Failures … But Not Quite

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Motivation

After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, a 1933 memo from the MGM testing director said, “Can’t act.  Slightly bald.  Can dance a little.”  Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.

A relatively unsuccessful marketer of restaurant equipment, he didn’t sell his first hamburger until age 52. At a time when many people prepare for retirement, Ray Kroc built McDonald’s from a handful of hamburger stands into the world’s largest food chain.

When his older brother was killed during WWII, he first withdrew into a shell.  Then he began to listen to the radio to ease his pain.  Soon he was dreaming about hosting his own radio show.  That led Dick Clark to start American Bandstand.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper for lacking ideas.  He also went bankrupt several times.  If he had quit too soon after his theme park concept was trashed 302 times, there would be no Disneyland.

If Howard Schultz gave up after being turned down by banks 242 times, there would be no STARBUCKS.

If J.K. Rowling stopped after being turned down by publishers for years, there would be no HARRY POTTER.

One thing is for sure: If you give up too soon, you’ll never know what you’ll be missing. Keep going and NEVER quit! Define success on YOUR terms and don’t let anyone else define it for you! It’s never too late to set a new goal!

Well-Rounded Wellness

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in General

When most people think of wellness, they think of physical and emotional health, but there’s more.  Here are eight dimensions of wellness to think about.  Each dimension can affect others so ensure you’re healthy in all areas.

Social:  Have positive relationships with family, friends and co-workers; enjoy spending time with others — whether talking or doing something together.

Emotional:  Understand yourself and your feelings — both good and bad — and find healthful ways to deal with life’s ups and downs.

Spiritual:  Have peace in your life, know your purpose, and make sure what you do matches what you truly believe.

Environmental:  Get involved in making your environments — your home, community and planet — better places for yourself and others.

Occupational:  Enjoy your job, and make sure you keep a work-life balance.

Intellectual:  Open your mind to new ideas, experiences and lifelong learning to keep life interesting.

Physical:  Choose a healthful lifestyle that includes eating right and exercising while avoiding bad habits so you have the energy and body to live life to its fullest.

Financial:  Understand that money can’t buy happiness and have enough money for your needs and wants without going into debt.

Source:  University of California, Riverside

Amazing Mission Statement

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership, Motivation

As Corporate Mission Statements go, we’ve all undoubtedly seen several dozen over the course of our careers.  Most are filled with words that the authors undoubtedly felt obligated to include:  service, customers, employees, values.  But it’s rare to actually find one that seems to reflect something deeper, more meaningful, one of real substance.

I’d like to use today’s blog to share the Mission Statement of Holstee, Inc. and the story behind it because, to me, it represents the very best of what leadership, business and even life should include.  I hope you’ll find it inspirational and that it motivates you….

Holstee is an exceptional New York-based company that sells eco-friendly clothing and accessories.

Here’s the story behind the Company and what led up to its incredible “Manifesto” as told on it’s website (

“In the heat of the recession in May 2009, brothers Mike and Dave and their partner, Fabian started Holstee. More than a company, or clothes, the trio wanted to create a lifestyle. Starting in the summer of 2009 they dove head first into the world of design and production. After six months and a huge learning curve, Holstee launched its first line of Recycled Tees made of 100% recycled plastic bottles that were milled, cut and sewn within 150 miles of each other in North Carolina. Starting with this first round, 10% of all sales were lent to entrepreneurs in extreme poverty through non-profit micro-lending organizations like – a tradition they are proud to still embrace.

In the months leading up to the summer of 2009, Holstee was just a small side project. We had sold a hundred or so shirts, mostly to family and close friends looking to support us. Having just quit our jobs without a plan or idea of how we would spend our days, we were filled with a ton of raw energy, emotion, and ideas – a feeling that we never wanted to forget. So the first thing Holstee’s three founders – Mike, Fabian and Dave – did was sit together on the steps of Union Square and write down exactly what was on their minds and the tips of their tongues. It wasn’t about shirts and it wasn’t about their old jobs. It was about what they wanted from life and how to create a company that breathes that passion into the world everyday. It was a reminder of what we live for. The result became known as the Holstee Manifesto.

