They said he couldn’t play. He proved them wrong.

By now you have heard the story about how Shaquem Griffin was drafted by the NFL Seattle Seahawks in the 5th round. You also know that his left hand was amputated at age four and that a coach wouldn’t let him play football. (featured photo by

For most of us, that alone would be great. But for Shaquem, it was a statement.

“I don’t want to be a guy who’s just a feel-good story,” Griffin told reporters in Dallas. “I want to be a football player, and a good one at that.”

His bold statement came much earlier when he was eight years old and playing youth football. The opposing coach claimed he shouldn’t be playing, that football was for two-handed players. To that, Shaquem said, “But this was the first time I ever had to deal with somebody telling me I shouldn’t — or couldn’t — do something because of my hand. Like I was defective or something. Like I didn’t belong. And that was the moment I realized I was always going to have to prove people wrong.”

chained feet

A chip on the Shoulder.

In many cases, carrying a chip on our shoulder creates a bad attitude because often we use it to quit. We have a pity party as we give up our dreams. But that isn’t the case here. To do what others tell us we cannot do takes a tremendous amount of determination. Shaquem Griffen has that drive, determination and resolve. He has parents that taught him that he could do whatever he wanted. He learned that he just had to do it differently. But he also has a chip on his shoulder. He has the drive necessary to break through barriers.

Hearing a story like this inspires us. “If he can do it, so can I.”

  • What do they say you cannot do?
  • How badly do you want to do it? 
  • Do you have the drive to do it?

Who do you Know?

But there is another part of the story. As leaders and managers, we make our selections every day. As Human Resources professionals we recruit and recommend every day. Ask yourselves these two questions.

  • Am I overlooking someone’s drive because of a stereotypical expectation?
  • What could happen if I gave them an opportunity to do what I doubt is possible?



 Loren Murfield, Ph.D. I work with aspiring and emerging leaders to disrupt their team, their leadership, and their marketplace. Contact me to begin making your breakthrough.

Yes, you can become a disruptive leader. Take the course and prove them wrong.

(c) Murfield International, Inc.

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