Thursday, November 1, 2007

Learning from the Best - Part Deux

I had the chance to meet and talk with Jack Llewellyn earlier this week. If you don't know who he is, just think about John Smoltz. Jack Llewellyn is largely credited with "saving" John Smoltz's career several years ago. Llewellyn is one of the world's most renowned sports psychologists. For 17 seasons, he has worked with the Atlanta Braves, as well as many of the sports world's best athletes.

For more than an hour, a few of us had a gut-splitting time with Jack. He was telling us some of the funniest stories I have ever heard about professional athletes. After all, he worked with Mark Wohlers, John Rocker, Chuck Knobloch, and Macky Sasser (among others). We were all in tears by the end of the morning!

At one point when the conversation died down for a minute, we asked Jack what the most surprising thing would be from all his years working with the best of the best. His answer silenced the room. "Most of them (the athletes) are just miserable," he said.

It was a great reminder that "success" that is defined by the world's standards often times isn't success at all. Without naming names, he told us stories about broken families and marriages, and athletes who just couldn't overcome the poor choices they had made in life. The glitz and glamour of their celebrity couldn't buy them the thing they lacked: joy.

Llewellyn was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis three years ago. And, while you'd think he may have just thrown in the towel, he now uses this debilitating and frustrating disease to his advantage. He travels the country and speaks 40 times each year encouraging others who have MS.

He has found they key to joy: using what God gives you - good or bad - to be a blessing to others!

I can't wait to hang out with him again. He's a piece of work!

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