Jim Abbott told the CBS Sunday Morning reporter this week that he was glad he had as much of his right hand as he did.
Then he demonstrated holding a golf club, that what was his right hand was a perfect fit for his golf swing.
Most of us would have likely found a reason to say that being born without a right hand – as was Abbott – was a reason to avoid sports. Not Abbott. He seems to like all sports of all kinds and can be seen in photographs playing basketball and baseball as a youth.
Major league baseball fans will remember Abbott for his career 1989 through 1999 with the California Angels, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers. He pitched a no-hitter in 1993 against the Cleveland Indians. That’s not something you get to do just by being OK at a sport. You have to beat out a lot of talented people day after day to play at such a level.
And when asked what drove him to such success, he said he just always wanted to play every sport there was. “I don’t remember a time I didn’t want to play,” he said. So he figured out what he needed to do to make it happen, switching his baseball glove from his left hand to his right arm to switch from catching to throwing. And he practiced and worked until the approach worked.
Now he is retired from baseball and he goes around encouraging kids and adults to find something they love –like he loves baseball – and figure out how to make it happen.
Many of us have faced serious challenges in our jobs and lives.
The recent economic struggle have challenged many in their professions. Tighter budgets have forced many in the the banking business textile industry, furniture business retail industry, even the newspaper business to figure out how to do things more efficiently, better or along with something else. We ave been forced to learn things that don’t come naturally to us or things that we never dreamed we’d have to do.
Many of these situations are hugely unfair. Life is that way.
Post Office employees have seen that. There was a time when I never thought I would see the U.S. Post office reducing staffs.
On a recent trip to the Easley Post Office to drop off papers for mail subscriptions, I was encouraged by a middle aged postal worker. He has seen the Post Office change radically. We commiserated briefly about the changes both our businesses have seen due to technology and economic forces. You have to find a way to do what needs to be done. Then you are more valuable to the company, he said.
He and Jim Abbott have inspired me one more time to look at what does not come naturally to me and find a way to make it happen.