by Tracy Johnson
One of the most quotable and colorful players in the history of baseball, Reggie Jackson once described himself as “The Straw That Stirs The Drink.” Depending on how you view it, his hubris, ego, confidence or arrogance made him a lightning rod of controversy in his 20 year career, and earned him the nickname Mr. October.
Reggie had a flair for the dramatic, punctuating his considerable achievements by hitting three consecutive home runs in the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This added to his legend, and is in fact, the moment that Mr. October was born.
Jackson was a great major league player, but he was even more special because he understood that he was also an entertainer.
At home, Yankee fans chanted, “Reg-gie, Reg-gie” when he came to bat. On the road, he was greeted by a round of boos every time he stepped to the plate. And not just boos. Opposing fans would curse at him, throw things at him, hurling insults at him and his family.
Whether it was a strong positive or a strong negative, Reggie got a reaction. He touched nerves. He had the courage to be himself with no apologies. Sometimes his opinions didn’t go over well with management or the media. That included his boss, George Steinbrenner.
Reggie didn’t care.
In your life, and on your show, you can tip-toe through life and avoid confrontation. You can play it safe, avoid controversy so as to not ruffle feathers.
When your show is over, you can reflect on it and say, “I made it through another day,” then prepare for tomorrow. Or you can be bold, finding a way to be in the spotlight. That takes time, preparation and effort, but it also takes courage and an inner strength focused on your purpose.
If you truly want to be the best at what you do, prepare for boos. Making a difference and resonating with a fan base means standing for something, standing for something means causing others to boo you.
It comes with the territory. It takes courage, conviction and a burning desire to stay out of the zone of mediocrity.
Step up and be counted. Dare to be great. Be somebody, boldly and with conviction because, as Reggie once said when asked if it ever bothered him to hear the boos:
They don’t boo nobodys.
Don’t be a nobody. Be like Reggie. Be somebody.
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