Never Give Up

By on June 4, 2015. Posted in , .

How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? You have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream. A goal. And you have to be willing to work for it.” – Jim Valvano, ESPY speech, 1993.

Today’s post is part of the #ArchiTalks series in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect comes up with a theme and we (architects who also write a blog) write on that topic and post on the same day. This week’s theme is “My Three Favorite Words.” – I decided rather than posting something like, “I love it!” when my clients tell me what they think of our design for their home, or “Let’s build it.” when we get final approval to get started on a project, I would write about something a bit more personal this time… Don’t worry, next week we’re back to architecture + pretty pictures!

Never give up.

This may seem like just another cliche phrase that’s trending in today’s motivational world of entrepreneurs and start-ups… and of course it is a perfect response for anyone who’s doing something that’s difficult. (Haven’t we all needed this kind of encouragement at some point?)

But for me this phrase holds a special place in my memory…

We listened to 2 of Jimmy Valvano’s speeches, Cutting Down the Nets and Never Give Up, for the first time the night before Day One of the ACC Championship competition. I was a senior at NC State and our coach gathered our team around a small TV and played a video tape (yes, it was that long ago) of both speeches. Now, I have to admit listening to those speeches means a lot more to me today than they did back then. But his motivation and excitement was unmistakable. The point he was making to us was that we put in the work, we dreamed of standing at the top of the podium, and he believed that we would do it. …I’m not sure if it was the practice or the pep talk, but let’s just say I’m very proud of where I ended up on that podium.


In his Cutting Down the Nets speech Jimmy V explains his life motto: You + Motivation = Success
and he describes motivation as 3 things:

EnthusiasmNothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm.

DreamAll we do is practice cutting the net down. The dream can become the reality. Extraordinary events by ordinary people. If you don’t work hard you can’t be successful.

EncouragementNever give up.

These are 3 words that have made me who I am today, and make me want to be even more tomorrow. Three of my Favorite Words because they not only inspire me, but they remind me of the things I’ve accomplished as well.

I’m sure many of you can relate -I’ve had a few moments in my business in the past couple weeks that were really tough. And so often when things get to that point, my brain says, It would be so much easier to just give up. …But my heart says, Never!



Check out our colleagues 3 Favorite Words in their posts below… From the chatter we went through on emails prior to posting, this theme is bound to be a great one for interesting stories!

Bob Borson – Life of an Architect (@Bobborson) “3 Words: Are. Blogs. Important.

Jeff Echols – Architect of the Internet (@jeff_echols) “What’s Your Story – My Three (or Four) Favorite Words

Lee Calisti – Lee CALISTI architecture+design (@leecalisti) “i make art

Andrew Hawkins – Hawkins Architecture (@HawkinsArch) “Three Favorite Architectural Words

Lora Teagarden – L2Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC) “#ArchiTalks: I love it!

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA) “My Three Favorite Words

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC) “My Three Favorite Words

Matthew Stanfield – FIELD 9 Architecture (@FIELD9arch) “3 Words

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect  “architalk#9: my three favorite words

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch) “3 Words To Get Started

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w) “my three favorite [hardest] words

Cindy Black – Rick & Cindy Black Architects “Spirit of Optimism (my three favorite words)

Amy Kalar – Archimom (@AmyKalar) “My Three Favorite Words (Architalks #9)

Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect) “I Am Listening

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX) “How’s it going… Finishing The Architect Exam?!??

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz) “I am in

Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture (@mondo_tiki_man) “The Big Idea

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect) “three little words: #architalks



  1. Your beautiful post reminded me of my favorite JFK quote.
    “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
    If it was easy everyone would be doing it!
    Never give up!

    • Great quote Michael!
      and yes, your “If it was easy…” comment is one I use as a frequent reminder as well! Thanks!

  2. Inspirational MM.
    Thank you for sharing.
    I’ll keep this in mind as I keep pushing thru my testing.

  3. Nice post Marica. Good to get a glimpse into the past and part of the person that you are outside of architecture. I remember those speeches when they happened. And they still are moving to me when I watch today. And like you probably more so than when first viewed.

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