The Secret of A Successful Career: Aim High and Stay Focused

Many people think that becoming a performance sport World Cup winner, a Hollywood actor,  an American National TV star, a musician, an entertainer and athletic trainer are incommensurate all together with the lifespan of a human being. Howard proved the aforementioned statement to be false. Yes, it’s possible to perform all of the above when you are truly dedicated to your dreams and you chose to have yourself as the main competitor.

Born to an Irish mother and a Jamaican – originated history teacher father, Howard Dell grew up in Toronto, Canada, his childhood being marked by the enforcing period of the ineffective bill of rights enacted in August 1960. In the same period, when his father obtained the right to vote, when Howard was about 6, discrimination was still a large scale phenomenon in Canada and consequently, racial segregation was a day by day reality.

Howard transformed this situation into the inner reason for his ambition to succeed in life.

When he was 10, Howard conceived a lifelong goals list: to participate in an Olympics Game, to be a professional football and basketball player, to be a Hollywood actor and a recipient of one Oscar and one Grammy Awards. Today 3 quarters of the list above were accomplished, even though tragedy stroked him several times, he always knew how to change, efficiently and graciously, his lifestyle and his actions in order to transform bad luck in opportunity.

The first trial of destiny came when, as a young talented basketball player he irreversibly injured both knees in an accident during training. After 2 long years of physiotherapy, Howard decided to become an athlete and to do decathlon competitions. In parallel, by using his sprinting abilities, he started training in bobsledding. Howard told me that after only two months of training, he was awarded the bronze medal at the bobsled World Championships in the Soviet Union. He also participated in 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. In parallel he also spanned several US and Canada football teams.

His acting career began in 1991 as a guest star in the TV show “A different world”, where the other guest star was Halle Berry. He subsequently obtained different roles in Hollywood movies. Among these he held a 4 years contract for ” The Young and The Restless”, the TV series that broke all longevity records.

His life changed again when a call from his doctor announced him a terrible news: he was suffering from a 1/10.000.000 rare liver combined diseases that would have left him with 3-6 months to live. His best choice was to fight for survival through various experimental treatments in the process of waiting his turn in an implacably long waiting list for a liver transplant. After 2 years and 9 months of struggle he thought his time to conclude this life had come, when he collapsed in front of the hospital. Miraculously he regained his conscientiousness after 20 days to find out that  he was in possession of a new liver. The next 2 months brought much sufferance and misery through the accommodation process with his new organ, but he raised again and motivated himself to participate as an athlete  in the Transplant Games Competition and to be awarded the gold medal at only 6 months after the transplant.

Today, Howard spends a considerable amount of time time in Bucharest where he first came to visit  in 2002, after meeting Raluca Sandu, by then a Romanian professional tennis player. His experience in training world class professional athletes helps him today to assist the Romanian coaches as a professional personal trainer.

He is also a consultant on the development of EECP and ECP clinics, specialist in Cardiac Care and treatment of heart disease related illnesses.

Inspired by Martin Luther King’s quote: “Now is the time to make real the promises of your potential”, Howard is the living proof that anything can be done by focusing your energy in your dreams and goals.

The lesson is that each of us should clearly define high goals and keeping up with them. His story reveals that life is made by ups and downs but one should not dispair and should never give up.

Alina Bota

Personal Branding Consultant


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