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Perfect Pitch

Former pitcher's advice is a hit with entrepreneurs.

Jim Abbott was an inspiration to those on and off the field when he pitched a no-hitter with the New York Yankees, despite being born without his right hand. Overcoming obstacles to achieve his goals, Abbott now shares his insights with small-business owners as a motivational speaker. Here, in his words, is his key to motivating and inspiring entrepreneurs:

"I use an acronym when I speak--ADAPT. A stands for adjustability, and it's using your own ideas on how to do things. Be open-minded and flexible in looking for solutions; change course if something's not working. D is determination. Don't allow someone else's expectations to define you. Ignore critics, and believe in what you can do, in spite of the skeptics. Next, accountability, to me, is the heart and soul of ADAPT. It has to do with our obligations to others--the teammates in our lives--and the abilities we've been given, making the most of our talents. That's something that came from my experience--never use the circumstances of your life to make excuses. P is perseverance. We think it's a magical power, but it's just a matter of making slow and steady progress. There were a couple of seasons where I really struggled. I wanted the quick fix, but I had to keep practicing to become better. You make the smallest of successes and just do it again.

"Lastly, we have trust. Be fully aware of what your strengths are. Focus on those, have them available to you, and be able to apply them."

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This article was originally published in the May 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Perfect Pitch.

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