Through all avenues of social media, our Manifesto has been viewed over 80,000,000 times.”


“This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often.  If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love…  Stop over analyzing, life is simple.  All emotions are beautiful.  When you eat, appreciate every last bite.  Open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences.  Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them.  Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.  Some opportunities only come once, seize them.  Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.”

The Artists Have Always Gotten Passion!

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Motivation

So What Is Passion Anyways?

We all probably have a pretty good idea of what passion is. The dictionary describes it as “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything, such as a passion for music.”   I like that description because when I think about where passion is often exhibited, it is often in the arts.

The artists have always gotten it!

Beethoven said, “To play without passion is inexcusable!”

Martha Graham was an American dancer & choreographer regarded as one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance, whose influence on dance can be compared to the influence Stravinsky had on music, Picasso had on the visual arts, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture. She said, “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”

Van Gogh vowed, “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”

Midori Komatsu said it this way: “Passion is what drives us crazy, what makes us do extraordinary things, to discover, to challenge ourselves. Passion is and should always be the heart of courage.”

Surely we have all seen the differences between the musician who plays with great passion, the actor who embraces his role until it consumes him or the painter who pours her very soul into the canvas. While certainly all of those talents include a great amount of the sciences and mathematics, it is the passion with which the performer acts that draws us in, that compels us to live the story unfolding. It is never satisfied with just going through the motions.

Find passion in your life! For some, it’s a career. For others, it’s giving back to the community by donating time, money or talent to a worthy cause. For still others, it is some form of the arts, perhaps music, dance or theatre either professionally or community. Many find their passion in establishing a family and raising their children.

The key is not the WHAT that you are passionate about! It is that you spend every day doing what you love to do, throwing yourself in to it with all the love and passion it deserves, as though it is the very thing you live for! It should be!

A Lesson in Life Passion

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership, Motivation

“You’re good for nothing! You’ll be back in three weeks!” Words of a father spoken to his son, a young man as he was leaving home to embark on his passion to work in a kitchen. A month later, the chef for whom he went to work told him, “You’re good for nothing! Go back home to your mother!” He fired the young man.

We’ve all heard similar phrases and perhaps unfortunately maybe we’ve even used them ourselves to our children, our coworkers, our friends or our family:

  • You CAN’T do that!
  • You’re not smart enough!
  • You’re not pretty enough!
  • You’re too fat!
  • You’re too skinny!
  • Only rich people get to do that!
  • It’s WHO you know that lets you do ANYTHING in life!

The first time a child hears one of these phrases or 100’s of others like them begins for many a lifetime of programming for failure, for defeat, for complacency. Whether uttered by parents, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, this negative programming can begin to dominate our thinking, how we see ourselves, how we believe other people see us. Playing over and over again in our heads, it begins to drive our decisions, our actions, our relationships, our lives….

That young boy doesn’t pursue the career of becoming a chef because he’s told he’s not good enough, boys don’t belong in the kitchen and you can’t make money flipping hamburgers. He’s told it takes money to make money and where is he going to get the money for culinary school, for a restaurant, for staff.

But, you see, for the person with the dream, tragically and all too often they will succumb to all this programming, become discouraged, give up on their dreams and accept something less than they really want for themselves. It takes away what they love to do, what they most care about becoming.

You see, what we’re talking about here is PASSION! Oprah Winfrey said, “Your true passion should feel like breathing; it’s that natural.”

Passion is something that should be a constant in our lives, children and adults. Think about the beauty and innocence of the child as they discover the world for the first time! EVERYTHING is new, EVERYTHING is exciting.

But sadly, as we grow up, our lives become routine, stagnant and monotonous. We gave up on our dreams years ago because we were programmed into believing we give up what we love doing to have a family, because we have a job with a lot of responsibility or long hours, because it’s irresponsible and selfish to think about what we really dream of doing in life when we have other people to think about. Sounds a little like the messages we were talking about earlier? Same junk in a slightly more grown up wrapper.

