Your Best Flu Game: Achieving Success

“I was really tired, I was very weak, but somehow I found the energy and stayed strong. I wanted it really bad.” These are the words spoken by all-time NBA great, Michael Jordan immediately following his 1997 “Flu Game” against the Utah Jazz. For those who are unfamiliar with the flu game, it’s a game that basketball enthusiasts will never forget. With flu-like symptoms and a weakened immune system, Michael Jordan scored 38 points and led the Chicago Bulls to victory in the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz.  The series, prior to that game was tied 2-2, however, Jordan’s perseverance gave the Bulls a much-needed edge to win the series. I heard one narrator say “while Jordan was still drained, he was finding the strength to persevere. And with that sheer determination, he would keep Chicago in the game.”

This victory transcends sports. The same determination displayed by Michael Jordan is a key characteristic for success. As professionals, there are times when we are feeling under the weather. However, we cannot allow challenges – physical or emotional, to deter us from achieving our goal. What I loved most about Jordan’s flu game was his selfless determination to pull through for his teammates. As leaders, our decisions impact our team, and a decision to give up will have a domino effect.

This is not to say that we should ignore signs of physical fatigue, illness or emotional setbacks. For optimal well-being, it is to our advantage that we remain in-tune with anything that may prevent us from operating at our highest level of success. What I am saying, however, is that we stay focused on our goal. And, in order to be focused we must clearly identify the goal and know exactly what is required to achieve that goal.

Michael Jordan, by his own admission, knew he was tired, knew he felt weak, but he found the energy and he stayed strong. In other words, Jordan stayed the course. At times you may find yourself feeling drained, and overwhelmed, but don’t give up. Check out my top ten nuggets for achieving success.

  1. Know your goal
  2. Identify steps to achieve your goal
  3. Develop a strategy to achieve your goal
  4. Plan to succeed
  5. Enlist the help of your team
  6. Stay focused. Don’t lose sight of your goal
  7. Know your strengths and rely on those strengths
  8. Find time to rest
  9. Relax, Unwind and Rejuvenate
  10. Follow-through with your goal

Michael Jordan wanted to win. Do you?


Success Is What You Make It

The word “success” has a variety of meanings to different people. Some might believe success is obtaining all of the monetary goals in life; including the mansion, multiple cars in the driveway and unlimited access to things money can buy. Others define success as marital bliss with two kids, a dog and residing in their dream home. To others; landing their dream job and achieving professional goals is the definition of success. All of the definitions (and them some) can be true. Everyone has the right to define success and achieve it in his or her own way.

The road to success can be a long, arduous journey. However, I dare to say that whatever our definition, we should do all that we can to understand our purpose in life and live our lives in such a way that our lifestyle mentors, teaches, impacts and makes a difference in the lives of those around us and future generations.

I love Maya Angelou’s definition of success – “Success is liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”  Therefore, whatever it is that you seek out to do, enjoy it and identify ways to excel at it. Below are some of my favorite quotes that have inspired and provided encouragement throughout my journey towards “success.”

“You would never give up if you knew how close you were, would you? So never give up because you are always too close.” – Maya Angelou

“Lead from the back and let others believe they are in the front.” – Nelson Mandela

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” – Nelson Mandela

“If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, and challenge the status quo as much.” – Steve Jobs

“If you look really closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

“What God intended for you goes far beyond anything you can imagine.” – Oprah Winfrey

“As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you the first time around.” – Oprah Winfrey

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” – Sheryl Sandberg

“The ones that are quick to walk away are the ones who never intended to stay.” – Sheryl Sandberg

“It never occurred to me that there are things I cannot do.” – Whoopi Goldberg

“Life sometimes brings enormous difficulties and challenges that seem just too hard to bear. But bear them you can, and bear them you will, and your life can have a purpose.” – Barbara Walters

“Work harder than everybody. You’re not going to get it by whining, and you’re not going to get it by shouting, and you’re not going to get it by quitting. You’re going to get it by being there.” – Barbara Walters

“Your attitude will compromise the altitude of your career.” – Tyrese Gibson

“God didn’t bring you on this earth for you to be average.” – Tyrese Gibson

We all have gifts, talents and dreams that allow us to achieve our level of success. Each day we should work towards it – whatever it is. There is no right or wrong, it’s your definition, it’s your life, it’s your journey. Be the best at it and don’t be afraid to achieve it. I’ll leave you with this question that Sheryl Sandberg asks readers in her book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” – “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”