Gold Medal with Character

Jim Abbott had a great career as a baseball pitcher. He pitched the gold medal winning game for Team USA at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games. He also pitched a no hitter as a New York Yankee. These are noteworthy feats in their own right. Jim accomplished these milestones without the use of his right hand, a “handicap” he was born with.

But Jim never saw the “lack” of anything in his life. He grew up with the belief that he could accomplish what most able bodies did; and even more. He also received and accepted support along the way. Jim tells the story about his Grade 2 teacher who spent an entire weekend learning to tie his own shoes with his right hand tied behind his back, so he could teach Jim how to do it one handed on Monday.  A 7 year old aspiring baseball player translated that care into self accountable action, and the generosity of this teacher (and many other supporters) lives forever through Jim.

Be generous – be abundant. We might inspire someone to win a gold medal against all odds. Plus we all win the gold medal of living with character. Jim Abbott (and by extension his Grade 2 teacher) is in our Character Hall of Fame.

with Character,


One Comment
  1. Tim Ames says:


    I completely agree with using natural kindness. I was asked by a team member to go to our boardroom. Once inside he immediately started telling me how upset he was at an e-mail that I had sent out. His emotion was was out of the appropriate range for what had happened and I felt myself getting ready to not just defend myself but to put him firmly in his place. The I realized that the true path was to be firm and kind. Once he finished I said, wow that was intense ! I wonder if we can park the e-mail issue for a moment and deal with your delivery, the reason I say that is that your intensity of a minor issue seems out of proportion and if you do that to the wrong person it’s going to get you into challenging places. I stated that I would have asked for the facts and then asked for assistance to ensure that the situation did not get repeated. He calmed down and we were able to talk through the issue, which upon explanation he realized that the intent he thought I has was not actually there. Later in the day he came up to me and said “Thank You” for helping him see another way to deal with problems. So Lorne I could have escalated it, which would have been ugly or as I did stayed calm, kind & collected.

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