A Critical Doer Is Willing To Lead
If you’re a sports fan at all, I’m sure you know by now that iconic ESPN broadcaster Stuart Scott passed away this weekend at age 49 after a lengthy battle against cancer.
Stuart Scott was a leader in changing the way we look at sports. He made “booyah” a household word and his colorful expressions (“cool as the other side of the pillow” is my personal favorite) made special moments in sports special to us all because he brought them to us in terms that we could understand and made us smile.
Most of all, Scott’s energy and enthusiasm melted away the big business mystique of professional sports. He let us look at sports as if we were still kids…when the games were fun, we played because we loved it, we learned important life lessons…but sports wasn’t our life. His was a special gift that could take us back to that simpler place and time.
Last July, Scott made a public appearance to accept the Jimmy V Foundation Award for Perseverance at the 2014 ESPY Awards. If you’re not familiar with Jimmy V or the Foundation, Jimmy V was Coach Jim Valvano who coached the North Carolina State University Wolfpack…the “Cardiac Pack”…to the NCAA Basketball Championship in 1983. The “Cardiac Pack” name came from an incredible streak of underdog comeback wins during an improbable and a magical March of Madness to win the championship. The team, behind Jimmy V, never gave up.
Those words would become Jimmy V’s lasting legacy in his own battle against cancer. Before passing away in 1993, he was a leader in establishing a foundation to support cancer patients. His speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards was historic and his words “never give up” have been an inspiration to many. If you’ve never seen his speech, take a look at this link:
Jimmy V “Never Give Up” Speech
Stuart Scott similarly took one of his final public moments to be a leader and echo Jimmy V’s words as an anthem to all who are facing long odds to continue the struggle with all you have. The takeaway I took from Scott’s example, that is relevant in both life and death, is simply this…don’t wait until it’s over to begin, and finish rather than let it end. Scott knew what he wanted to do and be in broadcasting…he took risk to run in a different direction from the crowd and do it his way…and as it was ending, he made it his business to be an example of perseverance that put the beauty of the human spirit on full display.
Stuart Scott’s Jimmy V Award for Perseverance Speech
Critical doers…here is our challenge. If you have a vision of a future you’ve been thinking about for yourself, and you see a way forward but haven’t made the first move…the time is now to be a leader and make the jump from critical thinking to critical doing. Time is precious, and it’s tough to make dreams come true when you begin at the end. There’s no time like now to act on that vision of your future that makes your heart beat a little faster and a smile come to your face. It’s what a critical doer would…do. Booyah!
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