A Letter To Michael Sam

“Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off. But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”

– Amelia Earhart

Michael SamDear Michael Sam

I don’t know you personally but I hope this letter reaches you because I believe it’s the message you are meant to hear.

Sometimes in life we fail to see the great opportunities inherent in our struggles. I know football is what you love but have you ever considered that the struggle you face is not about the game of football but an overall greater purpose awaiting you in the game of life.

Michael here are the 5 steps to realizing your purpose and making a true difference.

  1. Turn your anger and frustration into a passion to make a difference

Michael you are a trailblazer and like others before you the path is laden with struggle and unforeseen circumstances outside of your control. How you handle those situations will determine if others choose to follow in your footsteps or stay regulated to the darkness of their fears. I know you are frustrated that your NFL dreams did not come to fruition the way you planned. Turn that emotion into a passion for paving the way for those to come. Jackie Robinson had to make tremendous sacrifices understanding that in his hands laid the fate of all those who would or “would not” come after him.

  1. Apologize for passively outing other pro athletes

I understand you may have felt abandoned by athletes who chose to stay quiet instead of showing outright support. These other athletes placed not only their trust but their livelihood in your hands and as frustrated as it was feeling that they were not there to stand when you needed them to- you as a leader were given the gift of their trust. You needed to appreciate that trust, to be the leader they could depend on and believe in. They needed to know that you truly had their best interest at heart even at a high cost to yourself.

If you had done this they would have given you a respect and trust that money simply cannot buy and in due time you would have been able to bring people together to do things they otherwise would not have. They may not have openly come out but they may have openly expressed support that could change the fate for those to come, and that my friend is a big win. Apologize profusely behind the scenes to them personally and issue a blanket apology publicly. Let everyone know you have seen the wrong of your ways and allowed your frustration to get the best of you. Promise those athletes individually and the young players you impacted that you will do everything your power to be worthy of the trust and respect that was given to you.

  1. Be the leader you needed

Remember a time when as a young man coming to grips with not only being gay but having to confront that reality as an athelete. Think about who you needed and who you became in order to help you through that. Many kids don’t have that person, that leader, that motivation to continue forward in the face of all the struggles they will face. Be the leader they need and you had or wish you had. Michael that person will change the world for the better.

  1. Publicly set the vision for the future

Publicly set the vision for the future as you would like to see it for gay athletes in sports. We all need a vision without it the scriptures say that the people will perish, not only the people but their hopes and dreams as well. Set a vision that will inspire and move others, gay and otherwise. In the end what you’re looking to achieve goes beyond sexual preference and gender, it is about a kid that has a dream and believes they matter and that they can be something in this life…who are we to take that away from them.

  1. Touch the People

Get to where people need you. Be a great voice and testament to the power of standing up for what you believe in. Your life serves a greater purpose Michael than just the game of football. Get out to the schools, the colleges, speak and be a liaison if not in the NFL then in College to help players and students on both sides of the issue. Help those athletes and students across college campuses who are gay and straight in how to deal with whatever issues you had to deal with. Michael what you can bring to the table for countless people is invaluable and you have a visible platform to do it from. You literally have the power to save lives.

Finish what you started, this is the biggest game you will ever play in and the purpose you choose to pursue will determine how you played the game. At the end of the day you can be a Hall of Famer on the greatest playing field ever…life.

 

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The #1 Reason For Failure In Business and Life

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There is a special law that I call the 2 times 3 to 4 or 2x 3/4, it means that something takes twice as long as you believed it would take and is 3 to 4 times harder than you thought it would be.

I have been in sales for many years in many types of industries. Most companies want to grow the business but where they fail is in aligning their expectations with the realities of business and life the 2x 3/4. Let’s face it the truth is that most companies and individuals do not properly plan and allow room for the success that they desire. Most people, companies and organizations will never have the true success they desire because they give up, turn course, fail to adjust and abandon plans before success can be achieved.

I was once on a call with Frank Maguire who was part of the senior leadership of FedEx, KFC, American Airlines and ABC. What fascinated me was his story about his time at FedEx. In the beginning of what is now this multi-billion dollar juggernaut the company was losing a million dollars or more each month. FedEx was in such a financial windfall that the senior management would go to an all-you-can eat restaurant, order one plate and share. FedEx chose to stay the course instead of abandon ship and have their story end before it truly began.

The #1 Reason for Failure in Business and Life is that most of us never account for the fact that the success we desire often will take two times longer than we wanted and be three to four times harder than what we expected or 2x 3/4. The raw truth that we fail to understand is that we are currently not equipped with the skills, knowledge or ability to achieve the great things we desire. Yes we may have the desire but we also must have the will, the raw determination to continue forward until we acquire the things we need that will ultimately lead to our success. Also it takes time before we can reach the critical mass necessary to get us to where we desire to be.

Through the obstacles and setbacks we are forged in the fires of learning and growth so that we are capable of achieving what it is that we desire. Taking into account the 2x 3/4 Law allows for the time necessary to experience, learn, grow and become. If you want to be a business, organization or person that achieves something of great measure it is crucial that you take this law into account otherwise you risk falling short of the success that awaits you.

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Dominic Copeland

President and Founder of The Copeland Institute For Excellence