Eschewing the benefits of a positive attitude while at the same time setting an energetic tone, American TV news anchor Charlie Adams took the floor at the beginning of October’s Global Compliance Solutions conference and entertained the audience with tales from his colourful career. Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull enjoyed the show and reports.
As an anchor and reporter working in places such as New Orleans and Memphis interviewing hundreds of inspirational individuals, such as Tiger Woods and Michael Jordon, Charlie Adams said he was constantly exposed to a common denominator that defined individuals who were successful and happy with their lives.
“They have the fire within them and they are able to keep that fire,” he said.
Adams said he learned that there are two paths that one can take in life – stay on the easy road and be average or take a more difficult path and really excel at what you do. He told the story of how he learned this invaluable lesson, from a gruff cameraman in Philadelphia, where his home American football team (The Saints from New Orleans) were playing the Philadelphia team, the latter of which were undefeated while his team had lost successive games.
Mirroring the underdog idea from the Rocky movies, Adams said he intended to interview the team live on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the iconic steps of which were made famous by Sylvester Stallone who would run up and down to train in the movies.
“I thought it would be great to film them at the top of the steps, using a nicely fixed tripod, yet the cameraman had other ideas and said it would be far better to film them as we were actually running up the steps, camera over his shoulder,” Adams said. “The camera man said: “Your idea is average and I don’t do average!””
Adams said he was extremely wary of such an idea, scared that he or the cameraman would fall and either injure themselves or break the expensive equipment. In the end the take was so successful that the team on board the plane home congratulated him on such a great piece of television.
“They thought it was the wildest thing they had ever seen!” he exclaimed. “More importantly, the impact of what the cameraman had said left me with a lifelong lesson learnt. You can take the “tripod” way, i.e. nice and solid, as you’ve always done, or you can run up the steps and challenge yourself.”
Adams said these choices can be applied to all aspects of an individual’s life: within relationships, attitude to fitness and health, business life, service to customers, and so on.
Brett Eastbourne was another spirited individual that Adams had met during his career who also inspired him to understand the power of thinking positively.
“Brett was one of the first people I ever interviewed and a complete inspiration. He had no arms and no legs yet refused to believe that he was disabled,” Adams explained and continued: “He was all about the solution, not the problem. He got himself a motorised scooter and became a greeter at a Wal-Mart store and was a big hit with his outgoing and positive attitude. He leant how to wrestle and became a security guard by convincing his boss that he was up for the job by knocking him off his chair!”
Adams said that Brett was the most inspirational person he had ever met.
“Too often people quit after three strikes but Brett proved the power of positive thinking,” he said.
A further inspiration individual that Adams had drawn strength from was the eighth grader who was legally blind and small and skinny for his age who wanted to become a wrestler.
“He was sick of getting pummelled all the time in matches so he set himself small goals, such as lasting 30 seconds without getting pinned to the floor, then 60 seconds, so that each time he played he improved and therefore reached his goals,” Adams explained. “These were realistic obtainable goals and he is now in college living a fulfilled life. He never quit.”
Adams added: “A person without goals is like shooting a shotgun wildly in the air hoping a pellet will hit the target at some point. To take a quote from the Miami Heat basketball president, Pat Riley: “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to be better.”