Best Advice Ever?

Friday Funnel Focus by EPOCH Sales Management Solutions

Today, I am taking a break from our current theme of helping small business owners scale their teams from themselves to as many sales people as they want, be it 1,2, 5 or more.  I am sharing a story about some of the best advice I ever received.

Let’s set the stage. We were in Loogootee, Indiana (population 2,800) sitting on the benches of Loogootee High School gym (capacity 2,800).  For those of you who have seen the movie, “Hoosiers”; picture “Hickory High School”, but 20 years later and a bigger gym. 

There are only two of us. 

John O’Maley, former Loogootee St. John’s Basketball hero, also a 3 year guard on the USMA West Point basketball team, recruited by Bob Knight that was home on graduation leave from West Point.  Picture a 5’11” guy that can dunk a basketball. 


Then there was this 6’2”, 165 pound (dripping wet) kid that got cut from the JV basketball team his sophomore year that just graduated from Loogootee High School about to leave for “Beast Barracks”, the name at the time for the first summer for West Point New Cadets. That was me a bunch of years ago. 

About 15 months prior, John made a presentation to some Loogootee High Junior guys about West Point.  I bit and now I was about to start my journey at West Point.  

Again, the gym is empty except for the two of us.

John says, “Want to shoot some one-on-one?”  Like a fool, I say,”Sure”.

I don’t have to tell you. He kicked my butt. I was lucky to score any points.

We sat down and he asks, “What do you think West Point will be like?” “Like Hell”, I replied.

His answer, “Don’t worry, it will be worse. Want to play another game”. “Sure”. I replied.

Game two was a little closer. I am not saying it was close, but it was closer, but he still kicked my butt.

We sat down and he asks, “ Do you know how to spit-shine shoes?” “No, I replied.” He answers, “Don’t worry, they will teach you. Want to play one more game?” “Sure.” I replied.


At this point, I am getting a little fired up.  I was running and swimming a lot that summer, so I was in pretty good cardio shape, and in Loogootee most of the guys played basketball for fun year round.   If I did my best to not give him any easy set shots or let him around me for easy layups, I would try to use my 3 inches of height to impact his jump shot and see what happens.  The third game was much closer.  I would tie it up and he would go ahead. The game continued like this. We even had to play past the 11-11 tie, but the result was the same. He won again.

At the end of the game, he sat down and said, “David, you are going to see some “studs” and valedictorians flake out and give up or fail.  You will see some “wimps” and  “wuss’s” that can’t do a single pull up on day one, but graduate in the end.  It isn’t about how smart or how strong you are.  There isn’t a person here in Loogootee that would have given you a fighting chance in our one-on-one game today, but look at that third game.  You never gave up. You basically played me to a draw today.  It’s that determination, grit and resilience that will get you through West Point and life. Go make Loogootee proud and graduate.”

That 17 year old kid was ready to take on the world and four years later, I did graduate. Thank you John O’Maley.


PS Only John knows if he was toying with me in that third game or if he was a little hung over or just up all night with Joy.  But the message remains the same and I have never forgotten his advice.

And today, I say, it is never too late to pursue your dreams and make them come true, but it does take determination, grit and resilience.  Go forth and do great things!

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August 18th, 2023|Categories: | |

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