This week marks the beginning of the NCAA tournament and March Madness. I thought it was appropriate to re-post this from 2016. It’s not just for basketball fans, but for anyone who loves an inspiring story of perseverance and dreams that come true!
It’s that time of the year again! College basketball tournament time, AKA “March Madness.”
Anyone who knows me well knows how passionate I am about college basketball and the madness of the NCAA tournament. Originally from North Carolina, college basketball and March Madness is in my blood.
My dad made it clear to me at a very young age that our household pulls for Carolina. When I was little, he bought me a UNC blue and white basketball and taught me how to play HORSE using our neighbor’s basketball goal. I’ve been a Tar Heel fan ever since.
When I was 8 years old, I remember rooting for the ’82 Carolina team in the NCAA championship game against Georgetown. That team included the great Michael Jordan. I was allowed to stay up late to watch Carolina beat Georgetown and be crowned the national champions.
A year later, I got to stay up late again to watch NC State (one of Carolina’s conference rivals) play in the ’83 championship game. That night, there was a bit of a shift in our household.
Doing the unthinkable, accomplishing the impossible
While we had always pulled for Carolina, my mother loved the coaching style of NC State’s Jim Valvano. She loved his enthusiasm and excitement. She loved how he wasn’t afraid to show emotion, unlike the even-keeled (which she called “boring”) coaches Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski.
Jimmy V’s enthusiasm and determination led an unlikely team to a national championship. The team was off to a bad start in the regular season, losing a total of 10 games. The only way they could even get to the NCAA tournament was to win the conference tournament, which seemed nearly impossible with their record.
Practice your victory
But Jimmy V was a big dreamer and a big believer in his dreams. He would schedule a practice every so often where his team would leave the basketballs on the ball rack, and instead grab a pair of scissors and practice cutting down the nets.
(For those of you who don’t know much about basketball, cutting down the nets is a celebratory ritual the winning team does when they’ve won a championship title.)
As the season went on, the NC State Wolfpack started improving their game, and were able to get past the previous year’s national champions, the UNC Tar Heels, to win the ACC tournament and make it to the national NCAA tournament. They got their first chance to cut down the nets!
Never give up
However, when they got to the national tournament, they weren’t expected to make it past the first round because they were the “Cinderella” team. They were one of the lowest-seeded teams in the tournament. One loss and they would be out. And they were up against some big giants.
But Jimmy V never gave up hope his team could win the whole thing. And guess what? They did! No other team has gone from such a low ranking to becoming the champions. Never before, and never since. NC State was such an underdog team. But they had so much heart, so much emotion, and so much enthusiasm.
On the night of the championship game, our household became Wolfpack fans. Everybody in North Carolina was so excited to see history being made, it didn’t matter if you were also a Duke or Carolina fan. That night, if you were a North Carolinian, you were an NC State fan.
I’ll never forget those last nail-biting seconds of the final game. When the winning basket was made, I remember my dad jumping out of his chair and raising his hands to the ceiling. I’ve never seen him look so tall!
I also remember seeing the now-famous scene of Jimmy V running around the court with unbridled emotion and excitement. And the Wolfpack got to do what they had practiced. They cut down those nets!
An inspiring example
This past weekend, my dad was visiting me from North Carolina and together we watched the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary of Jimmy V and his team accomplishing the impossible. I’ve personally seen the Survive and Advance documentary several times, and I always smile at Jimmy V’s passion for life and his love for his players, and I always cry when it shows his inspiring “Never Give Up” ESPY speech.
It was in this documentary where I first learned of the team practicing cutting down the nets. It was also in this documentary I first learned from the interview with Jimmy’s wife how he kept note cards of his goals in the inner pockets of his sports jackets. One said, “Win a national championship,” and one said, “Beat cancer.”
We know Jimmy V accomplished the first goal. And while we all know he didn’t beat his own personal battle with cancer, he is accomplishing his second goal through his Jimmy V Foundation he set up from his hospital room to help fund research to find a cure for cancer.
Cut down your nets
I share all this to remind you that life is short. Cancer cut both Jimmy V’s life and my mother’s life short. I also share this to ask you:
Are you living a life of passion and enthusiasm?
