group to purchase the WNBA Atlanta Dream. While he’s not the main figure in the new ownership structure, he’s the main player that helped bring together a collaboration of interested parties to secure the deal.   

The “Cinderella Team” stories will get told throughout March Madness. You might even hear some players being described as ‘supernova athletes.’ There’s room to do something special on the court or in one’s career for those whose performance push the limits of their game and light-up the team stats frame.               

Tip: You create your own “Cinderella Story” by how you bring passion to the table in ways that maximize your gifting, branding, networking and collaborating.

Talkback: Did the NCAA miss the mark or drop the ball on the women’s facilities in March Madness?

Tracks: Usher – No Limit – https://youtu.be/3w0yqAdJ1iY

Khalid – Disclosure (Know Your Worth) – https://youtu.be/aEDULPGIwcg