Greg Smith Keynote Speaker

Leadership Expert on Resiliency and Inner Strength – Greg helps leaders and teams “Go Full-Strength!” for maximum productivity.

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Inner Strength insights from the world of sports, disability, entertainment, business, politics and everything else I’d like to share with you.

Category Archives: Podcast

How Hating Losing Helps

Look at Life’s Daily Challenges as Opportunities to Feel the Thrill of Victory

Kobe Bryant and Greg Smith discuss "inner strength" in a lockeroom after a game.

Talking to winners about winning is the best part of the access sportscasting has provided in my career.

By Greg Smith

“People just don’t understand how obsessed I am with winning.”  — Kobe Bryant

“I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.”  Michael Jordan

“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”  Derek Jeter

“Never die easy. Why run out of bounds and die easy? Make that linebacker pay. It carries into all facets of your life. It’s okay to lose, to die, but don’t die without trying, without giving it your best.”  Walter Payton

Eight years before my birth, my father was throwing touchdown passes at Alexander High School in Brookhaven, Mississippi and  then at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi. When I was a baby, he was coaching championship high school teams to record winning streaks and players to National Football League careers from Biloxi and Pascagoula, Mississippi.

There are genes for athleticism.  I inherited those genes. Because of that fact, I consider myself an athlete whose destiny was changed by other genes… the genes led to a body with muscular dystrophy.

I don’t believe there is a gene for competitive spirit.  I think that characteristic is teachable and learnable. I believe loving to win and hating to lose are the keys to success.

Every day, I face situations that I turn into “games” in my mind.  These are usually physical situations created by the weakness in my muscles.  Instead of lifting something with muscle, I need to be able to figure out a way to move it using leverage, balance and momentum.  When I encounter a situation like that, I interpret it as a challenge.  I analyze the situation and based on time constraints and my energy level, I will either decide to accept the challenge or get help.  If I accept the challenge, I am usually determined and relentless.  And I usually win.

When I win, I celebrate!  I bask in the spirit of victory.  I enjoy it to the point where I look for the next challenge to overcome so I can enjoy that tremendous feeling again! I invite you to try it.  Get into “game-time” mode the next time you face a difficult situation.  When you win, celebrate!

To learn more

Greg Football Uniform

Baseball’s “ADA Fan Cam” Offers Huge At-Bat for Disability Pop Culture


By Greg Smith

Baseball TV Broadcasters to Acknowledge Fans with Disabilities on OUR day, the 25th Anniversary of the ADA!

“ADA Fan Cam” is a grassroots initiative to create awareness about the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 25th Anniversary. The goal: a mention of ADA during all Major League Baseball telecasts, with cameras including fans with disabilities and announcers acknowledging the day.

It is gaining momentum. The Arizona Diamondbacks are definitely participating, and hopefully, after one key phone call to Park Avenue, scheduled Monday, many more teams will follow along. I’m more excited about this than most of the work I’ve ever done, but you may wonder: Why is this important in the full scheme of things?

The answer goes beyond baseball and back to the early 1950s. My parents have shared with me their reflection on a day when televisions were “black & white,” but that phrase didn’t represent the people “inside” the box. When the first black people came on television, it was a big deal!

“Ma! Dad! Come see! There’s black people on TV!”

Families rushed to gather around the tiny, blurry picture in festive mode. It was a great thrill for them to see people who looked like them represented for the nation to see. Television became a major catalyst that paved the way to the explosion of African American culture’s current status as a vital part of pop culture.

Today, people with disabilities have little impact on pop culture. We have talented musicians, actors, artists, athletes, writers, dancers, but how many pop stars with disabilities can you name? How many who were not already stars before they acquired their disabilities? Others ascended to a “semi-star” status after public compassion over the “tragedy” of becoming disabled heralded them into the spotlight, but never to the level of “full stardom.”

In order for people with disabilities to develop the social confidence to reach our full potential and put our spin on pop culture, we need to be seen on television. That’s a prerequisite first step.

What does this have to do with baseball?

The “ADA Fan Cam” has the potential to serve as a sign that America is maturing socially. I have been watching baseball on TV my whole life and I have NEVER seen one television shot of a fan with a discernible disability. In the thousands of hours of camera shots of fans at ballgames I’ve watched, I haven’t seen one.

I’m sure most directors never thought about it. And I’m also sure that raising public awareness about social issues is not their job. Covering the game is. This is not a criticism of baseball or baseball broadcasters. This is the presentation of an opportunity to make a historical difference, respectfully submitted by equals whose opinion and input deserve to be heard, respected and considered.