Are you putting your goals in writing?
Are you carrying them close to your heart?
Are you practicing for your own victories?
Are you practicing what it will be like and look like when you accomplish your goals and victories?
Those are pretty inspiring and powerful practices, especially when you see such an inspiring and powerful example of how those practices work.
If you’d like to watch the story of Jim Valvano and his ’83 Wolfpack team, you can watch Survive and Advance on YouTube. Even if you’re not a sports fan, I encourage you to watch it.
Jimmy V always said every day you should do three things:
Spend time in thought.
Have your emotions moved to tears.
“If you laugh, think and cry in the same day, then you’ve had one heck of a day.” (Jim Valvano)
I guarantee the documentary will make you laugh, will make you cry, and will inspire you.
Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!
“Do not turn…to the right or…the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” Jos 1:7 NIV
Peter McWilliams said, “To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes, may be the biggest mistake of all.” For the next few days let’s look at some things you must overcome to succeed in life. Situations. Do you feel like you’re mired in a dead-end one? Maybe you’d like to go to college but you can’t afford it. Or change jobs, but you feel trapped by your salary or the fear of forfeiting your retirement pension. Perhaps you feel trapped by a physical challenge or illness. The secret to overcoming is to divide your circumstances into situations you can change and those you can’t. Nearly everything in life can be changed, or approached in a different way. But it can’t always be done right now. Make a list of things you can change. Too many of us fail—and keep failing—because we persist in trying to change what can’t be altered. Stop banging your head against a wall, and practice realistic thinking. Understand the difference between faith and fantasy. Somebody said, “For every problem under the sun, there is a remedy or there is none. If there’s a solution go and find it, and if there isn’t, never mind it.” God has given you certain gifts. When you discover, develop, and deploy them He’ll give you success in the face of seemingly impossible odds. Ignore what you can’t change, focus on what you can, and opportunities will reveal themselves. As Hannibal said during his famous march across the Alps, “We will either find a way, or make one.” You need that spirit too!
As I’ve previously mentioned, I recently had eye surgery. When I first was told I’d need the surgery, I assumed that, even though it was “surgery-surgery” as opposed to a simple laser procedure, it wouldn’t be a big deal. After all, it was out-patient surgery.
Boy was I wrong! Because of how quickly I had to have the surgery, I had no time to do any real research on what I’d be going through. That’s probably a good thing because if I’d known what I know now, I probably would’ve chickened out, and therefore ended up losing my sight in my right eye.
I’ve been so confused as to why my healing period is taking so long. But the more medical staff I speak to, all of them tell me the same thing: “you just went through a big surgery.” Not only have I gone through a “big surgery,” I’ve also experienced some minor complications from the surgery, making healing time longer and more challenging.
The most challenging part of recovery (aside from the pain and not being able to drive) has been my sensitivity to sunlight. I love being outside when it’s sunny and the weather’s nice. I don’t like the dark. This is why I always choose doing something outside over going to a movie during the day.
But, I’ve had to spend weeks on end sitting inside with the blinds closed. This has brought me down mentally and emotionally, especially on the days when we’ve had 80 temps in February! But just the other day, I received something that lifted my spirits.
I’m very honored by this distinction, and it’s made me use this time to reflect on what makes my coaching business paNASH unique from other great coaching services.
What Makes paNASH unique:
paNASH provides a “hybrid” approach.
While I’m a certified coach, my background is in career advising. Therefore, I strike a balance between challenge and support. Traditional career coaching focuses only on asking you questions. My hybrid approach provides both challenging questioning to help you arrive at the answers that are within you, along with realistic career advice based on my knowledge and extensive past work experience.
paNASH provides unique and cutting-edge career advice.
Much of the job search advice found on the Internet is the same advice from nearly 20 years ago. I know because it’s the advice I was giving to my clients all the way back in 1999. I love staying abreast of the latest career strategies. In addition to the tried and true advice, I strive to provide unique and cutting-edge advice others aren’t currently providing. This makes you stand out (in a good way!) from other candidates who are only applying outdated job search strategies.
paNASH encourages you to think outside the box.
