What if the measure of your success is determined by how you react and change from catastrophe in your life? What belief system must you possess to conquer those challenges? Only rare events force people to change. Even more rare are those individuals who can inspire people to the core and move them to action.
The Florida Department of Professional Regulation mandates that veterinarians participate in 30 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain an active license. This is a good thing. But honestly, sitting in a lecture hall with hundreds of other veterinarians hasn’t been at the top of my bucket-list these last two years. Frankly, I’ve been working on me.
But May 30 is the deadline, and I do love what I do, so I “enthusiastically” attended the 85th Annual Florida Veterinary Medical Association Convention this last weekend, just a month before the deadline for my remaining required CE hours. If the likes of: Immune-mediated Thrombocytopenia: Pathophysiology & Diagnosis, Icteric Cats – More Than Just Hepatic Lipidosis, Cyclosporine/Apoquel Versus Glucocorticoids, and Resection and Reconstruction Techniques for Soft Tissue Sarcoma in Dogs sound like three riveting days, you would have been captivated. And, believe it or not, I thoroughly enjoyed all of these. But, me being me, what made me want to get up at 5:30 to drive two hours was a keynote speaker named Scott Burrows.
Scott played college football at Florida State University under legendary coach Bobby Bowden and was a top-ranked kick boxing champion, having his Last fight broadcast by ESPN. Later that year, his life took a dramatic turn when the car he was a passenger in lost control in a serious accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down and diagnosed a quadriplegic.
After years of frustrating and painful therapy, and a phenomenal will to succeed, Scott is now a best-selling author and in-demand speaker. He employed his paralysis as a visual metaphor, as he rolls himself out on stage in a wheelchair, obviously able to pretty effectively use his upper body now. With dramatic arm gestures, he explained how he personally utilized his three principles: Vision, Mindset, and Grit, that are now the focus of his motivational/inspirational addresses. He encouraged us to “stand up” when we are “paralyzed” by life’s challenges—regardless of circumstances—and achieve our best.
Clearly aimed at a secular audience, Scott used a Tony Robbins” style “You can do it,” positive motivation that we can accomplish anything we set our minds on.
Scott has keynote addressed hundreds of multinational corporations all over the world. That’s how I had heard of him. In doing so, he is ambiguous as to the source of his immense inner strength. But I did a bit of digging on his website and some of his other addresses, and discovered his faith in Christ, and the use of his suffering as part of an offering up from which to be lifted out of his tragedy.
So, why not tell the whole story? Why not “give Him all the glory?” No doubt a “You can do it yourself style Motivational Speaker,” has an easier time paying the bills and is in less demand at PepsiCo, GE, and Polaris than a Christian inspirational speaker.
Far be it from me to know someone’s heart, but I tend to give folks a pass. Scott let us fill in the blanks with our own hearts and minds. If we look inside and don’t really have such a source, it’s likely we’ll dig deeper until we find Him. I thinks this is an example of “God meets us where we are.”
Scott held a gold club (9 iron?) and raised it, and waved it and twirled it for dramatic effect several times during the talk. He shared a story of golfing with someone and showed how he swung the club from the chair.
Towards the end of his keynote presentation, to demonstrate that his are not just words, that we really can do whatever we really are determined to do, he scooted himself to the edge of his seat, and with his hands, lifted one foot out of the chair, then the other. He flipped the golf club around and, pressing it to the ground as support, lifted his body weight and walked across the stage.
Of course, this was met with applause and a standing ovation. Indeed, with a true faith, we can certainly move mountains.
Bravo, for Mr. Burrows in being able to walk again.
I have a big problem with folks of his ilk, the Tony Robbins style ‘motivational’ speakers. The assertion by them that you can accomplish anything you want to and set your mind to leads to more desperation if you don’t attain your goal. They suggest that because you didn’t reach your goal, then you are to blame; you didn’t want it enough, or worse, you somehow didn’t employ their tactics properly, so,here, let me sell you more materials so you can reach your goal.
I think such an attitude is irresponsible and cruel; really cruel.
With every person who manages to reach some impossible goal, overcome a huge obstacle in life, I don’t think the answer is so simple. Each person has a journey, a path they must walk to get there, if they do get there. I congratulate those who overcome those huge obstacles. But is the path the same for everyone and therefore able to be so seemingly simple to be recreated? Their brand of motivation suggests you can hope for the truly impossible; you just have you want it badly enough, and be completely single minded in your goal.
Giving credit to Him as your source of inspiration and strength in overcoming your obstacle is, I suppose your choice, but I don’t see how you get there without Him to lean on. With most accomplishments of this nature there is a point where the person says they realized they were infused with or had a source of internal strength not their own. Who is that, and why can’t you give credit? Leaving this piece out in order to be PC and more attractive as a speaker for Corporate events is just well, distasteful to me. But, YMMV.
Thank you, Dogtor Bill, for your blog.
All opinions expressed are mine, I own them, and stand by them. You may have a different opinion and experience, which is fine. You’re entitled to yours , just as I am to mine.
What an inspiring story!