This week, we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA and the civil rights that law has given us. And yes, we should party hard. But we need to realize there is no building code in the language that forces the removal of attitudinal barriers, stigmas, devaluing prejudices and antiquated beliefs about people who happen to have disabilities.

Are we not shown on TV because we’re too repulsive? Ugly? Deformed? Misshapen? Depressing to non-disabled viewers? Would we make people grab their remotes and turn the station? Before remotes, I’m sure some people got up from their “Lazy Boys” to turn when a black face came on television. But we’ve moved on.

The “ADA Fan Cam” concept would not fit any other sport or any other televised public gathering. But it fits baseball like a catcher’s mitt. Baseball is “America’s Favorite Pastime.” It is a four-hour gathering of the common man, where everyone is in their summer clothes, eating hot dogs, cotton candy, peanuts and Cracker Jacks while rooting for the home team. The pace of the game is slow enough for television to do a masterful job of capturing the universal experience of being there. In each broadcast, leading into innings and during stoppages in play, dozens of fans are shown in seemingly random cutaways and close ups. But never us.

If television can accept and honor Caitlyn Jenner, proudly display a rainbow colored White House (reported by openly gay news anchors and reporters) and gather at the steps of a state capitol, focusing the eyes of the world on the lowering of a flag of injustice, surely it can listen to the voices of it’s largest minority group for one day. Surely it can show us in our Sunday best as we celebrate OUR day.

The community of people with disabilities is extremely happy about the accomplishments of the LGBT community, the African American community, the Hispanic, Asian, Native American… all our communities. Because we are you. We are among all communities. And you are a part of our community because at any moment, you could be welcomed into our midst.

We are following you in the batting order. A successful “ADA Fan Cam” on July 26th would be a solid base hit. If all teams participate, it will be a towering home run! So please root for OUR team and look for us between innings as you enjoy a Sunday afternoon watching baseball on TV.

Visit the ADA Fan Cam Facebook Page:

NOTE: People in wheelchairs are a very small fraction of the people whose civil rights are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  To learn more about invisible disabilities, visit

Disability Emoji are Here!

 Why I’m all “emoji” about it and why you should be too!


By Greg Smith

I’m excited to announce that I’ve partnered with iDiversicons, the world’s first diverse emoji keyboard, to introduce new “Disability Pride Emoji” in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. iDiversicons is adding 14 disability emoji to it’s existing line of diverse images that offer a new seamless iPhone and iPad keyboard.

The cost of the app is $1.99.  If these 14 emoji demonstrate a market demand, hundreds of other disability figures will be created and added to the upgrades, covering the full range of disability diversity.  If your disability isn’t represented yet, fear not, and purchase the ap anyway to show your support.

Why does this matter?

Disability Pride Emoji give people with disabilities the opportunity express ourselves as we celebrate our civil rights.  The concept of disability today refers to a lifestyle, shared by millions of people who are fully engaged in community life. And that includes on-line and wireless community life!  If everybody else is expressing themselves with emoji that look like them, so should people with disabilities!

For too long, we’ve been left out of the mainstream mirror of society.  We never see the “fan cam” on the wheelchair section at ballgames.  We never see stars with disabilities saving the day, in slow-motion, rolling away from the explosion in the background.  But thanks to iDiversicons, we are on the cutting edge of a growing trend.

iDiversicons is the brainchild of Katrina Parrott, a former NASA employee who got the idea from her daughter Katy, who expressed a desire to send her friends emoji that looked like her.  So iDiversicons’ emoji encompass various races, biracial and gender equality, religion, animals, holidays, sports, mascots, fraternities, sororities and now, disabilities. As a pioneer for diversity and inclusion, iDiversicons’ revolutionary new iPhone and iPad keyboard features truly diverse emoji, satisfying a void that current emoji lack and what the public has been asking for: “more faces of color and diversity.” There are over 900 iDiversicons to choose from, including an unmatched five different skin tones.

Emoji are on the rise!

Emoji are rising fast in popularity.  Here’s a graphic that represents their usage since the were introduced on Apple’s iOS in 2011.


The iDiversicons’ keyboard is fluid, seamless and very easy to use. All diverse emoji are contained in the keyboard like a font. Emoji can instantly be made larger for easier viewing and selection purposes. There is no limitation in the number of iDiversicons you can select and send at one time. This first batch of Disability Pride Emoji is just the beginning of what will become hundreds of images when the funding becomes available.

We’re interested in your ideas for images too.  Download the latest version of iDiversicons as a vote for inclusion of people with disabilities in a rising form of expression.

What additional emoji would you like to see added?  Post in the comments section below and we will make it happen in the next version!

Hear my interview with founder Katrina Parrott on “Timeout with the Strength Coach,” my weekly podcast.

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