As a parent raising four children, I'm always looking for positive role models of good and successful people I can point out to my kids. Even with all of the books out there giving advice on how to raise successful children, I've found that there is little substitute for having your son or daughter watch someone who just does things the right way and is rewarded with success in life.
College basketball's March Madness is now upon us. Whether you are a basketball fan or not, there's one person you should be watching this year. And he's not a player.
He's one of the guys on the sidelines talking about the players. He's hard to miss, too. He's loud, bigger than life, and quirky as can be, but he's someone worth talking about when it comes to success doing it the right way.
Dick Vitale has been an integral part of college basketball for decades now. His unique approach to providing color commentary on the game and the players is polarizing to say the least. You either really love his style or are overwhelmed and exhausted by it.
Ironically, for most of my life, I've been in the "overwhelmed and exhausted" camp. As I've gotten older and am now raising my own children, though, I've come to realize what an incredible example he is of achieving success the right way.
Here are three things I tell my kids about how to be successful that I picked up from watching Dick Vitale:
1. Live and work with unbridled enthusiasm
If you ever watch Dick Vitale at a basketball game, he's literally almost flying out of his seat. He's excited and animated all the time. His level of enthusiasm sometimes seems to reach 11 on a 10 point scale, and it's not just with the players and teams about which he is providing commentary.
It's towards his fellow broadcasters, coaches, and the fans, too, who frequently maul him just to get in pictures and videos with him on the sidelines.
At 77 years of age, he's as about as amped up about what he is doing as he was when he started broadcasting decades ago after High School, College, and NBA coaching jobs.
Even though my kids are more into soccer, I tell them to watch him anyway. It has nothing to do with basketball. It has to do with the passion for what you are doing. For a while, I started saying to them:
"If you are going to do something, do it like Dick Vitale does it!"
why? He's in it 100%, and by watching him you could easily come to the conclusion that he'd do it for free. That's how much energy and enthusiasm it takes to be really great at something, and Vitale is a great role model of that.
2. Be completely and totally authentic
He's invented his own language about the game (he's potentially known best for calling standout freshmen players "diaper dandies"). And if you watch how he interacts with players, his co-workers, and the fans, it is readily apparent that Dick Vitale is always Dick Vitale.
You get the sense that nothing about him is an act.
In a world where lots of things blend together and where people seem to have a high level of acuity to pick up and sense lack of sincerity or genuine character, authenticity is more important than ever in driving success. Vitale is a role model of authenticity at all costs.
3. Do what you do with compassion and caring
There's no way to watch Dick Vitale do what he does and not see that he cares deeply about the game to which he has dedicated his life. This goes beyond all of his formal charitable work supporting The V Foundation for Cancer Research after his long-time friend and fellow coach and broadcaster, Jim Valvano, passed away.
It speaks to caring about his work, how he does what he does, and what he does for the game of basketball that he loves.
That level of compassion and caring for whatever you do isn't only a good thing to have. It has to be there to be successful because of the sheer number of roadblocks that will inevitably get in the way.
Dick Vitale is certainly a bigger than life character, but the three ingredients that have made him so wildly successful go well beyond him as an individual. So turn on the television, and give him a watch. If you are easily overwhelmed, maybe just turn the volume down slightly because he'll be bringing the full Dick Vitale experience the only way he knows how.