The measure of a man is measured by the impact he has had on the people around him. This past Sunday I attended a memorial to celebrate the life of T. Scott Schroeder who lost his battle to cancer 5/22/09. I was profoundly impacted by Scott and how he led others. This event deeply moved me and I started thinking about what was it that made him so impactful, valuable, and remarkable. If you have read my blog before, you know I am a big believer in personal branding and how each one of us can do our part to impact the lives of others. They say you know a man had an impact by the number of folks at his memorial or funeral. Let’s just say, there were hundreds of people there.
Now for some background on how I came to know Scott. I attended undergrad at New Mexico State University and quickly joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon as a means to meet more people that came from different backgrounds. Scott was my first roommate in the fraternity house. From the moment I met Scott, I knew something was different about him. His smile and presence took up the whole room. It was his demeanor and attitude just attracted people to him.
As I took the microphone at the memorial to recollect fond memories, I lost complete control and had to pause for nearly a minute. This wasn’t just a few tears; this was the buckling over type that can embarrass a grown man. If that wasn’t enough, seeing and hearing his young nieces and nephews as young as 3 or 4 comment on how he impacted them just brought more tears.
Here are 6 key traits that made Scott such a great man:
- Positive Attitude: We have heard time and time how powerful a smile is. Scott exemplified this every day. Even his nephew commented on how excited he made them feel just by showing up with a smile from ear to ear. In college he was the same way. Scott was always encouraging folks to do better and was always willing to help out any way he could. This positive attitude is also what made him such a joy to hang around with in social situations. You know you would have a few laughs.
- Leadership: Scott had a natural leadership style and because he was so respected, folks valued his opinion. He served as President (Eminent Archon) of the fraternity as well as held many other roles. I have fond memories as he prepared us for Greek Sing to compete in Greek Week. His ability to rally over 70 fraternity brothers to participate and practice was unparalled. He often would engage with individuals directly to garner their support. What we call a bit of attitude adjustment.
- Giving: Scott was a giver. He volunteered his time, his knowledge, his heart, and his overall compassion.If you want to be valuable in society give to others. Whether you are sharing information, teaching them a new skill, or just lending an ear for someone to talk to you can set yourself apart. Many in our society are takers and wonder why they get no response when they ask for help.
- Hard Working: Scott was dependable and could be counted on to do his part. His strive for excellence set him apart and motivated folks around him to want to work with him. What are you doing to demonstrate to others that you are dependable and can meet deadlines?
- Compassionate: Not only was Scott a giver, but his compassion for others was remarkable. His ability to be in the moment with others and listen to their issues or volunteer to help just brought you that much closer. He had a huge heart and was wonderful with children as well.
- Authentic: Scott was always honest and upfront. His candor and authenticity only made him that much more impactful. Stop trying to make an impression.
In August I rode in honor of Scott as a survivor in the Austin Lance Armstrong ride not knowing his cancer would come back in January. I have always been a fan of Lance Armstrong and what he is doing to raise money. As we walked into the memorial, Livestrong wristbands were handed out. Scott, his sister and brother-in-law had been cycling quite a bit and there were some great pictures of him and the team featured at the memorial. As I cycle going forward, I will always be thinking of Scott. I wish I could have ridden with him at least once. I know it would have been fun.
As I close, I encourage all of you to reflect on how you are making an impact.