I love helping you unleash your creativity when it comes to your career and your life. I’ll help you see other options you’ve never previously considered that are different from a traditional path. This can lead to both personal and professional freedom, which you’ve probably been seeking for some time now.
paNASH understands the importance of personal reflection and experience.
I could give you numerous career assessments, and sometimes do without overwhelming you. But you’ll never know if something is a fit for you until you’ve spent time in self-reflection to figure out your “why” and in trying new things. paNASH provides you the permission and the space to explore your passions and to figure out your purpose. Assessments are great at telling you what you’re good at, but they can’t tell you what you really want. Only you can answer that question when given a safe place (away from societal and/or family pressures) to ponder and consider what feeds your soul.
paNASH likes to get moving!
Because of my own passion for the outdoors, I’ve been known to hold coaching sessions outside and even on the water. It’s not unusual when the weather is nice for me to take you out for a walk or hike, or even a paddle on my spare standup paddle board. The results have been so beneficial because clients have commented on just how rejuvenating the experience is. It’s helped them gain clarity on their current situation, adopt a fresh perspective, and even confirm for them what their next steps should be. Plus, they got a little exercise, and most of all, had fun!
So, if you’re ready to get started with paNASH, take the first step by completing the paNASH intake form. Now that I’m finally on the mend and spring is nearing, I’m anxious to get moving again and to help you get motivated!
Most of the places I’ve worked at in my career have been wonderful places of employment. However, there was one college I worked for that had low staff morale campus-wide. I was over career services for the students, but oftentimes staff would come to my office seeking job search help.
One of the perks of working for a college or university is your children get to attend tuition-free. The staff members coming to me were the ones who had stuck it out until their children finished school, and were now ready to move on. Because of the low staff morale, they lacked passion in their job. Some weren’t even sure anymore what they were passionate about.
Are You Tied to Your Current Job?
This is something I also hear today from potential clients. People often contact me because they want to find their passion and get a job they can feel passionate about. However, they feel tied to their current job and don’t see a way out, at least not yet. Have you ever found yourself in this situation?
If you can’t leave your current job yet, there are ways to cope until you can develop an exit strategy. You may even be able to recapture your passion, or discover new passions by trying some of these simple suggestions.
How to Make Your Current Job More Bearable
Eat lunch away from your desk. No matter how busy you are, be protective of your personal time, even if you only get a half-hour lunch. If the weather’s nice outside, go eat at a picnic table or under a tree. If you can’t get outside, eat lunch by a window.
Have lunch with some of your favorite co-workers. Set a rule that you won’t discuss anything negative or anything related to work during those 30 to 60 minutes.
Get a little exercise. Spend part of your lunch or your break taking a quick walk around the building or do some stretching exercises. This will get your blood pumping and lighten your mood.
Volunteer to serve on a committee. Every company has various committees that need people from different departments to serve on. Find one that matches your interests and dedicate a reasonable amount of time to it (1 to 4 hours per month). Doing this will get you out of your daily routine and your everyday surroundings, introduce you to new people in other departments, give you purpose, and build your resume for when you’re ready to start sending it out.
Ask to represent your office at a conference. There may be money in the budget to send you to a local, regional, or even national conference. Not only will this provide you professional development, it will also expand your network and bring you a change of scenery from your current geographic location. If you can’t attend a several-day conference, see if you can attend a one-day drive-in conference or luncheon. A day away from the office while still being productive can help cure some of the doldrums.
Take a class. Your company may offer some continuing education opportunities you can take advantage of. If not, your local community will have numerous classes available to learn a new skill or hobby. This is especially important to make time for (1 to 2 hours per week for only a few weeks) if you’re no longer sure what your interests or passions are.
Update your resume. Make a list of all your accomplishments you’ve made in your current job and add them to your resume. Taking an inventory of this builds your confidence in your skills which in turn gives you the courage to start looking for something new. Just make sure you do this on your own time.
Stay focused on the things you like about your current job. Look for other opportunities that have those same positives.
Take the Next Step
I encourage you to come up with some of your own ideas. I also encourage you to not let yourself stay stuck. Recognize when it’s time to seek something new and start working toward it now. You want to be ready to move when the time opens up for you to do so!
If you need help coming up with a plan to make a smooth transition from your current job to your next job, start by completing thepaNASH intake form!