top of page

Defy the Odds

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Fly - Win

One day, I heard that the bumblebee with the way its body is shaped and its small wings, aerodynamically, should not be able to fly. And for every butterfly we see, hundreds and thousands more didn’t survive the many predators and stages that the caterpillar has to go through in order to transform into a beautiful butterfly. I thought, “If the bumblebee is not supposed to be able to fly, yet it'' defies the Odds” and flies anyway. And If the caterpillar “Defies the Odds” and transforms into the beautiful butterfly, then the things that you and I were not supposed to be able to do; we can “Defy the Odds” and do it.

So, what are your current dreams and goals? What is it that you have in your heart to do, be, achieve, accomplish or do more of?

Along the way, like most of us, you may have heard how hard, challenging, and difficult it will be. You may hear about others who attempted something similar but didn’t succeed.

Like Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express, you may even be told it is impossible to do what you desire to do. But guess what, some of the most successful people I know and have studied, and probably everyone who has achieved success in any field, like Oprah, Jeff Bezos of, Walt Disney, Les Brown, and others were told some of those things, but they decided to “Defy the Odds” and do it anyway. So can you!

Let me share some of my story and things I and other successful people have learned and applied to encourage you to “DEFY the Odds” and achieve your goals, live your dreams and become the success you desire to be.

Over my lifetime, I have had to "Defy the Odds" in many ways in order to be here today.

When I started in radio, women were primarily placed as a midday personality or sidekick to the lead male jocks. Very few women had their own morning show or got contracts and good salaries.

But, over the next few years, as I applied these keys, I began to be noticed and recognized. My voice began to stand out as being unique, distinctive and versatile. I became one of the few African American Women in my area to be offered a contract and given my own morning show. Now, I have enjoyed a successful career in the Radio and Music Industry for 33 years. I have authored several books, (including “How bad do you want to be blessed.”), I’ve traveled and worked with legendary motivational speaker Les Brown and business coach Jack Canfield.

But, as a child, I was insecure. My parents divorced when I was 8 years old, because my dad drank too much and became combative. Fights broke out every weekend. I developed a nervous condition and would break out in hives. I later developed severe eczema, migraine headaches and at the age of 12 years old; I was molested.

Yet, instead of being another statistic, following in the pattern of my dad, becoming an alcoholic, or spiraling downward into drugs and other destructive behavior, I defied the odds. I started going to church, developed a relationship with God and began to reach out to encourage others. Even before I ever achieved any success, I believed I could and I would. I believed others could as well..

Looking back over my life, encouraging and empowering people so that they will tap into their potential and walk in their greatness, is more than something that I am passionate about, it is what I believe I am called to do. So, I say to you today, that if I can “Defy the Odds,” and make it. So can you.

Now, I will agree that going after your dreams and goals may not be easy, but it’s possible. So, here are a few keys that I and countless other successful people have utilized to reach their goals and live their dreams.

In order To “Defy the Odds,” and Succeed:

You must believe that “It’s Possible”

When all of these devastating things were happening in my life, I could have gotten stuck in hurt, pain, hopelessness and despair, because I didn’t know what the future had in store for me. But, I believed that better was possible for me. So, you have to believe that better is possible for you. Believe that you can follow your dreams. Believe that you too can become successful.

Be clear on what you want

In the movie, “Space Jams,” starring basketball great, Michael Jordan, the scene starts with a young Michael outside in his backyard bouncing and shooting the basketball. His dad comes outside and sees Michael shooting the ball and making the shots. Young Michael already has thoughts of what he wants to do when he gets older, so he asks his father, “do you think I can play (college) ball at UNC?” His dad tells him that’s a fine school and he thinks it’s possible. Then Michael says, (after playing college ball), he wants to go to the NBA. His father lets him know “It’s possible.” And then young Michael says, “and after I do all of that, then I’m going to go play Major League Baseball”. And at that point, his dad tells him to slow down. It’s time to go inside.

Now, in the movie, during the dialogue between Michael and his dad, there are photo clips and footage of Michael playing ball in college at UNC, playing in the NBA and then playing Major League Baseball.

That scene shows us what it looks like to have a clear goal and believe. But, though we now know Michael Jordan as the great basketball player, he didn’t start that way. The first time he tried out for the basketball team in High School, he was cut. So what did he do, quit? No!

Be Determined and Diligent

Michael knew he wanted to play basketball. So, he became Determined and Diligent and did what he needed to do in order to accomplish his goals.

Put forth the Effort

Michael started putting forth the necessary effort to improve. He spent hours practicing, working on his ball handling and shooting. The next year, he makes the team; and the rest they say, is history. It is said, even at the top of his game while in the NBA, that Michael still spent hours on the basketball court working and shooting the ball from every angle on the court.

