Posted by Tommy Runfola | August 23, 2016
We have all watched the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with great interest over the past couple of weeks. The U.S. has won a record number of medals, set records, and brought glory, honor and pride back to America – an America that is deeply divided in so many ways right now, but completely united in the support of these fabulous young people who have represented us so admirably before the world. Our athletes have been absolutely magnificent in their respective sports, but for me what really touched me were the many back stories that we were privileged to hear: Stories of comebacks, stories of overcoming, and stories of the will to win against adverse circumstances and all odds.
To me personally one story trumped them all, and that is the story of 4’ 9” 104-pound Simone Biles, the 19 year old female gymnast from Spring, Texas. I loved Simone’s back story. She was born the daughter of a dope addict mother and an unknown father in Columbus, Ohio. When she and her little sister were taken from their birth mother by the State of Ohio for neglect, both girls were first awarded to their grandparents in Texas, Ron and Nellie Biles, as foster children, and then the couple formally adopted both girls. These girls could not have been more fortunate to be adopted into this loving home provided by Ron, an air traffic controller, and Nellie, a registered nurse, a truly all-American family.
We heard from Simone’s coaches of her natural ability that she worked so hard to develop to the fullest, and the many sacrifices she made to become the world’s greatest gymnast, like being home schooled so she would have the time to practice as an elite gymnast must, and missing events like the Prom and the many social activities that teenagers enjoy. We also heard of how this small but powerful little girl excelled in a sport where African American women have not traditionally excelled. We heard how she didn’t buy into any stereotyping about her size, her background, or her race. She was all about the business of hard work, being the best she could be, and winning.
Well, what does any of this have to do with the people who routinely read this blog? Perhaps more than you might think, because what Simone did is what many entrepreneurs and small business owners do every day, and that is embark on a journey from nothing to something, to enter the arena of competition with courage and determination, not giving place to the difficulty of the challenges before us. Many of us grew up poor, underprivileged, without resources, without family support, and we had to work tirelessly to achieve our dreams that others thought were completely impossible for us. We had to tune out the naysayers, we had to overcome obstacle after obstacle, we had to dedicate ourselves to our goals, we had to sacrifice and at times do without. We had to make tough choices, work our butts off, and refuse to lose in life. Yes, the qualities and the heart of someone like Simone Biles are within us as well. We are a group of fighters, of people who never stay down when knocked down, who get up and get up and get up each and every time we fall from the balance beam of life. We are people who know how to believe, how to follow our dreams, never give up, and always fight the good fight, and like Simone, at the end of our competition we will get our reward, the Gold Medal of Business and Life!
Sport is a microcosm of life. So congratulations to Simone Biles and all the terrific Olympians who represented our great nation in this world competition; you have touched our lives in a very special way. Thank you for inspiring all of us to always go for the gold, to fight through the pain of life, and to go for the win!
Hear these and more ideas for successful living every week on my weekly radio show: Makin It! (www.makinitnow.com)