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Turn Your Talent Into A Lifetime of Success

Author and motivational speaker Pat Williams shares how to maximize your passion and natural gifts. Read Transcript

NARRATOR: It's an understatement to say Pat Williams looks

at the bright side of things.

He's one of America's top motivational speakers

and has inspired millions of people.

As an NBA executive that led 23 teams to the playoffs

and co-founded the Orlando Magic,

he's written dozens of books and still finds

time to raise his 19 children.

Even cancer couldn't dampen his outlook on life.

In his book, "The Success Intersection,"

Pat offers a clear roadmap to identify your greatest talent

and outlines how to focus that talent on achieving your goals.

Well, joining me now is Pat Williams

and it's always a pleasure to have you.

Hey, Gordon.

It's great to have you back.

I'm so glad to see you.

Good to see you.

It's always good to be here.

It's good to see you in good health.

Thank you.

And that is wonderful news.

Thank you.

The doctor's reports are good, Gordon,

so I'm encouraged [INAUDIBLE].

I like good doctor's reports.

That's right.

That's right.

You go to the doctor with something

and you're kind of fearful and then when you get

the good report, you go, yeah.



That's always a good feeling.


Let's get back to work.


I find it kind of incredible that your dream growing up

was you wanted to be a baseball player.

Well, that's true.

Pat, my roots are in baseball.

My dad took me to my first major league ball game.

I was seven years old.

We went to the ball game in Philadelphia, Shibe Park, 21st

and Lehigh Avenue.


Connie Mack was still managing the Philadelphia A's.


The Cleveland Indians were in town for a Sunday afternoon

doubleheader-- they don't do them anymore--

but there we were.

And I was immediately captured by the sights

and the sound and the smell and the color of baseball.

I remember waking up as a seven-year old.

The next morning, I knew exactly what

I wanted to do with my life.

I wanted to be a ballplayer.

And so through school and then on to Wake Forest

and into the Phillies organization, I was a catcher

and I got to play and I got a shot in the pro ranks.

But it became apparent after my second year

in minor league baseball that I wasn't

going to get to the big leagues as a catcher.

The Phillies saw something in me and they said, you know,

you've got a future, we think, in the front office.

And they gave me some opportunities

in their minor league farm system, including

four years in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where

I ran their minor league team.

Did they tell you what they saw?

Well, the only thing I can tell you is this, Pat--

the scout in North Carolina who followed me through college did

send reports in on me and it listed my baseball skills

and non-skills.

And then he wrote, "Has a future in the front office,"

said this scout.

GORDON: The scout said?

Wes Livengood, "Has a future in the front office."

So they must have seen something.

They saw my interest, first of all.

They saw my enthusiasm.

They saw the passion I had for baseball

and they saw some leadership skills

that I would not have recognized or been aware of.

And so the Phillies said, OK, we're

going to send you to Spartanburg.

I was 24 years old and you're going

to be the general manager of this minor league ball club


Well, that was quite an experience.

I spent four years there at beautiful Duncan Park

trying to-- promoting and putting

people in the ball park.

And the Phillies sent some good teams to us with young players

and it was a marvelous experience.

And so I was there for those four years,

not knowing where I was headed.

I had become a Christian in the process

so I had been able, at that point, to take

my hands off my career because they'd been all over my career

and maneuvering and trying to work my way to the top

and being noticed.

And after I became a Christian, it was a different outlook.

I just said, OK, Lord, I'm taking my hands off this

and I'm in your hands.

And within months, I get a call from the Philadelphia

76ers basketball team about coming to Philadelphia

to help run the front office of the 76ers at age 28.

GORDON: Now, how did they hear about you?

Go figure.

A good question.

Jack Ramsey was the coach, becoming

the coach and the GM of the 76ers and I'd never met him

and he called me out of a clear blue sky and said,

I'd like to talk to you about coming here.

I once asked him, I said, Jack, what was that all about?

And all he ever said was there was a lot more known about you

in Philadelphia than you would have thought,

referring to the Phillies minor league ball

club in Spartanburg.

GORDON: So they were bragging on you.

Well, and the newspaper people had come down

and done some stories on us in Spartanburg, about promotions

and the things we were doing.

And I guess Jack said-- and Jack probably had read that--

didn't know me but that's what he

said-- he said there was more known about you in Philadelphia

than you thought.

And so he brought me up there and I spent that first year

with him.

And then one year later, I'm heading

to Chicago as the general manager of the Chicago Bulls

in the fall of 1969.

So I was on a fast track and my hands were off of it, Gordon,

and there's a good lesson here.