So, have a clear goal (know what you want to do, be or accomplish), Be Determined and Diligent to learn and do what you need to do in order to achieve it. Put in the time and Effort. And next, Focus and ReFocus.


I have found that the most successful are people who focus on the goal, project, assignment and whatever they are wanting to accomplish. Sylvester Stallone is an actor, writer and director of the movie “Rocky, parts 1-6”. The movie exemplifies these points and follows the story of a guy who has been boxing for a while, but has to “Defy the Odds,” in order to succeed.

Rocky and his trainer know that he has what it takes to make it, but he just hasn’t gotten the break. But, finally, the day comes when he gets the opportunity to fight the heavyweight champion of the world. He has a clear goal. He believes he can do it. He’s determined. He’s diligent. He puts forth the effort. He trains harder than he had ever trained up to that point. He is focused. And it pays off. He wins.

But then, after he becomes the champion. He enjoys his new fame, money, advantages and all the perks that can go along with success. It’s interesting that successful athletes have expressed that sometimes after they have been on top and then lose, it’s normally because they lost their edge; They lose sight of the thing that provokes and compels them to focus. My mentor and friend, legendary motivational speaker, Les Brown calls it, being hungry. He says, “You’ve got to be hungry.”

You’ve got to be hungry

When you are not hungry, you may do just enough to get by, but when you are hungry, you do whatever it takes.

Rocky was finally successful, but became distracted by the things success can bring with it. His trainer told him he wasn’t focused and training like he should for the upcoming fight. He told Rocky, “this guy is hungry, you ain’t been hungry since you won the title”; but Rocky didn’t take it seriously. On the other hand, Clubber, the opponent, was hungry to win. So, the same thing happened to Rocky that had happened to Apollo Creed when Rocky beat him because he wasn’t diligent and focused. Rocky was defeated and lost his title.

So, in Rocky 3, Apollo Creed starts working with Rocky to help him train to regain his title. Rocky is still grieving. He lost his trainer, his title, his confidence, his focus and his champion mindset. Rocky began doubting if he could make the comeback.

It’s important to surround yourself with people who can help you, encourage you, advise you and even stretch you.

During Rocky’s moments of doubt and questioning his abilities, thankfully those around him were able to encourage and remind him that he could do it.

When Rocky wasn’t putting forth his best efforts, wasn’t hungry to win his title back, Apollo gets upset with him and tries to provoke him into doing what he needs to do by saying, “Come on man, you got to have the eye of the tiger.” That’s what I think of when I say, “DEFY”. “Be Determined, Diligent, put forth the necessary Effort, be Focused and surround Yourself with key people and Yield the results .

After the conversation with Apollo and then with his wife Adrian, Rocky gets refocused. He once again has a clear goal, he is determined and diligent in his training to win, he puts forth the effort, and then he yields the results. Rocky wins the title again.

The thing that holds it all together and makes it work is the Champion’s Mindset.

Champion’s Mindset

You can call it a Winner’s Mindset or a Success Mindset. We saw it with Michael Jordan. We saw it with Rocky and you will see it with most successful people.

A Champion with a Success Mindset, understands that there may be some challenges, distractions, delays, obstacles, and setbacks. But, they don’t allow those things to stop them nor cause them to give up.

It is said, while working on the invention of the light bulb, Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he got it right. But, when Thomas Edison was asked about it, he didn’t see it as failure. He commented that he just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work, but it helped him eventually find the right way that did work.

Remember, one’s own thoughts and how you see things determine what you do, what you get, how or whether or not you reach your goals or destination. If you see things as hard, then it will be hard for you. If you see a thing to be possible, then success will be within your reach. So, see success as a process.The more you learn and consistently put these keys to work, you will unlock and open up more doors and opportunities for success.

Be Adjustable

Being adjustable is like a secret weapon that can help you come out on top, despite what you face in life.

In Rocky 2, Apollo and Rocky trained hard for a rematch with each other. Rocky’s trainer told him, in order for him to beat Apollo, he had to change the way he was used to training and fighting. Rocky was a southpaw, (left handed), so his trainer told him in order for him to gain an advantage, he had to learn how to fight right handed. Rocky said, “I can’t.” His trainer replied to him, “there is no can’t.” It was challenging to do at first, but Rocky changed and adjusted and won the fight.

In the world we live in today, things are changing so rapidly and the more we are able to adjust to the changes and know what to do and how to do it, the better off we will be.

So, despite the circumstances you may have grown up in, the environment, opposition, adversity or things you may face in the days ahead, remember, there is a Champion in you. Success is within your reach, so Go for it. And the next time you see or think about the bumble bee and butterfly flying around, be reminded of your ability to “Defy the Odds” and make it.

Much Success to You!

Alteresa Goode Howard

Defy the Odds - Fly - Win

10 views0 comments
bottom of page