Jazz legend and former Miss Utah share secrets to their success | ParkRecord.com

Jazz legend and former Miss Utah share secrets to their success

Anyone can be successful, they just must identify what they can do better than anyone else and apply correct principles in running their career.

That’s the message Utah Jazz legend Mark Eaton and former Miss Utah and professional speaker Kathy Loveless gave at the Park City Chamber/Bureau annual luncheon on Wednesday.

Eaton and Loveless both came from blue-collar families and after making it to the "Big Leagues" in their respective professions, went on to become millionaire business-owners in their own rights.

Their presentation, "Playing in the Big League Success Secrets for Getting to the Top of Your Game," was chosen by Chamber/Bureau executive director Bill Malone.

"It’s always interesting to have people (speak) who reside here and have gone out and done things from coast to coast," he said.

Loveless shared her belief in what has been termed, "the law of attraction," by which people can achieve their desires by consciously wishing for them.

As a young woman, Loveless said she had never owned new clothes from a store and her family often supplemented their meals with expired military rations.

To attend college, she needed scholarships. Once, while on a school trip through Nevada, she saw a brand-new white Oldsmobile with a logo on the side: "Miss Nevada." She thought to herself, "I want that."

Not quite a year later, she was Miss Utah. A lot more than wishing went into achieving that goal, but it would not have happened without wishing, she said.

"You have to visualize what you want. The Miss America Pageant was the largest provider of scholarships to women at a time when women were not allowed to be Rhodes Scholars," she said.

Eaton, by contrast, had not wished to become a basketball player. In fact, he was pushed into it after being bugged by a college recruiter 15 times within a three-week period.

Eaton’s high school basketball coach had preferred a fast-paced game, and Eaton found most of his minutes lumbering around the court a complete waste of time. The college recruiter taught Eaton how to play a tall-man’s game.

During a pick-up game at UCLA, a retired Will Chamberlain told Eaton to quit trying to keep up with the other players and only focus on within-the-key defense.

"In finally understood what I could be great at, I had obtained specific knowledge," he said.

Even with that knowledge, and a new desire to be a great defensive player, Eaton had to practice hard just to get any playing time on UCLA’s team. He needed discipline to get noticed, he said.

When the season was over, he hadn’t gotten enough attention at UCLA to be drafted. He cold-called the Utah Jazz, the worst team in the NBA at the time, and asked for a shot.

In 1982, Coach Frank Layden offered him $40,000 a year if he spent all summer training. Because of his discipline, he improved and earned a spot on the team’s roster.

Once on the team, the Jazz continued to win only about a third of its games. The players were frustrated because each felt their talents weren’t being noticed on the failing team.

Layden convinced the players to better support each other and to gain attention as a team instead of as individuals. Soon after, the Jazz made it to the play-offs for the first time in franchise history and four players, including Eaton, held league records (Eaton for blocked-shots).

Eaton said this experience taught him the importance of being surrounded by successful people.

"If the people around you aren’t supporting and helping you, find new friends, find mentors," he said.

Loveless agreed, saying she had become a professional speaker because of valuable associations she had made almost by happenstance at a conference where people gave her valuable information about getting started.

The last point the two made was the importance of being decisive.

"Most opportunities come in the upswing of the economy," Eaton said. "Isn’t that where we’re at now?"

The luncheon was held at the Silver Creek Lodge in Deer Valley. The Chamber/Bureau schedules informative meetings for its members throughout the year, explained Barbara Wainwright, member services director.

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