This weekend we lost “The Greatest of All Time,” Muhammad Ali.  So I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on his passing.   Ali was the ultimate fighter whether it was in the ring, for civil rights or while battling Parkinson’s for the last 30 years.

I grew up in the prime of Muhammad Ali’s career and got to witness both his athletic and cultural greatness.   As an 8 year old boy, I actually had the good fortune of meeting him once in the Los Angeles Airport.  Even though he was known for his loud and brash persona, on that day to an admiring 8 year old boy, he was nothing but kind and gentle – shaking my trembling hand and telling me how nice it was to meet me.  What a thrilling and lasting memory!!!

While listening to the hundreds of tributes praised upon him, I gleaned 4 major themes from the life of Muhammad Ali that can help us all,  not only in our business but in our lives:

  1. Believe in yourself.  Ali had enormous confidence in his ability as well as his beliefs.  We all have our own talents and gifts that we need to confidently and proudly share with those around us.  Ali never shrunk in the spotlight and neither should we.
  1. Brand Yourself.  Ali was the ultimate self-promoter.  He made up slogans, sayings and poems to promote each fight or opponent –  most as familiar today as they were 40 years ago.    Don’t be afraid to create and promote your brand that is uniquely and authentically you.  This will differentiate you from the pack, make you more memorable and allow you to stand out from your competition.
  1. Inspire Others.  Whether you agreed with Ali and his principles or not, there is no debate his words and actions inspired hundreds of thousands of people.  We should all aspire to inspire.  Do things that make a difference in your family, industry and community.
  1. Have a Sense of Humor.  Ali always seemed to be having fun.  Even in his later years, when he couldn’t speak, you saw the joy and playfulness in his eyes.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Enjoy what you do and all you have.  Have fun!!

There are hundreds of other attributes I could mention.  The bottom line is that Muhammad Ali was truly “The Greatest” and will be missed.  If we each strive to be the best we can be in our own lives,  then we too can be “The Greatest” in our own unique way.   What a great tribute that would be to The Champ.

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