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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.

Tag Archives: Race

“Boo-Yow” Must Live On!

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By Greg Smith

As I mourn Stuart Scott’s passing, I wonder if there is any closer connection in the media then that between the average fan and the favorite sportscaster.

The sportscaster is our buddy who goes to all the games and tells us the inside scoop. Their message arrives every day as a constant in our lives giving us the good news or bad news, depending on who we root for. Each does so with unique style and personality. Many of us force our way through the newscast because we need to stay informed, but we reward ourselves with the sportscast. And because of the joy they bring, just by the nature of what they do, we become connected to the sportscaster.

In my house, the voice of the sportscaster is the most prevalent reverberation booming from my surround sound daily. It starts with Mike and Mike in the darkness of the morning, and ends with the overnight repeating SportsCenter that I have fallen asleep on and listened to in my dreams a few times before grabbing the remote and completing the cycle. I’m not always paying attention, but the personalities on ESPN are constant company. They are my closest friends.

That’s why Stuart Scott’s death struck me so hard. In the hours and days since the tragic news, I’ve come to realize that what hurts is that I’ve lost not only a friend, but someone like family. Someone who was in my house every day.

Once, I aspired to BE Stuart Scott. I was a sportscaster from high school through college and worked professionally, ascending to broadcasts on game day for the Arizona Cardinals and covering Phoenix Suns games for major market radio stations. That was before I recognized a calling to broadcast about disability issues and built a show that was thriving by the mid-90s. And that’s when Stuart Scott came on the scene.

Remember how when we first saw him, we were captivated by how he wasn’t “acting” like a stereotypical sportscaster? He was being himself. And that honesty is what captured us and allowed him into our hearts.

After 21 years of entertaining and informing us, he inspired us with his remarks at the 2014 ESPYs when he was presented the Jimmy V Perseverance award: “When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.”

I don’t think you have to be a cancer survivor to take wisdom and inspiration from those words. How do you live? Why do you live? In which manner do you live?  For me, at age 50 with severe muscular dystrophy, those words and the way Stuart lived give me a sense of urgency to live with the purpose of inspiring people and enjoying the love of my children.

Boo-Yow Forever!

Stuart’s voice is silent now, but I for one, propose that his feel-good vernacular live on forever. At some point, when the time is right, I hope ESPN decides to encourage the occasional “Boo-Yow” as a tribute to the man who was a friend and entertainer to millions for over two decades.

What do you think?

Podcast Debut – “Timeout with the Strength Coach”

picture of Greg Smith's studio mic flag and microphone

Photo credit: Amanda McCoy, Biloxi Sun Herald

By Greg Smith

I think the stars have finally aligned for me to maximize and fully utilize my best skill set. I am good at speaking, and pretty good at writing, but I am best at broadcasting, and we are now well into the era of the podcast!

My new podcast, Timeout with the Strength Coach will be ready for your download on Monday, November 3! Every week, I will be uploading an hour stuffed full of motivational knowledge, expert guests, my personal insights and lessons from some of the top personal development and personal growth thought leaders in in the world.

Back in the old days

When I first started broadcasting my radio show on disability issues in 1992, the Internet barely existed. We settled for weekend junk time on conservative news talk radio stations. “On a Roll” aired live on Sunday evenings and I was looking for a way to expand it beyond the limitations of our time-slots in terrestrial radio.

In ’94, I had a phone conversation with a fella named Mark about adding it to his new network, Broadcast.com. I enjoyed the talk. He was very persuasive and went on to enjoy some success in his venture! You know, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. The Shark Tank dude. Yeah that guy!

My success with the radio show wasn’t as marked as Mark’s with Broadcast.com, but I’m proud of what we did from 1992 to 2006. We grew the show from one single station in Phoenix to more than 70 across the country in that time span.

But it was hard to be a listener. You had to remember that the show came on a certain day and a certain time. You had to either tune into the station on your AM radio or find it on the Internet at that certain time. As a result, despite how polished and professionally produced it was, it never quite found the audience it deserved.

The new days of the podcast

Today, everyone has a radio in the palm of their hand!  Now you can listen to me anytime you want, wherever you want, on whatever device you want: your phone, your iPad, your Mac, your PC, or in your car!

You don’t have to worry about the signal fading in and out. You don’t have to worry about forgetting and missing the broadcast. All you have to do is subscribe, download and listen at your leisure.

Pew Research Center polling shows that the podcast user base continues to expand. A May 2013 survey found 27% of internet users ages 18 and older download or listen to podcasts, up from 21% three years ago in May 2010 and 7% of internet users in 2006. Those numbers are expected to rise.