Remember, the little boy we talked about in the beginning? Can you imagine facing your father after that? His father basically told him he was a failure; the chef repeated it and he even got fired.

That night, he wanted to jump in the river and wanted to kill himself. He stood on the bridge for an hour and he wanted to jump because he couldn’t face going back home. But suddenly, he had a thought and he decided, “You know, I’m just going to go back tomorrow and see what happens.” The hotel’s owner took pity on him and sent him to work at a different hotel in the same city.

You see, his dogged determination and passion for what he loved ultimately paid off. Today, he’s a celebrity chef sitting atop a $350 million culinary empire that includes upscale and casual restaurants, prepared foods, cookbooks, television programs and housewares. You know him as Wolfgang Puck.

He didn’t give up on his passion. He refused to walk away from his dreams. He didn’t forego having a family. He didn’t become an irresponsible or selfish individual. Quite the contrary, he has created tens of thousands of jobs that not only allows those employees to support themselves and their families, but to pursue dreams of their own.

Wolfgang had undying courage to pursue the life he chose. Joyce Meyer, in her book I Dare You: Embrace Life with Passion, said “Courage is fear that has said its prayers and decided to go forward anyway.”

You can pursue the dreams of your childhood and still have all the things that life has to offer! In fact, they’ll be phenomenally better because you’ll rush every day with excitement, with joy and with PASSION!

Road to Hana & Life

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Motivation

On Wednesday, I continued my visit to Maui by traveling the amazing Road to Hana. If you’re not familiar with it, the Hana Highway, as it is officially known, is a 68-mile stretch which connects Kahului with the town of Hana in east Maui. Although Hana is only about 52 miles away, it takes about 2.5 hours to drive each way with no stops because the highway is very winding and narrow and it passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide. There are approximately 620 curves, virtually all of it through lush, tropical rainforest. It’s easily understood why it’s so popular with tourists because it is arguably one of the most beautiful sites Mother Nature offers!

As I made this trek (it took me about 7 hours with obligatory stops for banana bread, fresh coconut and star fruits!), I spent some time reflecting on how this adventure is a wonderful analogy to Life. It’s been said that the Road to Hana should never be rushed, it’s not about the destination but about the journey!

And that is so true about life in general, isn’t it? Life isn’t about rushing to a destination, about trying to get somewhere or achieve some major feat. It’s about savoring the moment, every day! As I was driving and saw all the memorials along the path, I was also reminded of a quote from Tony Gaskins that I had tweeted earlier this week: “Wake up MOTIVATED! Not everybody made it, so don’t take it for granted!”

Hana parallels life in many other ways too. 620 curves, so many of them almost complete switchbacks! When we get too comfortable in life and we think we know just where we’re going and how everything’s going to be, life throws us a curve, sometimes a very big one and sends us in a completely different direction!

Just as with Hana where you go around one of those curves and find yourself then staring at a waterfall that plummets hundreds of feet and the sheer beauty of it takes your breath away, so life sometimes will close one door but open a better one!

The 59 bridges to Hana, 46 only wide enough for one car to squeeze through, where you often have to yield to the oncoming traffic to clear before you can proceed, reminded me that life sometimes makes us wait and gives us timing we don’t always like or expect. It means waiting for someone else to do their part or to have their way or waiting for something else to happen first before our goals or expectations can proceed. From those experiences, we learn patience and humility.

The Road to Hana is literally abundant with so many amazing sites to see around every turn! Inspiring views of the surf crashing hundreds of feet below the narrow path you travel, lush rainforest so green and thick and vibrant, the faces of hardworking people working their lands. I thought how life gives us those opportunities everyday too, showing us so many sites to behold and people with whom we interact and the differences we make in each other’s lives. Sometimes it’s mentoring someone, sometimes it’s giving food to eat or a place to sleep, sometimes it’s as simple as giving a smile to someone who doesn’t expect it.

My challenge to you today is to take the time to greet someone you might normally walk past and have a genuine conversation with them! Really focus on learning things about them and what makes them uniquely interesting!

