Tee-Shirt Message

“Never, never, never give up.”    Sir Winston Churchill

The harder you train, the smaller your obstacles become” were the words imprinted on the back of his tee-shirt. We were with our grandkids at a yogurt shop in Orange Beach — everyone  was chomping into delicious desserts. Fifteen-year old Chase, when questioned about the meaning of the motto he was sporting on his comfortable apparel, responded quizzically that he was uncertain about the slogan; nor could he remember how he acquired that particular shirt.

Initially, my reaction to Sir Churchill’s slogan was positive; but then, after speedily reflecting on the challenges I hurdled throughout my life’s journey, I remembered  some moments when I had trained hard, but the results were less than desired. Sometimes, the obstacles seemed to mount at the exact moment when I made the greatest effort. Have you had such an experience?

You are prepared. You have done your homework. You make the effort . . . yet the outcome is devastating . . . disastrous . . . and you are literally knocked to the ground. What do you do at this moment? What you expected, after hard work and diligent training now seems unachievable.   Now what?

I know what to do. I have done it so many times that it is indelibly pressed into my memory – into my soul. I know it with all my heart. It is what my mother, Lucille, lived by example throughout her entire life. So many times, in the darkest moments of Lucille’s own personal journey – in a universal language that anyone can understand — she practiced a simple effective success formula:

“When knocked down in life, pick yourself back up and try again. Never give up, even when the challenge is the toughest and the victory seems farther away. Never ever give up!”

The company my wife Carol and I own, Hackbarth Delivery Service, is a great example of a business that, in any dimension, should not exist today. In 1979, after Hurricane Frederick, we faced numerous challenges so great that a company of our size could have been permanently decimated. Literally, hanging on by a thread does not equate our dire circumstances – we could not even find the thread!

The strongest memory I have from those dark days, is that Carol and I approached each day with one commitment. Every single day, we got up with one mental message. Simple words, but very hard to execute.  Easy to say, but tough to do:

Today, I will not give up.

 Despite encountering tougher and more taxing challenges with each passing day, our greatest efforts were diligent, and we accomplished exactly what was required by getting up and not giving up.   Simple Success. Easy to comprehend, but requiring the best of you.  Do not give up!

Is this a real solution? Does this really work? Yes. I watched my mom again and again, back to the wall, succeed. Sometimes, success came only after getting back up after being knocked down several times.

Because of a never give up mindset, Hackbarth Delivery Service now serves in 39 locations within 11 states. I am extremely proud of so many team members who have made this possible.  And yet, I remember a moment, a long time ago, when it was almost all gone. How important was it, at that moment in the past, to get back up and believe?

What will tomorrow mean for you and the important people who surround you if you do not give up after being knocked down? What difference will it make? Tomorrow and today are forever connected. What are you doing today that will matter tomorrow?

I like the message on grandson Chase’s tee-shirt. Training and preparation are important. Borrowing from a life I remember and learned from, I am adding a few words to create a new tee-shirt:

“The harder you train, the smaller your obstacles become and . . . If you get knocked down, get back up.” Lucille C. Hackbarth

Thanks, Mom!

Today and for the rest of my life . . .

I will never give up.

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