My life’s mission is to take the lessons that I have learned overcoming the challenges of life with muscular dystrophy, and teach people how to apply those lessons to improve the quality of their lives and build their inner strength.  If you download my show weekly and take it with you while you’re out and about, I guarantee you will notice a difference in how you feel about yourself and what you are able to accomplish.

Here’s how you listen:

Go to webtalkradio. From there you can listen online or download the Podcast to the device of your choice. I am looking forward to interacting with you! In the kick-off broadcast, you’ll get to know me more personally and get a feel for my energy and my mission to empower you to build your inner strength.

You’ll also meet a few of my teammates… people who share my passion about living an inspired life. You’ll meet comedian Murv Seymour, my best friend and accountability partner, who will reveal the strength of humor and friendship.

You’ll meet Chad Hymas, a motivational speaking colleague for whom I has a lot of respect and admiration. (The Wall Street Journal called him the most inspirational person in the world!)

And you’ll meet Olympic athlete, author and legend John Carlos, famous for his silent protest at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. John just happens to be my uncle. Download this show and you’ll find yourself inspired, and enjoying a super-productive day.

webtalkradio page

Race in America: Moving Through H.A.T.E. to GREAT!

Hate, Accept, Tolerate, Embrace: 4 steps to our Groove!

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By Greg Smith

As a child, I hated the entire concept of disability.  To hate something so much means that a person must separate himself from it.  I did not want to have anything to do with it.  There were healthy, able-bodied people seemingly everywhere… on television, at school, at church.  And there were those disabled people that I would see every now and then in public.  They made me feel awkward and uneasy.  I didn’t want to be around them.  Later in my childhood, I would see more of them in the summers when I went to camp.  But I wasn’t like those people. I did not think of myself in any way as disabled. I was better than that.

As much as I hated my association with the concept of disability, I had no choice but to accept it.  I walked slower.  I could not run.  I could not lift heavy objects.  I could not ride a bike or play sports.  Even though I didn’t consider myself disabled, I had to accept the fact that I was, at the very least limited.

When I reached high school, fate led me to meet a few people with disabilities who were impressive, personable and productive.  That trend continued in college and a slow maturation process began, to the point where I began to tolerate the thought of disability.  I recognized that no matter how hard I tried to fight it, disability was part of my identity. It was as if I had lived my entire life without having the courage to look in a mirror.  And after a long stare, I realized I was in part defined by the “D” word. I still hated that part of my identity and refused to allow it to dominate my focus.  I simply tolerated it.

Over time, my newfound tolerance removed barriers that led to learning about disability history, meeting more great people with disabilities and actually starting to embrace it and finally owning it as a part of my identity!  I went from hatred, to acceptance, to tolerance, to embracing.  It was when I finally reached the stage of embracing that I started to grow leaps and bounds in every area of life.  When I became ONE with my disability and viewed it as a beautiful natural part of human diversity, the world opened up to me and my path through “On A Roll Radio” to “The Strength Coach” was paved.  I was then able to move into my groove!

Racial H.A.T.E

Race relations in America can be compared to my experience with disability.  I was born in March 1964 in rural Bay Springs, Mississippi into a world of hate.  Three months after I was born, three civil rights workers were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi out of hate.  A month later hate was in the air when 341 were injured and 774 were arrested in race riots in the same town.  These were the headlines but the underlying theme was the same across the land.  We hated each other.

And then came July 2 when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Hate started to yield to the fact that America was changing and like it or not, it was time to accept.

It seems that in the 50 years since the volatile civil rights movement, Americans have been stuck in the mode where racial diversity is something that we tolerate.  That’s kind of a good thing.  Tolerance has led to great accomplishments.  The end of a segregationist philosophy.  The beginning of a shared experience of Americans who started to realize that we had more in common than in conflict.  The emergence of a “middle class” of African Americans and all minorities.  Some of the resistance to the pursuit of the American Dream has eroded, although much of it still exists.  But tolerance has led to a healing path.

We have come a long way, but the recent headlines reveal to me that we are still tolerating racial diversity.  The fact that race is such a hot topic reveals that we are not at a point of embracing that part of our identity yet.

I could not become complete until I embraced my disability as a part of who I am.  That embracing made me complete.  The conflict within myself ended, and using my entire being in congruence, I was able to step into my groove!

In much the same way, America needs to take that last step and embrace ethnic diversity before she can become all that she is capable of.  America is better than she was, but she is still tolerating.  She needs to take that next step and get out of her own way to realize her destiny.  It is about time that tolerance leads to embracing diversity and when that happens, we as a society can finally reach our potential to become one nation, under a groove!