Motivational Mojo

I am a sucker for motivational artwork.

For more than a decade in my office at work, I had a silhouette of a Husker football player with the heading DETERMINATION. Below it read something like “Out-hustle others who don’t have your work ethic,” or perhaps it read, “We used to be really good for three decades and we lost our way.” I know it was a good conversation starter and now I have no idea where it is located. I’m sure it’s somewhere next to a cassette tape of the Cocktail soundtrack and an academic award I received my first year of college before I got distracted. Oh, no! I lost my determination. I was out-hustled by others. Or were they just more organized? 

For the past few weeks, the platform of LinkedIn put me in touch with professionals who have made a massive career to care for a loved one. A guy I never met reached out to me to talk about the transition from a hot-air maker like me, on-air personality, to that of a caregiver for his son who happens to have autism like my son. I had a heartfelt conversation with my good friend in Nashville who left her award-winning business to look after her mother. Both individuals had no idea where life would take them when they started on their career track. For me, that was WAY back when I had glorious flowing locks of hair like Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse. It got me thinking. If you were to walk into the den of these individuals what motivational artwork would be on the wall? I pondered this question and went about my tasks at hand.

The very next day, I took my son to a busy doctor’s office filled with commotion and loud noises; his kryptonite. We mustered through it and with my 20-year-old highly active and loud. The motivational header popped into my brain “Disruptive – When an ordinary situation needs a frontman like Axl Rose’s lungs and energy.”  We got through the visit. “Perseverance – you felt like crying but now it’s over. Breathe.”

Then, Trey surprised me. Kind words from a nurse put a smile on his face. He began laughing and it looked as though he was having the best day ever at Disneyland and not just at the medical office on a Tuesday morning.

It was then, I saw the sign. This was an actual piece of artwork and not one that just popped up in my imagination. “Journey – A bend in the road is not the end of the road – unless you fail to make the turn.”

My journey has led me to a quieter life rooted in reflection and caregiving. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it was in my wheelhouse. Then, I looked at Trey. If he dares to do uncomfortable activities and ends up with a grin, I can find the fortitude to become something else. I may not introduce a big-time musical act on stage anytime soon, but I am the wingman for the loudest person in this office.


No artwork needed.

By Tony “Michaels” Michalski, he used to be on the radio daily. Now, you can find him at doctor’s offices. He’s the author of Tacos and Beer Atmosphere and founder of

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