Synopses & Reviews
“Success is the point where your most authentic talents, passion, values, and experiences intersect with the chance to contribute to some greater good.”
According to MacArthur Fellowship “genius” award winner Bill Strickland, a successful life is not something you simply pursue, it is something that you create, moment by moment. It is a realization Strickland first came to when, as a poor kid growing up in a rough neighborhood of Pittsburgh, he encountered a high school ceramics teacher who took him under his wing and went on to transform his life.
Over the past thirty years, Bill Strickland has been transforming the lives of thousands of people through the creation of Manchester Bidwell, a jobs training center and community arts program. Working with corporations, community leaders, and schools, he and his staff strive to give disadvantaged kids and adults the opportunities and tools they need to envision and built a better, brighter future.
Strickland believes that every one of us has the potential for remarkable achievement. Every one of us can accomplish the impossible in our lives if given the right inspiration and motivation to do so. We all make ourselves “poor” in one way or another when we accept that we are not smart enough, experienced enough, or talented enough to accomplish something. Bill Strickland works with the least advantaged among us, and if he can help them achieve the impossible in their lives, think what each of us can do.
Among Bill Stricklands beliefs:
People are born into this world as assets, not liabilities. Its all in the way we treat people (and ourselves) that determines a persons outcome
The sand in the hourglass flows only one way. Stop going through the motions of living--savor each and every day. Life is here and now, not something waiting for you in the future.
You dont have to travel far to change the life youre living. Bill grew up in the Pittsburgh ghetto, four blocks from where he came to build one of the foremost job training centers in the world. He now speaks before CEOs and political leaders, church congregations and civic leaders. You only need to change your thinking to remake your world.
Through lessons from his own life experiences, and those of countless others who have overcome their circumstances and turned their lives around, Make the Impossible Possible shows how all of us can build on our passions and strengths, dream bigger and set the bar higher, achieve meaningful success and help mentor and inspire the lives of others.
"Community activist and MacArthur fellow Strickland explains the jazz expression 'tell your story' as 'playing that doesn't just display your virtuosity, but also gives the audience a glimpse of your soul.' He succeeds in doing just that. We get the virtuosity: he was an African-American kid from Pittsburgh's inner city who at 19 established what became Manchester-Bidwell, the now famous arts and job-training center for disadvantaged kids and adults. And we get the soul: he was spurred on by a mother who taught him to polish a wood floor until it gleamed no matter what was going on in the streets outside; an art teacher who believed in the 'aimless' boy; a classroom where coffee brewed, jazz played softly, and he had the transformative experience of throwing his first clay pot. It's the American dream with a twist: for Strickland, it was never about shedding his past and getting ahead but about following his bliss and making a difference. Which is not to say the skilled fund-raiser isn't savvy. He touts the value of a Brooks Brothers suit and knowing the right people. Unfortunately, we don't learn how Strickland's philosophy of making the impossible possible applies to his or our personal lives." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The founder of Pittsburgs Manchester Bidwell, two training centers dedicated to giving troubled kids and disadvantaged adults the training to transform their lives, offers lessons from his own experiences to show readers how to achieve deeper and more meaningful success in their careers and lives.
About the Author
BILL STRICKLAND is president and CEO of Manchester Craftsmen Guild and Bidwell Training Center. Manchester Craftsmens Guild today offers programs in ceramics, photography, digital arts and painting to over 500 kids a year, as well as 3,400 additional students in the Pittsburgh inner-city school district. Ninety percent of the students receive high school diplomas of which 85% go on enroll in college or secondary education. Bidwell Training Center trains more than 600 adults each semester for professional careers like the culinary arts, pharmacology, and horticultural technology. Through partnerships with major corporations in the area, Bidwell Training Center has helped 73% of its graduates land meaningful full-time employment. Manchester Bidwell is now a breathtaking facility that includes a 350-seat jazz auditorium, a 40,000-square-foot greenhouse covering half a city block, a state-of-the-art chemistry lab, a full-scale ceramics department, and a culinary institute. He has received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, lectured at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and served on the board of the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.