What does it take to master a comeback? I found myself asking the question as I foam rolled my hamstrings on a rainy first Friday of May. It feels like NYC has lost Spring, bypassed Summer and headed straight for the Fall. As I lay there releasing knots in my poor muscles, I visualized my own return to the gym, fresh off a three month leave of absence due to injury. I was excited but nervous at the same time, I have unfinished business with the barbell and the importance of achieving goals I set out a year a go has taken on new meaning. I share this personal anecdote for good reason:
Every one of us deals with setbacks. The new mom fighting hard for her pre-baby body or the high school football coach trying to find the words to motivate his team after a loss. But if science has taught us anything, it is that what goes down must come up: be it Apple’s prolific resurrection under the vision of Steve Jobs or Tom Brady proving that a 6th round draft pick can go on to be the best Quarterback of all time. The following stories from business, sports and entertainment share a common thread: the individuals concerned refused to let external circumstances control their fate and went on to pull off some of the most successful comebacks ever heard of. Some may even surprise you…..
Simon Cowell, the business man and TV personality behind America’s got Talent and American Idol sits on an estimated net worth $550m. But times were not always so lucrative. Cowell was declared bankrupt following the demise of his record company in 1989, a fate which forced him to give up the fast cars and penthouse suites in favor of his old bedroom at moms house. Cowell however fought back, driven in part by revenge. In a 2012 interview with the BBC, Cowell credited some of his biggest learning experiences to those who let him down ‘..with me, loyalty and honesty is everything. If somebody breaks that with me then I have a problem’. The problem paid off, brokering deals like the double platinum hit ‘Teletubbies say eh-ho’ which went on to sell 1.3 million copies in it’s first two weeks and clinching the coveted number one spot on the UK singles christmas chart in 1997, beating the Spice Girls. Today, Cowell’s status as one of the most influential figures in TV and Music is undeniable, boasting acts like One Direction on his label. All because he backed the Teletubbies…………..
Liverpool Football Club: The miracle of Istanbul
In 2005, the British soccer team Liverpool Football Club travelled to Istanbul to face Italian side A.C.Milan in the Champions League final, pulling off one of the greatest comebacks in football history. As underdogs, they were demolished in the first half of the match by Milan who scored in the very first minute, shocking Liverpool and their forty thousand traveling fans. With two more goals in the 39th and 44th minutes, a comeback for Liverpool seemed virtually impossible. But what happened next proved quite the opposite and in the second half of the match, six minutes would define one the most epic matches in modern football. Liverpool’s captain Stephen Gerrard charged the counter attack, scoring in the 54th minute, two minutes later his team mate Vladimir Smicer scored a second, and in the 60th minute Gerrard made it 3-3 sending club and country into a state of jubilation and it wasn’t even full time yet. In the end, a penalty shoot out crowned Liverpool the champions of Europe, and if you’re wondering what the odds of that were, we’re talking 5000/1. It’s no wonder Liverpool fans call it the Miracle of Istanbul.
It may surprise to you know that Oprah Winfrey aka Queen of Daytime TV, aka Billion Dollar mogul and a fellow bread lover, was demoted at one point in her life. The unfortunate incident took place at Baltimore TV station WJZ-TV where Winfrey started out as a news anchor covering the evening news. But seven months into the job, she was informed ‘’…we have bigger plans for you; we’re going to put you on the morning cut-ins..’’ In layman’s terms, anchoring primetime news is A+, morning cut-ins are a C-, they are two minute news updates here and there. Oprah was devastated, but true to her beliefs she put her unwavering faith in god and practiced visualizing success. Not before long, the network called Oprah in to take over a failing talk show ‘The people are talking’, and this is where Oprah’s come back was to take flight. After six years at WJZ-TV, the young lady from Mississippi would move to Chicago, front a similar talk show that would go on to be ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ and dominate daytime TV for twenty five years, making her one of the richest and most influential women in the world. I would love to meet the person who fired her……..
We all face setbacks, failures, adversity and prejudice but equally we have the opportunity to put things right and a comeback is just that. We are defined not by the challenges we face, but in how we respond to them. Never underestimate yourself.
As always, pushing for health xx