The speech given by Jim Valvano, famous basketball coach who passed away early from cancer, was so powerful and gave insight into the mind of a born leader. He knew he did not have much time to live, but you wouldn’t know it if you had never met him or heard about him. His reaction towards his cancer diagnosis was one that all leaders should take note of. No matter how bad circumstances become, how you react determines your character. When leaders are faced with tough situations, they need to embrace them, not shy away from them. How one in charge reacts determines how his followers will react. In this case, Jimmy used his diagnosis to appreciate and see all the wonderful aspects of life, not to pout and feel sorry for himself.
Valvano also took initiative when he found out about his condition. He created the Jimmy V Cancer Foundation to raise money for cancer research. Great leaders can use negative circumstances to create positive ones for others. Jimmy knew how many lives are lost to cancer, and he knew he wanted to do something about it. He could have sat back, and pouted and not tried to make a positive impact. However, he did something that could save many lives one day, and may have already. The leadership lesson here is to care for your followers, or those that you could impact. Even in dark times, do something to create a glimmer of light for someone else.
Jimmy used his cancer diagnosis as a way to love more and try to create better days for all those in his situation. I invite you to watch the link to the video below, and watch how he doesn’t let his condition slow him down!