Sunday, 3 January 2010

Achieving Your Goals and The Climb

I have to confess that I really love Joe McElderry's rendition of "The Climb". I'm afraid all the fuss about the movie Hannah Montana just passed me by and so Joe McElderry's version of this song was the first I heard. I did feel as though I had some sort of obligation to listen to the original and so I did but I was disappointed. It came up short in my estimation. I think that Joe McElderry does a better job in connecting with meaning of the lyrics of the song.

But why am I making a to-do about "The Climb"? It's because it beautifully sums up what you go through in achieving your goals.

Included in the lyrics of this song are the words are "sometimes I'm gonna have to lose" and "gotta keep my head held high" and the following story, compliments Les Brown, illustrates a great example of this.

Now, for those of you who don't know Les Brown, let me set the context of this story.

Les Brown and his twin brother were born on the floor of an abandoned building in an impoverished area of Miami Florida called, ironically, Liberty City. At age six, he and his brother were adopted by Mrs Mamie Brown.

Now Mrs Mamie Brown was a woman with a big heart rather than a big bank balance. In fact, she cleaned the homes of wealthy families in Miami Beach and Les Brown and his brother benefited from this by being able to wear the hand-me-downs of the children of these families and eating the left over food of the families she cooked for.

Les Brown loved his Momma with every fibre of his being and it was his childhood dream to be able to buy his Momma a home as grand as the ones she cleaned. And he fulfilled that dream.

He bought a house in El Portal, North Miami Beach. ("El Portal" doesn't that name expand your imagination?) The house was 10,000 square feet, located on a golf course and had 12-foot deep swimming. It was beautiful.

But disaster struck.

You see he neglected to do a title search on the house and it turned out that there was a $50,000 tax lien on the property which he was unable to pay for.

He lost the home.

And he and Mrs Mamie Brown had to return to the cockroach-infested house in Liberty City. You can imagine the humiliation he must have felt and the sniggers from the neighbours.

On the day that they returned Les Brown couldn't contain his emotions. He was crying uncontrollably until Mrs Mamie Brown spke sternly to him and said:

"Hold your head up."

To which he responded:

"Momma, I feel so stupid right now."

Now she may have been 75 but she was not a woman to be trifled with. She placed her hand under his chin and forced his chin upwards.

"I said hold your head up."

She was moving away from him as she spoke her next words:

"You have nothing to be ashamed of. We still have each other."

That was a defining moment in Les Brown's life. She could have berated him about not doing the title search and made him feel even worse about the situation than he did but she saw no point in doing that. She wasn't one for looking backwards and lamenting over what might have been. Plus she had been around long enough to know that there are some things that money simply cannot buy.

There are going to be times in life when you lose but no matter how bad things get you can always find some good in your situation. And when you hold your head up high instead of letting your chin weigh on your chest your perspective on life changes for the better.

Les Brown said in the moment when Mrs Mamie Brown forced him to hold his head up he saw a new house.

It had been a tough 'climb' to escape Liberty City and an all too rapid descent from El Portal back to Liberty City but you can bet he learned a great deal from his experience.

To achieve your goals you're going to have to climb many mountains. There's no avoiding it. But you can achieve your goals so long as you keep moving, keep climbing and above all keep the faith.