Today is May 11 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you take responsibility to get back up?” Almost everyone who has ever accomplished a goal, translated a dream into reality, or created the life they envisioned has fallen and needed to get back up. Those who navigate the chaos understand they are responsible to get back up. Blaming anyone but yourself for being unable to get back up is a good sign you will never accomplish a goal. Wally Amos knows a thing or two about being knocked down.
In 1975, a friend suggested to Amos that he set up a store to sell his cookies, and in March of that year, the first "Famous Amos" cookie store opened in Los Angeles, California. He started the business with the help of a $25,000 loan from Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy, celebrity friends he knew from his days as a talent agent. The company sold $300,000 in cookies that year, and by 1982, revenue reached $12 million. Mr. Amos was a rising star.
His hat and shirt were added to the Smithsonian Institution's advertising collection. In 1986, President Reagan presented him with one of the first Awards of Entrepreneurial Excellence. Such a trajectory would be envious for most entrepreneurs. But then things started to go downhill quickly.
As Dana Canedy wrote in a July 3, 1999, New York Times profile about Amos: “the heady times would soon end. A high school dropout who eventually earned a general equivalency diploma (GED), Mr. Amos knew little about business basics and failed to hire managers who did. By 1985, the year before America's free-market President was hailing him as a hero, his company lost $300,000 as revenue slipped to $10 million. Several investors stepped in, but Mr. Amos said they took more of his equity stake each time and never stayed long enough to turn the company around. In 1988 the company lost $2.5 million, and the Shansby Group purchased it for $3 million. Mr. Amos became a paid spokesman but left in frustration the next year.”
Amos lost everything he had built. Because the name "Famous Amos" was trademarked by his former company, he had to use "The Uncle Noname's Cookie Company" when he got back up from being knocked down and launched his new company. A Famous Amos distributor at the time, Lou Avignone, heard Amos on a local radio talk show and inspired by Amos' story of his early business success with Famous Amos and his indomitable spirit, contacted Amos with the idea for starting a new business. In 1994, the two became partners and subsequently launched "Uncle Noname Gourmet Muffins." The company focused on fat-free, nutritious muffins at that time. Uncle Noname ultimately became Uncle Wally's Muffin Company in 1999. The muffins are sold in more than 3,500 stores nationwide.
Because of his ability to get back up he has written ten books, many of which have a self-help theme, including The Cookie Never Crumbles and The Power in You. As Amos noted: ''If you sit around starting to feel sorry for yourself, and blaming everyone else for your position in life, it is like being in quicksand. In quicksand, if you start flailing all about and panicking with each movement you go in deeper, but if you just stay calm and look about, chances are you'll see a twig or something you can reach to pull yourself out. Or, if you stay there long enough someone will come and rescue you. You may not be responsible for getting knocked down. But you’re certainly responsible for getting back up.” Professional baseball player Matt Bush was ‘flailing all about’ and then allowed someone to ‘come and rescue him.’
Bush alienated his father, almost killed a man, and spent 12 years battling demons before he would eventually make his debut in Major League Baseball (MLB). Between the time he was drafted number one on June 7, 2004, and when he pitched for the Texas Rangers on May 13, 2016, Bush experienced one problem after another. He was arrested after a physical confrontation with bar security. He underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2008 season.
Three teams (Padres, Blue Jays and Rays) all released him. He was arrested for DUI and on March 22, 2012, was involved in a near-deadly crash with a motorcyclist. He left the scene and was later arrested for DUI with a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. Bush accepted a plea bargain and pleaded no contest to one count of DUI with great bodily injury. He was sentenced to 51 months in prison. Roy Silver knew Bush and decided to visit him at his work release job at a Golden Corral restaurant. Silver was the Texas Rangers player development assistant who helped another baseball player, Josh Hamilton, deal with his own substance abuse.
They started to throw a baseball in the restaurant’s parking lot since Bush was required to remain on the grounds. Silver decided to give Bush another chance and on December 18, 2015, the Ranger signed Bush to a minor league contract, two months after his release from prison. Bush was placed on a zero-tolerance policy and his father accompanied him to games and lived with him.
On May 13, 2016, Bush was called up to the major leagues. He worked the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays that night, retiring the heart of the Jays lineup. He would continue to battle injuries missing the entire 2019-2020 season but as of May 11, 2022, landed a spot back on the bullpen roster for the Texas Rangers.
Amos and Bush took responsibility to get back up; how often do you?
How often do you remind yourself to look around to see who in your life is extending a helping hand?
How often do you feel sorry for yourself when you are down on your luck?
When is the last time you leveraged your mind, body, or spirit to get back up?
If you are down now, what are you waiting for to get back up?