The Unlikely Success of Ruben Gonzalez

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Ruben Standing web As I mentioned last week, the b5media Business Apprentice Contest has now become a solo competition, and my Best Business Advice I Ever Received post managed to get me through to the next round. Here’s this week’s challenge:

Everybody loves a success story. New business owners find them inspiring. Tell Kay a success story that inspired you – it could be a famous person, a company, a family member.

The most inspiring success story I’ve ever heard is actually from a good friend of mine by the name of Ruben Gonzalez, aka “The Luge Man”. And while it isn’t a “business success story”, per se, the lessons from his story can be applied to any aspect of your life, including your business, as his own subsequent business success has proven.

Ruben was born in Argentina, and like most Argentine boys, had dreams of being a professional soccer player. Only one problem — he wasn’t very good at it. Not awful, but not exceptional.

But Ruben dreamed of being in the Olympics. In 1984, watching the diminutive Scott Hamilton win the gold medal in figure skating, he said to himself, “If that little guy can do it, I can do it too. I’m gonna be in the next Olympics no matter what. It’s a done deal.” He just had to find a sport!

Hear Ruben’s story in his own words

He realized that his strength was not exceptional athletic ability, but his perseverance. So he set out to find a sport “that’s so tough, that’s got so many broken bones, that there’s gonna be a lot of quitters.” After some research, he settled on the luge. Although he was now living in the U.S., after approaching the luge training center, once they learned he was Argentinian, they agreed to train him, as the sport needed more countries involved.

Web Luge Rings SLC 2002 Long story short — he went from being a benchwarming soccer player to an athlete at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics — just 4 short years after seeing Scott Hamilton’s inspiring performance. Most Olympic luge athletes began at age 12. Ruben first got on a luge sled at age 21. And while he didn’t medal, he managed to stay competitive enough in the sport to return to the Olympics in 1992.

Now, as if that weren’t enough… nearly 10 years later, his former coach calls him up and says, “Argentina needs you.” And at age 39 (!), he competed again in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

What Ruben’s story shows is that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results with the right combination of vision, determination and courage.

Today, Ruben is one of the brightest new motivational speakers in the world. I encourage you to check out his video below and hear more of his story in his own words:

Click to view video

You can also check out his blog, download a free copy of his e-book, Becoming Unstoppable, or pick up his book, The Courage to Succeed.

And of course… he’s on LinkedIn.

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1 Comment

  1. The Courage to Succeed is an absolutely awesome book. Has motivated me out of the hole I had crawled into and I am in super-charge and working my magic once again! Thanks for a great book!

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