Your Defining Moment
It would be his only at bat in the World Series. After sitting in the dugout with a hamstring pull and worn-out knees, his team down 4-3 with two outs and a teammate on first base, he was called on to pinch hit. He was facing Dennis Eckersley, the 45-save relief ace of the winningest team in baseball that year. With a count of three balls and two strikes, and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Kirk Gibson sent the next pitch into the right-field stands and limped around the bases. This "gimp-off" home run gave the Los Angeles Dodgers momentum that they carried all the way to become world champions in four games to one. In the midst of adversity, Kirk Gibson had a defining moment.
In 1996, the U.S. looked like it had its first gold medal in women’s team gymnastics wrapped up with a lead over second-place Russia, when Kerri Strug's teammate fell down on both of her vaults. Then, on her first vault, Strug landed hard, heard a pop and fell. When it came time for her second vault, she needed a nearly perfect score for the U.S. to win gold. But the “pop” was bad. Barely able to walk, let alone sprint down a runway, she summoned up courage rare in a slight 18-year-old. Gritting her teeth, believing that everything for everybody depended on her, Strug sprinted, flung her body onto the horse, twisted and landed on her one good leg. She got the job done—a solid landing from a nearly perfect vault. Then she collapsed in pain onto her hands and knees. Strug found strength within herself to give the kind of effort that creates a defining moment.
The week before the championship, the media was wondering if he would play. Could he with that knee? With each round, he seemed to lose power, playing a bit safer by playing a 277-yard hole like a par 4, which, for superhuman power hitters like him, never happened. By the 72nd hole, it was him, a ball and a hole 12 feet away. Sink it and play another day on the deteriorating knee. Miss it and golf's U.S Open Championship goes to another man with another story. But for the millions watching him, very few had any doubt where that ball was heading. The fifth round against Rocco Mediate went all 18 hole. Finally, on hole No. 91, the improbable challenger succumbed to whom, at this point, writers were calling the best athlete on the planet. Tiger Woods won the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. With an injured leg that his doctors ordered him not to play on, he went to his deep well of mental and physical toughness to win his 14th major title. A title that usually is decided on Father’s Day holds special meaning to the young man whose father taught him to play, to win and to be the best. Most pundits call this the greatest golf tournament ever. In this defining moment, Woods turned his painful perseverance into an art form. “You keep playing,” Woods said. “Whatever it is, you just keep going, keep going forward. ... You just keep going, and there’s no finish line, and you just keep pushing and pushing.”
In a rapidly changing business environment, faced with more regulations, more legislation, an alphabet soup of chemicals and consumer product safety requirements, a changing marketplace, and a new generation of buyers, you are in a position to create your defining moments. Anybody can do this business in good times. Now is your moment to shine. This is when you need to just keep pushing, just keep going, just try harder, just think smarter.
Create to be great by creating your defining moment!