“When the world says no, the champion says, ‘Watch me!'” Rich Ruffalo, Olymian
OK, this year’s Superbowl is over, but not the stories — they go on. And here’s one I just heard from my great friend and mentor, Dr. Rob Gilbert on his Success Hotline. It’s about Julian Edelman, this year’s Superbowl’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). For Julian, it was a long hard road getting there. Consider this.
Let’s face it, a sport like football is a big guy’s game. After all, players spend a lot of time pummeling each other. Well, Julian Edelman, who’s loved the game since he was a kid, started 9th grade under 5 feet tall and weighing about 100 pounds. He had a growth spurt in high school and made it to 5′ 10″ and 150 pounds. He used to lie in bed at night bemoaning his family genes because he was always the shortest player on any team he joined. Not a promising start.
Later, when he finally got to the big time and made it to professional football, he was the 232 draft pick — that means that there were 231 players ahead of him that coaches and teams and all the gatekeepers were better prospects than he was. Tom Brady, by the way, was also buried somewhere there in the 200 pile. Not a promising start.
And yet, these two players have gone on to make history and have become fast friends and teammates. “It’s a bond that was borne over hard work, trust and respect,” one observer said. “Julian matched his work ethic and showed him he could trust him over time. You don’t get that the first day or even the first year.” Julian, “knows how to battle,” another observer commented.
What’s our takeaway here? As writers, we have lots of obstacles to overcome, just as Julian did. We may not be worrying about our height or weight, but we all feel we have some kind of inherent disadvantages that other people don’t have — something we can’t wish or work away — we have to rise u and vanquish somehow. We might we’re hampered by lack of experience or lack of contacts or lack of social media skills. We’ve all got something to battle.
And we all have gatekeepers in our life — editors and agents and publishers. And when we jump into the game, when we get on the field and submit, some of them or even all of them may be telling us that we don’t have the goods — we don’t have what it takes to put our work out in the world. Now when this happens — and it often happens again and again if we are submitting on a regular basis — then we can get discouraged or we can become motivated. We can use rejection as an excuse to feel badly about ourselves or we can use it as rocket fuel and soar. The choice is ours — no one else’s.
H.O.P.E.= Hold On, Possibilities Exist. Dr. Gilbert often often quotes this acronym created by Jim of Ringwood” — a devoted long-time caller of his Success Hotline. Let’s embrace it: Possibilities exist — and with hard work and by battling the odds, we can turn them into outstanding performance. And no one can keep us from doing that, except ourselves. Write on!