While I’m a proud Australian and have been saddened by his passing, I’d not really seen the need for a post here to mark the occasion as it’s not really relevant to the topic at hand (even though I did once blog about why the Crocodile Hunter Needs a Blog)
However today as I’ve watched the news reports of Steve’s death and have watched the reaction of my fellow Australians (it’s been quite remarkable) I’ve been asking myself why the reaction has been so strong to his death?
It’s obviously in watching the reports that this was a guy who was not only very successful at what he did – but that he was someone who was influential and that had a lasting impact on those he met (and those beyond that).
As bloggers perhaps there are some lessons that we can learn from Steve Irwin.
A number of things spring to mind:
1. Passion – perhaps the biggest observation that virtually every person interviewed about Steve is making is that he was an incredibly passionate man. Passionate about animals, Australia, conservation and people.
While I’m sure a lot of us laughed at many of his over the top antics, there’s something about watching someone who so obviously loves what he’s doing and who throws himself into it (quite literally) that is very attractive.
2. Focused on Others - of course I don’t really know what Steve was like as I never met the guy myself but I saw a number of interviews with people today that left me with the impression that he had a way of making others feel incredibly valued and empowered.
One interview particularly stood out – it was with the cameraman who was with him at his death who told the story of how hours before dying Steve had seen the cameraman on the phone to his son. He grabbed the phone and talked to the guy’s son for 45 minutes, encouraging him and giving him a real thrill. After the call the cameraman thanked Steve for what he’d done and Steve turned things around and genuinely thanked the cameraman for sharing his life with Steve. The camera guy was obviously impacted by Steve in just the few days that he’d known him.
3. Individuality – the footage that is being played on news today highlights again and again just what an individual he was. His ‘Crikey’ catch cry, his khaki clothes, his vivacious energy, his exaggerated Aussie mannerisms etc – all of these things added together to create something quite unique – something that people latched onto and were drawn to.
4. Optimism – while some conservationists use fear and negativity to guilt trip us into looking after the environment, Steve Irwin came across as a very optimistic person who had a way painting a positive picture of the way things could be if we looked after the world we lived in. This had a way of drawing people to him and his causes that was incredibly influential.
A quote from Steve Irwin to wrap this up:
“I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message.”
Passion, Individuality, Optimism and the ability to genuinely enter the lives of those around him and make them feel valued and important is something that Steve shares with a lot of other successful and influential people. I suspect that they’d both be worthwhile characteristics to build into one’s blogging practices (and lives) also.