Famed baseball pitcher Jim Abbott uses his past experience of battling the odds to be an inspirational motivational speaker. Born with only one hand, Jim had to adapt to his own style of baseball in order to play. With his determination he was able to exceed by winning the Sullivan Award in 1987; was the pitcher for the Gold Medal Olympic Team in 1988; and threw a 4-0 no-hitter for the New York Yankees versus Cleveland in 1993. Through his stories and anecdotes Jim motivates people with his ADAPT acronym to relate to every type of audience. Jim inspires people to overcome adversity and limitations so they can reach their dreams.
Some of you may know that my career statistics weren’t that great. There were some incredible highlights and some agonizing low lights. The truth is, I won’t go to the Hall of Fame. But if a career can be measured by special moments, lessons learned and a connection with people, then I would stack mine up with anyone’s. Maybe there is an obligation to share. To try and learn from the experiences life puts us through.
When you play major league baseball it is easy to become self-absorbed. Your world can become very narrow. One of the aspects of speaking is that I enjoy getting out in the real world and seeing how hard people work. I have been amazed at how much their pursuit of excellence is similar to that same pursuit on a baseball diamond.
The challenge for me as a professional speaker has been to try and formulate a common language. The word that I have come up with is ADAPT. To continue to move towards our goals we must be willing to adapt. To change, and mold ourselves in order to meet the obstacles in our own way. Using ADAPT as an acronym you can put together a powerful set of words that stand alone in their significance, but they also string together like a chain in an amazing way.
A – Adjustability
D – Determination
A – Accountability
P – Perseverance
T – Trust
Jim Abbott is awesome. You could hear a pin drop during his speech. Frankly, I am not a baseball fan, don’t really know that much about it, but it really didn’t make any difference. His speech – to me – had little to do with baseball although the stories he wrapped around his words did. We laughed, and many of us (me especially) cried as he wove his touching story of his life and experiences overcoming his handicap. He is charming, very receptive to our guests, and he was willing to take the time to go to our luncheon, pose for pictures, and answer questions from anyone who asked. I now know more about human behavior since I’ve met and heard Jim Abbott. It was a great experience.
Jim was definitely the star of our annual supplier event. People were charmed by his demeanor and presentation style and they were truly moved by his message. The feedback we got from attendees about how Jim’s message affected them was phenomenal. We try to top ourselves every year in terms of our programming for this event – but I really don’t know how we are going to be able to top Jim. We may just have to bring him back!
Jim, I’ve been producing events like these for over 20 years. In that period of time I have NEVER experienced the deafening silence in a crowd that large, all of whom had their minds, hearts and souls transfixed on your speech. You touched the hearts of each and every person on the Civic Center, and your message of adaptability, determination and trust is now embossed on the spirits of hundreds of community leaders. The e-mails and voicemails filled with kudos and praise have been unending since the meeting this morning. You’re going to be a VERY tough act to follow.
He was wonderful – everyone said how great he was – our top people were so impressed. He gave inspiring words, not trying to be funny at every other remark, instead humorous throughout. He kept their attention and charmed everyone. We loved the reports from our attendees.