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If you get caught up in all this March Madness then you have to be just as stunned as the rest of the world that Lehigh beat Duke. According to ESPN there were over 6 million brackets filled out this year and not a single one picked some of these upsets. You have all these statisticians and prognosticators who just babble nonstop about who is going to win, and who is the best player and the best coach, and they think they are all that and more when it comes to predictions. They put on their fancy suits and slap on a big smile and lights, camera, action, and they just start spewing predictions to anyone who will listen.  

Guess what….they missed it! All of them, every last one of them. They get paid a bunch of money not to miss it, but they did; they completely missed it on many levels. Many of them probably never heard of Norfolk State much less picked them to win a game. Did ESPN flash Kyle O’Quinn up on some list as an exceptional player? Absolutely not and neither did any of the other geniuses of the basketball world because this kid was not offered a scholarship by anyone other than his current coach. I saw him interviewed and he said, “I have no idea where I would be if Coach Evans had not thought I had the ability to play for him.” It only takes one person to believe in you. Kyle had Coach Evans. Coach Anthony Evans is the person who looked at this young man and saw value and potential. Wouldn’t you love to know what Coach Evans’ salary is versus what the coach from Missouri makes! That’s the team he beat. Goodness knows, he makes much, much much less than say the Kentucky coach or even the Ohio State coach. I feel fairly confident the gap is pretty big. Therefore, a large salary does not equate with the ability to lead a team to victory.

Be a game changer.

Let’s talk about Lehigh …do you think there is a single player on the Lehigh team who Duke recruited? Again, I feel very safe saying absolutely not, yet they beat the number two seeded team like a red-headed step child. I would be willing to bet that Duke’s shoe budget is more than Lehigh’s entire basketball budget! The Final Four teams left standing were not the ones the vast majority had on that little bracket that everyone fills out. Yes, many had Kentucky, but I don’t really consider them a college team. They are more NBA to me!

The point I’m trying to drive home here is that we all have this little inner voice that talks to us all the time. We wake up every morning and that voice is saying, “It’s useless it’s impossible; it’s risky; it’s pointless; it’s time consuming; it’s hopeless and on and on and on.” The sad thing is that so many of us listen to that voice. We even agree with it and encourage it and allow it to be the lead dog. What if Lehigh had listened to that inner voice? Lehigh, you can’t beat Duke. I mean they are bad to the bone. They are past National Champions. The basketball gods bless them every single day. They eat teams like you for an afternoon snack. In reality, they should have just dropped Duke a note in the mail and said, “We thank you for the kind invitation to play you in the NCAA Tournament, but we regret to inform you that we will be unable to attend the big dance; our party dresses have not arrived. Therefore, please send us our check; just give yourself the W (for a win), and we wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.” I mean that would seem like the sensible thing to do if you had been Lehigh. In doing this, that little voice would have convinced them that they were not good enough to even be on the same court with a team like Duke. They were going to get chewed up and spit out. Well guess what, here’s a newsflash for you if you don’t watch basketball. Lehigh won! Yes sir!

They looked in the mirror and said to that negative voice, “Yes, we can beat Duke! We are just as capable as they are. We have put in long hours and hard work. We have confidence. We believe in ourselves. We put on our uniforms the same way they do. We have value. We have worth. Now, we are going to go out and show those basketball gods that they need to spread the love because we are created exactly like the other guys.” They listened to their hearts. They believed in each other. They said, “Hey, if it’s not us then it’s going to be someone else. So we are going to go out there and give it all we’ve got and show that hard work pays off.”

Believing you can make a difference or you can change or realizing you are not worthless is a step in the right direction. My family can tell you from personal experience just like Lehigh can, that the little voice that tells you in a faint whisper day after day …”Hey, walk away it’s pointless. Hello this is risky; you better not do it. Knock, knock, this a hopeless situation; don’t waste your time on it. Come on man, this is an impossible situation. Walk away…fast! You’ve got a million things to do and this is not on the list.” You all know that voice I’m talking about don’t you? The voice that tells you don’t give the man holding a sign at the street corner that reads, “I need help” any money. The voice says they will just use it for beer and cigarettes. Yeah, that voice. I hope that you will have the courage to tell that voice to SHUT UP! Trust me…it is never pointless or worthless or hopeless….it is life changing. If you believe you can make a difference, you can have an impact like none other.

America loves an underdog. Even though everyone knew Duke losing would be a bracket buster, I’m willing to bet that most folks watching that game were pulling for Lehigh. I had Duke in the Final Four and I was cheering for Lehigh like a crazy person. That’s human nature. We should all be pulling for the little guy. We should be patting them on the back and telling them you can do it. We have faith in you. Mike Krzyzewski, the Duke coach, said after his team’s loss, “This game will take you to incredible highs, and it will also take you to incredible lows.” Well, so will your life. The trick is not to let that little voice talk you into going to the low places on a regular basis. Don’t let those low places convince you that you are superior or better than others or others aren’t worth the risk. Let the incredible highs win out. Yes, there will always be people in life who want to see you fail simply because they can not succeed, but that’s not the norm. We are all in this together. The more you give the more you get, so tell that inner voice that it’s a new day! We are going “Lehigh” on everyone. The results are so worth it. We are going to be the difference makers. YOU need to be the bracket buster!  You be the one to cause an upset! They will be saying, “Wow, never thought they would step up like that.” And that ladies and gentlemen is called a game changer.

Photo credit by: GonchoA

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @LeighAnneTuohy and play #TuohyTrivia on Tuesdays for a chance to win a $25 donation to the charity of your choice for answering the question correctly. Learn more about my family’s charity at The Making It Happen Foundation.

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