Jim “The Rookie” Morris’s inspirational and transformational message about following your dreams and having a game plan for success connects with audiences, young and old, male and female. His life story is the inspiration behind the Walt Disney blockbuster film, The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid. It is also the model for the greatest sports film of the 21st century, The Blindside.
SPEAKING.COM: Would you please tell us the story about how, as a schoolteacher, you ended up pitching for major league baseball?
MORRIS: As good leaders should, I found myself pushing the kids to follow their dreams and they pushed me to follow mine. We came up with a bet: If they won a district championship, which they’d never done in baseball, I had to find a tryout somewhere. They won, I tried out and I signed with Tampa Bay. Three months after grading my last paper, I was signing autographs in the big league.
SPEAKING.COM: What are the most important lessons you learned from your unusual journey from being a schoolteacher to a baseball pitcher?
MORRIS: Keep your promises, always dream, be willing to practice what you preach and realize the dream you start chasing may not be the one you end up loving the most.
SPEAKING.COM: What advice would you give for finding the best mentor to help someone accomplish his or her dreams?
MORRIS: Find a dream maker. Surround yourself with the best people possible to be the best you you can possibly be.
SPEAKING.COM: Could you please share three tips for becoming a great leader?
MORRIS: Be willing to get dirty. People have to know you’re willing to be in the trenches with them. Surround yourself with people who share your vision and want it as much as you do. Keep telling people how good they are until they believe it.
SPEAKING.COM: What is the importance of leaders keeping their promises?
MORRIS: Respect. If a leader isn’t honest how can he expect others to be honest.
SPEAKING.COM: How can someone recognize and seize a second chance in life?
MORRIS: Life is dynamic, it’s not a static thing. It demands a plan of action. You can dream & have faith but if you don’t have a plan of action you’ll never see that 2nd or 3rd chance.
SPEAKING.COM: What would you tell someone that feels like they are not good enough and want to give up?
MORRIS: If you turn 50 or 60 or 70 and you wake up and think “What if” then you haven’t done yourself justice. You don’t know until you know.
SPEAKING.COM: What was it like seeing your life portrayed by Dennis Quaid on the big screen in the movie The Rookie?
MORRIS: It was surreal and it still is. I haven’t been able to watch the movie from start to finish because it’s overwhelming.
SPEAKING.COM: Why do you think humor is important for keeping perspective and realizing one’s dreams?
MORRIS: If you’re actually trying to accomplish something you have to learn to laugh. There will be failures but you can’t let that get you down. You can’t give up. Through failure you come one step closer to where it is you want to be. Think of Thomas Edison, he failed over and over again but each failure got him one step closer to the light bulb. You can’t have success without failure.
SPEAKING.COM: Do you have any parting advice for living a happy and fulfilling life?
MORRIS: Find what you love to do. It doesn’t matter if you dig ditches for a living or if you’re the President, if you’re happy doing what you’re doing then you’re doing the right thing.
To bring inspirational speaker Jim Morris to your organization, please contact Michael Frick at: Mike@Speaking.com