No Hand, No Problem
I don’t care who your team is, or even if you don’t like football, yesterday’s Auburn/UCF game was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Not because it was the closest game, the most exciting game, or because my favorite team won. It was one of the best because #18, Shaquem Griffin, played with more heart, grit, and determination of any other player out there. Play after play, he relentlessly and fearlessly charged through players to make what seemed like endless tackles. He had a single minded focus and it seemed like his mission, purpose, and passion in life was to tackle the Auburn player holding the ball – every single time.
And, he did it with just one hand.
Griffin’s left hand was amputated at age four but he has never let it stop his dream of playing football alongside his twin brother. More than that though, he didn’t let it stop him from being a whole person. Griffin makes it a point not to make excuses. No hand on that arm? No problem. He competes (very well) in an extremely physical sport – and he excels at it, making tackles, interceptions, and recovering fumbles, regardless of having only 50% of the fingers other players have.
Griffin stated in a Sports Illustrated interview, “A lot of people in our generation like to make excuses about little things that really don’t hinder them from doing what they want to.”
I don’t think it’s just “his generation” that makes excuses. I know I’ve done it myself – make an excuse as to why I can’t do something. All too often, we allow an ability, disability, experience, or circumstance to define us. We take a fact and create an obstacle out of it. We create an excuse instead of creating a way around, over, or through whatever it is we think is standing in our way. We allow that excuse to hold us back from achieving what we wanted, because we aren’t willing to pay the price of success.
And then, we tell ourselves we didn’t really want it anyway.
“God put you on the Earth for a purpose. I feel like my purpose is to get away from people making excuses. You’re not disabled unless you say ‘I’m disabled.'” Shaquem Griffin
You aren’t a victim until you say you are. You aren’t disabled until you say you are. You aren’t a failure until you say you are. It’s possible – until you say it isn’t.
Successful, effective, and resilient people realize they can look for a way or look for an excuse but whatever they look for, they will find.
What obstacles are standing in the way of your success in 2018? What excuses are you creating around them? What can you do instead? It’s not a question of “Can I?” but a question of “How can I?” Just ask Shaquem.
Like many, I faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, I was sexually abused by my father from age 12 – 19. Desperate to escape, I left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. Watch my 7 minute TEDx Talk on Resilience here.
Interested in learning more about overcoming adversity? Join me in February 2018 for a women’s retreat to make 2018 your best year yet