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By Kim Ades

RISMEDIA, August 9, 2008-I’m not really a sports fan, but I love good stories. Here’s one that I couldn’t resist.

Basketball player Leon Powe is the eldest of seven siblings. His father took off when he was seven years old, and one of his younger brothers burned down their house in an accidental fire that was set while playing with matches. They lost everything.

Over the following years, they stuck together as a family as much as possible, moving more than 20 times in six years, sleeping in motels, one-bedroom apartments, abandoned cars and homeless shelters while his mother, Connie Landry, did her best to provide food for her children.

When Powe was 10, his mother was caught stealing groceries and was put in jail. The children were placed in foster homes. No matter how difficult it was, or how many obstacles crossed their path, Powe’s mom always found a way to provide for them. He says, “It was hard, but she made a way out of no way.” This ideology, albeit unintentionally, set the foundation for Powe’s success.

Powe landed at Oakland Technical High School where he found a father figure in Bernard Ward. Ward influenced Powe to improve his grades and stay focused to succeed in life. He also found a home with the school basketball team. It seemed as if all was turning around for Powe and starting to fall into place when his mom died suddenly.

Powe says of his mother, “Mom said that when she saw me play it made her happy. Every time I get stuck, I just remember what she went through, what my siblings went through and what I went through.” Four days after her death, he stepped onto the court and played the championship game of his life, catching the eye of University of California at Berkley. A few weeks later, he tore the anterior ligament in the knee (ACL). Still, the university gave him a basketball scholarship; his talent, his work ethic and his academic success served him well. In his first game as a freshman after surgery, he led in scoring and rebounds and was named the team’s MVP. And, then he injured his knee, again.

Powe kept going strong throughout his college career and was eventually drafted by the Boston Celtics.

89lead_web.jpgOne of the most significant factors in Powe’s life is that he used his thoughts to propel himself toward success. He maintained a clear and focused mindset toward his goals and dreams.

Here are the four steps to achieve stratospheric success:

Journaling-Practice writing down your thoughts and feelings. Writing has the power to transform our lives; from confronting our battles to exploring our dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Vision-In order to get where you’re going, you have to identify what it is you want. If you don’t have a clear picture of what is ideal for you, then it will be very difficult to attract it into your life.

Imagine yourself as though you have already achieved your goals. A great way to practice this is to create conversations in your journal. They are a reflection of who you are and they also reflect what you think and feel about yourself.

Grow your relationships-Pay attention to the people in your life who fuel you. Powe was drawn to and led by strong, healthy people.

Leverage your circumstances-Powe’s mother died four days before a major championship game. He did not let this defeat him. Instead, he was able to tune in to all the goodness of her life and the lessons she taught him, her spirit and her support to relate her death to his success.

I love the lesson in Powe’s story and I absolutely believe that we can be the authors of our own life story-that our lives don’t have to be dictated by circumstance; that we can in fact create the story of our life.

kim_ades.jpgKim Ades, MBA, president of Opening Doors and Frame of Mind Coaching, is one of the industry’s foremost experts on performance and success in real estate sales.

For more information, please visit Ades can be reached at