One of the phrases our family uses as somewhat of a motto is: Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. We associate the quote with beloved, former NC State Basketball Coach Jim Valvano who used it as the motto of The Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research in his now famous 1993 ESPY speech Jimmy Valvano’s 1993 ESPY speech. It’s a shortened version from Winston Churchill: “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”
That’s a lot to put on a refrigerator magnet for daily inspiration so our magnet reads, “NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE UP!” It’s right next to my other favorite magnet, “LET GO OR BE DRAGGED!” There is a lot of living to be done between those two magnets. Our refrigerator door sees a lot of action!
While a continent and a few decades separated Jim Valvano and Winston Churchill, they were highly successful leaders with definite ideas and track records of success. One was a passionate Italian, the other a more reserved British statesman. Churchill believed “The pessimist sees the problems in every opportunity. Whereas the optimist sees the opportunity in every problem.” He reiterated, “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
For Jim Valvano, whose life was too quickly shortened by cancer, “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
In my work with those in career transition, I stress the need to surrender into the place where you are. Stubborn resistance only creates more stress and fear and fails to move you forward. If you fall out of a boat and flail your arms in panic it serves no purpose. Relaxing and stretching with the water keeps you in control with an element of calm as you survey your situation. Let go or be dragged (under)! It’s like stepping away from a closed door to seek another exit.
There is a fine line between never giving up and letting go. Surrender IS part of letting go. Surrender is sadly associated with cowards abandoning causes and waving white flags. True surrender it to give up by never giving up – not being sure but being CERTAIN. Have faith! Do all you can and then allow things to happen as and when they are supposed to. It takes discipline but it works.
So how exactly do let go of control? Anxiety occurs where there is more emotion present than your body can handle. Let go of anxiety and live in the present. Slap down worry as you would a mosquito. It serves no purpose. Have complete faith. Set no timetables. Persevere as Valvano and Churchill did so well.
Valvano instilled into his 1983 NC State University Basketball Team that there was nothing too great or too big they could not accomplish. The team remained open to all possibilities as Valvano instilled and fed the passion in their hearts. That team made history as the Cardiac Pack against very long odds and became the 1983 NCAA Basketball Champions. History remembers Valvano best as he ran around the basketball court looking for someone to hug just after a last second shot defeated the University of Houston and ended its 26-game winning streak.
Suffice it to say, Churchill and Valvano never, ever gave up. They experienced great joy, success and victory. YOU can TOO!
~From the desk of Becky Morlok~
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