Inspiring Comeback Stories

How To Handle Adversity

There was an article a few years back that asked the reader which person in a courtroom they identified with most, and the answer indicated a lot about the reader’s makeup.

Between the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, defendant, witnesses, jurors, the court reporter, clerk, deputy, and gallery members, I chose the defendant—whom I surmised was innocent.

What this revealed was I often root for the underdog—and see myself that way, too. That’s why I love a good comeback. Someone who gets beat down or can beat the odds and bounce back is inspiring to me.

So I compiled some of my favorite underdog and comeback stories and created a mini book. The “Comeback” book is free for the asking ( and below are a few excerpts.

Credit Cards Kept Her Idea Alive

As a sales trainer for an office supply company, Blakely was required to wear panty hose—which she hated. So she set out to design what would become Spanx. She kept her day job while shopping her idea around—with no luck for four years—and worked at Danka (her employer) until Spanx sales reached $4 million, then she went out on her own.

Don’t quit your day job.

Was Found Passed Out in a Stranger’s Home

Downey’s addiction problems were legendary—even by Hollywood standards. In 2000, he spent a year in prison for drug possession after multiple arrests. After he cleaned up, he became one of the most respected and highest paid actors in Hollywood. “I don’t drink these days. I’m allergic to alcohol and narcotics. I break out in handcuffs,” Downey said.

It is possible to overcome addiction.

Lost Her Left Arm in a Shark Attack

While surfing her home break on Kauai, Bethany had her left arm ripped off by a Tiger Shark. Within weeks she was surfing again, then competing (and winning) with only one arm. “Soul Surfer,” a feature film and best selling book about her ability to bounce back have inspired millions. “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you,” Said Hamilton.

Don’t make excuses, make things happen.

Barely Able to Pay The Bills on His Teacher’s Salary

As a teenager, Morris was a top pitching prospect until his arm gave out. After several surgeries he hung up his cleats and became a teacher and baseball coach in a small town. His players encouraged him to attend a tryout where he dazzled the scouts with 97 mph fastballs and made it to the major leagues at age 35 as a left-handed reliever for the Rays.

It’s never too late to try.

Master Studio Tapes for New Album Were Stolen

Green Day’s 1994 debut album “Dookie” was an enormous success—one they couldn’t match with their next three releases. In 2003, they recorded a new album, but the master tapes were stolen from the studio. They started from scratch and the result was “American Idiot,” a Grammy-winning smash hit.

Bad things happen for a reason, often a good one.


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Inspiring Comeback Stories

The Comeback

To comeback from something negative isn’t easy, but people do it all the time and are better for it. There are a lot of obvious and simple things to do when attempting to bounce back from adversity, but I want to offer three things that we may have not thought about and go against the grain.


Go ahead and channel our anger in a positive way and use it to push us past obstacles or objections. Whether it’s to say to the naysayers, “Oh yeah, just watch me. I’ll show you,” or to let the anger fuel our fire to do more and try harder.

Having a purpose that is bigger than us can be just what we need to find the strength to go for it and get past what is holding us back. Maybe it’s a cause, our customers, our kids, our company, or something else that we want to make a comeback for.

Whether others let us down or not, taking control of our own destiny and making a commitment to ourselves to do all we can is empowering. Not relying on others and taking charge of turning things around is better than waiting and hoping someone else will do it for us.

After a down year in 2016, things have turned around for me in 2017, but the comeback isn’t quite complete. If you know of any group that needs a keynote or breakout speaker, please let me know. I would really appreciate it.

The Comeback