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Dale Brown

“Records Are Made To Be Broken.”
They know their legacy isn’t what they did on the field. They are well-rounded.

But that’s not the kind of man Dale Brown is. “Retirement can be a rocking chair or it can be a launching pad,” Brown quipped in a recent documentary about his life, The Man in the Glass. “And I’m choosing a launching pad.”

The film, which won several awards, highlights Brown’s incredible zest for life, both during his career and in the years that have followed. While family and friends discuss Brown’s innate curiosity that often leads him on crazy adventures to the jungles of southeast Asia or up mountain sides in Turkey in search of Noah’s Ark, they speak even more warmly of his fighting spirit that takes causes to heart.
"If you spend too much time polishing your image, you'll tarnish your character." -Agnes Brown (Dale Brown's mother)
For example, when federal funding for schools on Indian reservations grew woefully short, Brown made the cause his own. He traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby on behalf of Native Americans to ensure that the educational needs of their children were being met. He also works with at-risk youth at alternative schools, and has been very active in providing encouragement to prison inmates about making better life choices.
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Besides his activism, Brown is also a decorated motivational speaker and highly successful author. He recently published a book entitled, Getting Over the Four Hurdles of Life. In it, he outlines what he considers the four greatest hindrances to success — including an I can’t/you can’t mentality; fear of failure; handicaps and lack of self-knowledge — and how a person can clear each one to reap the benefits of overcoming the challenges. It’s a philosophy he has certainly lived out himself.

“I would like to try my best to make the world a better place to live in,” Brown said. “It’s so easy to not be active, to sit in this chair. It’s comfortable. It’s nice. But who’s going to fight the fight if you don’t?”

Tips from the Great Ones

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From a personal perspective, Dale Brown has always fascinated me. Not only is he one of my closest and dearest friends, but his unmatched energy for timely causes and for the underdog are larger than life. It seems incredible that a basketball coach could be so deeply invested in so many things that have nothing at all to do with the sport; and yet Brown believes — and has always believed — that his life is about much more than his win-loss record.

What about you? Have you become so laser-focused on one aspect of your life that you’ve allowed other priorities, hobbies, or causes to get lost? We’ve all been there at one time or another — so lost with what’s happening within the four walls of our office that we miss what’s occurring in the world outside them. The question is: What are we going to do about it?

Apply this Characteristic: Make a list of causes or hobbies outside of work you would pursue if time and money were no object. Now, select two of them that seem achievable and rearrange your schedule to give them the level of priority you feel they deserve. For one month, make room on your calendar to dedicate sufficient time to cultivating your involvement and see if you won't find yourself happier and more fulfilled. When Brown left basketball, he didn’t look back. Of course he will always love the sport and LSU, but his identity was not so completely wrapped up in his coaching that he was lost without it. Instead, he embraced his interests and his passions in order to be a well-rounded and complete person. He wasn’t worried as to whether or not his coaching legacy would stand the test of time; he was concerned with leaving a legacy that would outlive himself and impact the world-at large, one cause and one life at a time.

Take a moment today to consider what you want your legacy to be. How do you want to grow in an area apart from your job? Who do you want to help? Who do you want to become? Evaluate what experiences, skills, and interests make you the unique person you are, and then consider what steps you need to take to incorporate those pursuits into being a fully realized, well-rounded person of Greatness.

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About Don Yaeger

Don Yaeger

Don Yaeger is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), longtime Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated, 11-time New York Times best-selling author, leadership expert and executive coach.

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