While you’re at it, break from your regular routine and do something special that causes you to appreciate something beautiful around you. Take the time to walk on the beach or through the woods. Go for a drive. Take in a play or a concert. Give back to a worthwhile cause!

Trust me, you’ll find it addictive!

Life Balance

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Motivation

As I write this entry, I am enjoying a brief respite on the incredibly beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii. My work has blessed me with incredible opportunities to travel to many countries from some of the most poverty stricken and to the most abundant. Travel changes you, it gives you a greater appreciation for your own life and a greater sense of obligation to help others with theirs.

This is my second visit to Maui. It is a place that affords so much tranquility and peace. No matter what may stress me, what may ail my body, what may tug at my heart, I love the way that Maui restores my sense of balance.

You probably have places that do that for you too. It doesn’t have to be far from home, it doesn’t have to be expensive or exotic. For some, it’s the gym and a hard workout to clear the mind. For others, it’s a nice walk, maybe alone or even with a close friend. Hobbies, sports, family…

I came to Maui this week because I sensed my life was getting out of balance again and an adjustment was needed. We’re all guilty of that at times, right? It’s not always conscious and rarely is it deliberate. It’s getting too busy with one or two parts of our lives and letting the other things suffer.

I ran across a wonderful passage of James Patterson in his book Roses Are Red where he wrote:

“Here’s a nice image for a life in balance,” she said. “You’re juggling these four balls that you’ve named work, family, friends, spirit. Now, work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it bounces back. The other balls they’re made of glass.”

“I’ve dropped a few of those glass balls in my day. Sometimes they chip, sometimes they shatter to pieces.”

Do you find that to be true? Work is always there! When you rest at night, it’s waiting for you the next morning. If you go away on vacation, it’s waiting for you when you return. Doesn’t always work that way with our family, friends or spirit though, does it?

My wish for you today is that you’ll take some time to reflect on your life at this moment and ask yourself if you feel in balance? Do you work so much that you don’t have time for anything else? Do the people in your life really know and feel how much you love them? What have you done to nurture your inner spirit lately? Do you listen to your body when it tells you it needs rest or when it needs less stress? Don’t be the one so caught up trying to build a better lifestyle that you miss building a better LIFE!

Three things you cannot recover in life: The moment after it’s missed, the word after it’s said and the time after IT’S WASTED!

Launch of Motivational Moments!

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in General

Welcome to Motivational Moments, the blog of The Aspirations Institute, LLC! Thanks for stopping by!

First, an introduction to our company: TAI offers training & speeches to corporations, government, academia and non-profits on a variety of subjects including leadership, motivation, personal growth and development and technical training. Each of our presentations is customized to the host for content and length. Our faculty members are dynamic, supportive and ensure that our sessions, from a keynote address to a multi-day workshop, are highly interactive and fun! You can learn more about these services on our website.

Now, a note of explanation about this blog: one of the primary objectives of TAI is to encourage, motivate and challenge! We attempt to carry these themes throughout not only our speeches and training, but also in all of the other ways in which we may communicate. On Twitter (@TAIMotivations), we regularly share favorite quotes. In articles, we share information to educate and provoke you to think about things in different ways and from other perspectives. On our website, we share content, resources, books, etc. as even more tools you might find helpful in your personal or professional life journey.

With the Motivational Moments blog, we embark on an effort to share thoughts, excerpts from an interesting study, a story from the news, or other sources along with commentary around it to encourage you to interact with us, so share your comments! Share us with your friends! Let us know what you like, what you don’t and what you would enjoy even more!

Posts won’t always come from me. I will be inviting other Faculty members and guest authors to share their thoughts and ideas as well, so make us a regular part of your day and we’ll commit to be respectful of your time and do our best to give your day a boost!


  • Did you know that TAI offers Technical Training Courses? Public & Customized Private Sessions including Technical Accounting, IP Licensing, IT, Sales Management & more!

The Aspirations Institute, LLC
Newport Beach, California