Channel Your Inner Jim Thorpe and Accomplish Anything

“You can have your reasons, or your results, but not both.” As coaches, we sometimes observe that our coachees make excuses when their performance is less than desired, but if they knew how to channel their inner Jim Thorpe, they could accomplish whatever they wanted.

Jim Thorpe is one of the greatest examples in history of the character and perseverance it takes to accomplish any goal no matter what hurdles are ahead. Thorpe learned how to overcome adversity at a very young age, having lost his twin brother at age 9 and both of his parents shortly after. When Thorpe was competing in the 1912 Olympics, his shoes were stolen just before his first race, but this didn’t stop him. He found two mismatched shoes in the trash and one of the shoes was too big so he wore extra socks. With his borrowed shoes, he went on to win two Gold medals. In 1999 Jim Thorpe was named the Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century, beating out Mohammed Ali, Babe Ruth, and countless others. This is a perfect reminder that you don’t have to resign yourself to the excuses that have held you back. Rather, in the face of adversity, demonstrate a tenacious orientation to accomplishing your desired outcomes.

At #AvionConsulting our customized #LeadershipDevelopment programs promote a strong “can do” mentality in leaders no matter what is going on around them. When delivering feedback and coaching we notice that our coachees differ in the ownership mindset they exhibit. Some coachees approach development with a Jim Thorpe-like dogged determination, and others’ development efforts are derailed by the slightest adversity.

Have you faced hurdles as a leader that seemed impossible to overcome but you found a way to persevere anyway? Your story may inspire others just as Jim Thorpe’s does and we appreciate you sharing your experience. We also invite you to join our newsletter for further discussion at

August 6, 2019