After a Wake-Up Call...Inspiration for a Friend

Last March, I wrote an article called “Major or Minors?” which included a short story about a good friend’s fall from grace; a fall that saw him swiftly go from the Major Leagues to the minor leagues. His journey is very difficult for him to come to terms with as he started his adult life on an extremely high note. If his first seven years living abroad in Europe were a Broadway play, it would be “Phantom of the Opera” or “Lion King” as his life couldn’t have been more delicious. His next decade in New York City (NYC) would best be compared to a well written and promising play that never quite made it to the Broadway stage. The link is below:

He thought my words were harsh and they were although I know he appreciated my sincerity. My intention was for it to be a wake-up call to act and move forward with his life. Sometimes, reading about a portion of one’s life can help one see the situation in a different light. I believe that my words (and subsequent conversations) helped as he finally made a positive Power Move – leaving NYC; something he should have done years ago.

He’s currently living in a much smaller and normal American city. As expected the adjustment has been damaging to his psyche because no matter how bad life is in NYC, one can always rely on the energy and electricity that only Manhattan can provide. I made a similar move away from NYC in the early 90’s but I (unlike him) embraced it and left in order to “get back to the basics” and re-gain some of the focus that had been lost. It worked wonders for me and in time I think he will feel the same way.

Now what to do?

Understandably, he’s having trouble figuring out which path to take with his life. I suggested getting a part time job in the public eye (i.e. Starbucks) so that he can meet potential connections and enjoy the lively interaction of customers. Maybe he meets someone who can help him get an important interview or a new friend – the key is keeping his spirit high as he continues to struggle with confidence. A job where he gets to enjoy the camaraderie of ordinary people is a good way to begin.

In early June, I read a blog post from Mark Cuban’s dynamic and always interesting blog, One of the things I admire about Mark is that he makes the time to blog while being a top businessman including ownership of the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team. I met him once at the Reebok Sports Club in NYC and our talk about the NBA was short yet insightful. His life story is fascinating and inspiring so I encourage you to read about him.

The title of the post is called “Success and Motivation 2009” and inspired me to look at various elements in my own life to make sure I am doing ALL it takes to succeed. One of the points from the post is on being positive and my friend needs a dose of that as his energy and attitude are frequently low unlike the man I fondly remember when he was flying high in his twenties. Below is a point from the post followed by the link to the full text:

5. Start the day motivated with a positive attitude.

You are going to screw up. We all do. I cant tell you how many times I did and do. It happens too often. No matter what happens, every morning, the minute after you wipe away the crust from your eyes, remind yourself that you are going to enjoy every minute of the day. You are going to enjoy the 20 interviews you have. You are going to enjoy waiting in the heat for your roommate to pick you up afterwards. You are going to enjoy realizing how frayed your collar is becoming and how sick you are of your one tie. You are going to enjoy all the bullshit you have to deal with as you chase your goals and dreams because you want to remember them all. Each and every experience will serve as motivation and provide great memories when you finally make it all happen.

I implore everyone to click on the link above, most urgently those who have lost their way, fallen on hard times, lost a job or are unsure about what direction to take in life.

My friend had the courage and motivation to get away from the excitement, perils and temptations of NYC – a move that he had to make. That was Act 1.

Act 2 could be a job where he can earn a decent wage and bring an atmosphere of stability to his life. This act can and should include getting in shape, enjoying the calmness of middle America and doing a bit of volunteering.

While working he can begin to figure out Act 3, namely what does he want to do and who can help him get there. Along the way he needs to absorb inspiration from a variety of sources which can include books, friends, family, Internet or mentors. I offered him the chance to speak with one of my closest mentors and I hope he has.

Act 4 could be paying close attention to three points in Mark Cuban’s post as my friend tackles the uphill climb and strives to get back to the glorious mountaintop of his past. They are:

1) Take lots of chances
2) Figure out how to be the best
3) The cheaper you can live, the greater your options.

His final act, number 5 is the one I and many of his friends will be waiting for and expecting. In it, I see him getting his life back to a happy and fulfilled state although the steps to happiness will only be successful if he makes responsible choices and avoids the enticing yet dangerous world of irresponsibility. There is no easy road to a quality life without desire, discipline, relentlessness, passion, energy, giving, responsibility, ethics and common sense; elements my friend displayed wonderfully in Europe yet threw by the wayside in NYC. He has a chance (maybe his last) to get back on Broadway and enjoy a life worthy of his talents.

I usually give parting words at the end of my articles but in this case I will let Mark Cuban’s final words from his post provide the urgent question to my friend:

It’s your choice. What are you going to do?

Happy Gswede Sunday!

The 5th year of my "American Basketball Coach in Sweden" program. It was a big success in 2009 and our best year ever! Coach Steve (black shorts) from Pennsylvania ran the 3 day clinic in Stockholm. (


Ro said...

Real talk is difficult to hear but in retrospect, is what I've often needed to improve my situation. True friends have not only told me the truth, but they've invested their time and energy to do so.

I wish your friend the best of luck in his new venture. And thanks for sharing Mark Cuban's tips. Here's a link to play while reading them: Enjoy/

kolya said...

Thanks G! We all have a lot to learn from each others experiences, both good and bad. With that said, I truly hope and believe your friend will find his path of personal fulfillment i.e. happiness again.