His previous day at work had been terrible. He felt he had let down his co-workers in a big way.
He left his workplace, changed clothes and went on a long run, to clear his head and shake off the anger and disappointment.
He knew he had something to prove.
Born in Flint, Michigan in 1967, he graduated from Flint Central High School where he was a stand-out student.
All through his young life, he was repeatedly told that he had no business choosing the profession he did. He had good days and bad days, but he held a deaf ear to the chatter that he wasn’t good enough, and should probably pick a different career path.
He obsessed on his reinvention, ignoring the naysayers and studying his plan. He studied day and night, looking for ways around the continuous obstacles that were thrown in his path.
While his peers were sleeping, he burned the midnight oil, learning new ways to accomplish his goal. He tirelessly sharpened his strategy and his approach to work.
When he was working, his competitors tried relentlessly to capitalize on his disadvantages, repeatedly failing in their efforts..
It wasn’t about proving to himself that he could do the work he loved; it was about showing the world that he was indeed capable of competence. He wanted to show the world he deserved a seat at the table.
On September 4, 1993, Jim Abbott accomplished what less than 300 pitchers in Major League Baseball history have ever accomplished. Abbott pitched a no-hitter for the New York Yankees against the Cleveland Indians, the same team that he had played so terribly against 5 days earlier.
Jim Abbott was born with one hand.
He finished his major league career with a losing record. He will never be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
But Jim Abbott is very much a winner.
His mental toughness and his focus and determination should be an inspiration to all of us.
What an unforgettable achievement he accomplished that September afternoon in 1993- virtual perfection (figuratively) with one hand tied behind his back.