God was orchestrating all of this

because I wasn't orchestrating any of it--

couldn't have.

To young people who are saying, boy, I want to get ahead,

this, that and the other, I'm saying, wait for God's timing.

GORDON: Right.

You know, he--

GORDON: Advancement comes from the Lord.


That's what the Bible says.

And he'll take care of you and he'll get you where he wants.

And so just take your hands off of your career

and let God orchestrate it.

I'm living proof.

GORDON: You have to be diligent.

I know you--

PAT: That's right.

GORDON: You're very diligent.

PAT: And do your work and do your job.

GORDON: Yes. and do it well.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it well.

PAT: Good.

Gordon, and here's the best thing I tell young people,

don't worry about your next job.

Do your job right where you are and max it out,

volunteer for everything.

Be one of those people who says, what else can I do?

What else can I offer?

And if God wants to move you and has other plans, he'll do it.

GORDON: I get this question a lot--

and I know some viewers are probably

having it right now-- how do I find my passion?

How do I discover what I'm really good at so

that when the two come together, I can be successful?

Well, that's the meat of this book.

When your greatest talent intersects with your greatest

passion, that's your sweet spot right there.

Right there at that crossover-- that's your sweet spot.

And that's where you want to live.

That's where you want to get paid.

And that's where you want to get educated.

I think another way of phrasing it, Gordon, is God's will.

God dispatches us down on this earth

with certain skills, certain talents, certain abilities.

And I think it's important-- and I need to speak to parents

and grandparents, coaches, and teachers, and youth workers--

boy, you have a big job with young people

to recognize talent that they have--

to recognize certain skills, recognize certain potential

in young people.

GORDON: Right, and call it out.

And tell them about it.

GORDON: Yeah, call it out.

You know, to an eighth grade girl--

Mary, you've got some real writing ability.

You know, I'm so impressed with the way you write.

I think you've got a future there.

Well, Mary's not going to forget that.

Or Fred, I see leadership potential in you.

I don't know where it's headed, but I tell you

what, you lead in the classroom and I notice you out

on the playground, the other kids are following you.

You've got great leadership potential.

Listen, Fred's going to remember that.

So we have a big job with our children and grandchildren

to really recognize talent and spot it and encourage it.

And then when a kid or any of us become good

at something, Gordon, we're excited.


We're enthusiastic and we're passionate about it,

if we're seeing success.

How do you deal with the negative?

Because, you know, for all the positive voices--

and I know you're really oriented

to that and to the positive to be encouraging--

what do you tell somebody who has been told by a teacher,

you'll never amount to anything?

Or the parents that say, you're just

going to be like your father or whatever--

the real negative stuff that can sometimes come your way.

What would you tell someone how to deal with that?

Well, that's a great question and it's

a great problem, isn't it?

GORDON: Yes, it's true.

And I would say, Gordon, is to hopefully surround yourself

with enough of the positive to eliminate the negative

or to alleviate or minimize the negative.

If there are enough positive people in your life,

I think they can overcome it.

These are called voices in your head.


I encourage people to get the voice

of God going in your head.

And that's why you are--

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.


And he has given you certain things, too, for you

to develop.

And you've got to just flush that into your brain.

And Gordon, let me try and phrase this properly.

Walt Disney called these people well poisoners.


Well poisoners.

These are negative, downtrodden, defeated,

people who want to drag you down, as well.

And Walt's advice was, you've got

to get them out of your life.

Now, if that happens to be your spouse--

GORDON: You've got a problem.

--or if it happens to be a parent,

but if it's a boyfriend or girlfriend--


--or if it's certain friends or if it's people that you do

have that opportunity, you just have to get them out

of your life--


--because these well poisoners will destroy you--


--if you let them.

And you've got to keep that wellspring going,

because life's hard.

It can come at you hard but if you

have that strength within you that you can overcome it,


And if you get around people, Gordon, who are constantly

encouraging you and uplifting you and rooting for you

and they're cheerleaders for you, boy, that's important.

That is so powerful, so meaningful.

And specifically, if it's your parents or grandparents

who are saying, boy, I see some talent here, son.


I see some talent.

I can picture you doing this, that, and the other

and planting those seeds--

putting a vision into their minds in their hearts

as youngsters--

GORDON: Yeah, all parents should do that.

--it sticks.

It sticks, Gordon.


It doesn't go away.

Prophesy good things every occasion.

That's so good.

All right.

Well, the book is called "The Success Intersection"

and it's available wherever books are sold.

And, Pat, it's always a pleasure to have you here.

Thanks for having me, Gordon.

It's good to see you.

I'm so pleased to see you.



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