Ted Williams. The name of a man beloved by generations of Americans throughout the decades.  A name that conjurs up memories of ballparks, home runs, and heroic slides into homeplate. Over the years, the name Ted Williams has become synonymous with excellence in baseball..until now.  Another Ted Williams has emerged and grabbed America by the heartstrings bringing new meaning to the name. It is no longer just synonymous with baseball, but also with…redemption and second chances.
We have all heard the story. A homeless man panhandling on a dreary off ramp in Columbus, Ohio holds a sign that simply says “ I have a God given voice. I’m an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times…Please help”. A local news reporter finds it interesting so he asks him to “work for his dollar”. Thanks to a video camera, YouTube, and the law of exponential growth, Ted Williams has gone from a homeless man to a household name in a matter of days. He has had appearances on the Today Show, radio interviews, and employment offers from around the country. It is estimated that Ted Williams could make upwards of two million dollars this year.
What a story! Drugs and alcohol steal the future of a promising radio announcer only to be given a second chance. It’s like winning the lottery…or is it?
I keep hearing the comparison between Ted William’s story and winning the lottery and I can’t disagree more. I am not blind to the fortuitous cirmcustances that led to his new found fame, but what is being overlooked in the media is the fact that Ted Williams, despite his faults, was READY!! Lets look at the facts. 1. Ted Williams has natural ability. His voice is deep and rich. 2. He went to school to develop his natural voice into a “voice for radio.” 3. He is no stranger to the control room. He knows the equipment and the process. 4. Ted Williams had his pitch down cold: “When you’re listening to nothing but the oldies, you’re listening to Magic 98.9.” When the reporter said “I’m going to make you work for your dollar”, Ted Williams didn’t stutter, stammer, or back away. He jumped at the chance to perform what he has so obviously been practicing for years. When the opportunity came, Ted Williams grabbed it and became an overnight sensation…25 years in the making.
What about you?  Do you believe in luck?  Or do you believe that you create your own? The Roman philosopher Seneca said “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”.  Does Ted Williams find himself in his current circumstance because he has a deep voice? NO.  Many people have deep voices.  It is the combination of raw talent, developed talent, and good old fashioned preparation.
Whether you are in sports, the arts, in sales, education, or any myriad of professions,  defining moments appear regularly. Most people are not prepared to meet them and miss out.

1.        EXCELLENCE IN WHAT YOU DO. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, mastery is    achieved after 10,000 hours of practice. When you practice every day, grabbing the defining moments becomes second nature.
2.        FOCUSED EXPERTISE.  The more specific you can be in defining what you do, the easier it is to find a fit. Ted Williams didn’t have a sign that said “ I have a great voice put me to work”, he said he can do voiceover work thus making it easy to identify his value.
3.        AFFABILITY. People want to do business with those whom they like and trust. Ted Williams is a humble, likeable guy. If he had been arrogant, smug, or ornery, the response would have been negligible. Be nice.

      Patrick Henry is a professional speaker who shows audiences how to create extraordinary customer,      client, and coworker experiences. He is what happens when keynotes, comedy, and concerts…collide ! Please visit his website at


  1. Dave on January 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    You are right on Patrick. God had been preparing Ted for this “overnight” fame for a long time.

    I always knew that you were good looking and could sing, now I realize you are a deep thinker too. Very well put.

  2. PQsongwriter on February 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I recently re-read a book called “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. Darren also talks about getting lucky. What he adds to complete the formula Seneca outlines are Attitude and Action:
    1) Preparation (personal growth) +
    2) Attitude (belief/mindset) +
    3) Opportunity (a good thing coming your way) +
    4) Action (doing something about it) =
    Great post, Patrick! I am freshly encouraged because of your efforts to communicate.

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