Official or not. We all enter into the “Hall of Fame” of life.

We are all remembered for at least one thing. Some good and some bad.

So what Hall of Fame will be inducting you??

I was very honored and humbled to be inducted into my high school’s athletic Hall of Fame last week. It was truly an honor to be recognized alongside my fellow athletes that had accomplished so much during their high school years. However, as I was preparing my speech for the event I realized there is so much more for all of us to accomplish. The entrance into one Hall of Fame should be motivating us to leave a legacy in other areas of life. This is merely the beginning not the end.

My nickname growing up was “Mr. Molasses” because I was the slowest moving person in the neighborhood. I would start delivering the newspaper at 6 AM and it would almost be time for lunch by the time I was done. Lucky for me my parents were always motivating me to do my best and I would not have had any self-worth without them. I wouldn’t have even stepped foot on the track in 7th grade if I didn’t have the shred of confidence that maybe this whole running thing could work out. Ultimately, I was a fat kid trying to lose weight and found myself getting faster as the season progressed.

High school athletics gave me my first feeling of purpose. My mission was clear, “Give everything you have and when you don’t have anything left, give more.”

Without my coach Matt Luck and running mentor Don Bosley I would have quit running track numerous times. However, they motivated me to stick to my passion and instilled a mental toughness that has made all the difference throughout my entire life. They made me realize that hard work and sacrifice was what made success worth chasing.

Although “Mr. Molasses” was a distant memory I received a new nick name, “Wheezy.” I developed excercise induced asthma and discovered I was allergic to grass. Unfortunately, every track I ran on was around freshly cut grass for every invitational. I suppose the logical thing would have been to quit. However, what’s the fun in that?? I was at the doctor after every track meet because I couldn’t stop coughing and was having trouble breathing. Thanks mom and dad for paying all those medical bills!!!

Lucky for me I was able to break a couple school records and win numerous individual and team awards when I wasn’t making my weekly visit to the local Cleveland Clinic offices. Although quitting would have been the easy way out I’m so glad I battled through. I learned that it is everything we endure when no one else is looking that matters if we are to achieve lasting success.

My challenge to you my fellow leaders is to make the decision today to BEGIN the journey towards the Hall of Fame you want to remember you. The journey itself will be unpredictable and there will be obstacles you could not have even imagined. However, focus entirely on the crystal clear vision of the END of the journey. Who will remember you and why??

I look forward to your induction into the Hall of Fame of your community, career, family and friends.

Enjoy your day!

— James R. Schleicher