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A Quick Pick Me Up

I know I need a daily dose of positivity either to start or end my day. I want to bring that to others, too. If I can share a story or an example of someone who has overcome adversity, beat the odds, or just went for it and made it, then I know I am doing something worthwhile with my time.


Check back here for inspiring stories that only take a minute or two to read. 


Roger Hawkins

You may not know the name, but Roger Hawkins has played drums on songs you've heard—I guarantee it. How can I be so sure? He's played on hundreds of hits as a member of the famous studio backing band known as The Swampers.

Early on in his career Jerry Wexler—one of the most influential music producers of all time—told a young Hawkins, "You're a great drummer."

It meant so much to him at the time that Hawkins would later recall, "If Jerry Wexler says I'm a great drummer, then I will be a great drummer," and he was.

Offering honest praise and giving people a reputation to live up to works better than "constructive" criticism. Everyone wants and needs positive feedback.



Ursula Burns

"Where You Are is Not Who You Are" is the title of Ursula Burns' memoir. She is the first black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company and it's a life lesson for us all. 

Burns was raised in a housing project in Brooklyn known for gangs and drugs. Her single mother (an immigrant) worked two jobs to make sure her 
daughter got a good education. 

After college Ursula first worked for Xerox as a summer intern and stayed on in various roles in product placement and planning. She was offered the position of executive assistant to the chairman and chief executive. 

Burns eventually became an executive in her own right, becoming the president and CEO of Xerox. Kobe Bryant once said, "I have nothing in common with people who blame others for their lack of success." Ursula Burns beat the odds and so can any of us.



Jim Morris

Maybe you've seen the Disney movie, "The Rookie" based on the life of Jim Morris, a Texas-based high school science teacher who tried out for the Tampa Bay Rays (at the age of 35) and made it all the way to the big leagues. Here's the rest of the story.

Morris was a young pitching prospect who's career ended prematurely due to numerous injuries and surgeries and his desire to care for his ailing grandfather. Jim hung up his cleats and became a teacher and the manager of the school's rag tag baseball team.

The kids challenged their coach (who threw a mean batting practice) to agree to tryout for a Major League team if they clinched a division championship—they did. Morris honored his end of the deal and tried out, consistently throwing 98 mph fastballs.  

After signing a minor league contract with the Rays, Morris actually took a pay cut and left his wife kids behind in Texas to pursue his dream. Ironically, his MLB debut was in Texas and his family and high school team were all in Arlington to cheer him on. 

The fact his high school team won more than one game that season and a former prospect out of the league for years and out of shape could come back proves something Morris often tells audiences in his speeches, "We can all do more than we think we can." I agree.



Kathryn Joosten

Making a career change later in life is becoming more and more common. Becoming a television star for the first time while in your fifties is still rare. 

Kathryn Joostyn worked as a psychiatric nurse in a hospital in Chicago before the divorced mother of two first began acting in community theater 
at the age of 42.

At the age of 53, she was hired as a street performer at Disney World in Orlando. At 56, she moved to Hollywood and landed guest roles on several television series.

It wasn't until she was 60 years old that she landed the role of Mrs. Landingham in the hit show, "The West Wing." She followed that up with more television and movie roles that made her a bonafide star.

Other actors who got a late start
Jeremy Renner worked as a part-time make up artist to make ends meet before he got his big break at 38.

2. Jon Hamm was a full-time waiter until he landed his first major role in his late thirties.

3. Alan Rickman ran his own graphic design company before pursuing acting.

4. John Mahoney was the editor of a medical journal before becoming Martin Crane on “Frasier” at the age of 53.
5. Samuel Jackson made a name for himself as Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction,” before he became a star he was a social worker.  

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