Buffini & Company Blog

Overcoming Adversity – an Interview with Dick Hoyt

It’s possible to overcome adversity and achieve incredible things in life simply by making up your mind. Over 20 years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing trailblazing athlete Dick Hoyt, who recently passed away. Dick shared how his son, Rick, born a quadriplegic and unable to speak or control his limbs, told him he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. From that first race, when Dick pushed Rick in his wheelchair and his son confided how he didn’t feel disabled when they ran together, the two men went on to complete over 1,000 races, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons. Here are some of the top takeaways from our fascinating conversation:

Make Up Your Mind

When Rick was born, he was given a very poor prognosis by his doctors. However, Dick refused to think of his son as in any way lesser. Instead, he decided that Rick was going to be included in everything. Key to this attitude was a made-up mind. He remarked, “If you don’t have your mind made up and set, you’re not going to be able to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish.” Later, when Rick confided how running made him feel free, Dick took the same attitude. Despite all the obstacles they had to face, he vowed not to get discouraged. He made up his mind that they were going to go out and do the things they wanted to, no matter what.

Never Give Up

Dick and Rick were able to break down a lot of barriers along the way because they never gave up and they never took no for an answer. From getting a special chair designed for Rick, to securing permission to enter races as a tandem when officials refused them, they defied all the odds, overcoming negativity and criticism to fulfil their dreams and reach their goals. As Dick said, “Don’t tell me I can’t do it. Tell me what I have to do so I can do it.”

Manage Your Time

As his calendar got busier and busier and he had to juggle intense training with all of his other daily activities and engagements, managing time became a focus for Dick. Mapping out short- and long-range goals was critical, as was prioritizing what was really important. While race day was the fun part, much as sale day is the fun part for a real estate agent, it was the dogged commitment to consistent training that always got Team Hoyt successfully over the finish line. Just like working by referral, winning the day was done in between races.

Working by referral means having a consistent level of contact with, and care for, your customers at all times. If you go above and beyond to exceed your clients’ expectations, you will build the kinds of solid, long-lasting relationships that will ensure the referrals always pour in. Then, you too will cross the finish line on race day and get your just reward! Throughout his extraordinary life, Dick looked forward to every new day and the challenges that lay ahead. To learn more, listen to the latest episode of “The Brian Buffini Show.”

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