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Lessons from Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter

Steve-IrwinA few readers have emailed me today to ask if I’m going to post about the tragic death of Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter.

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.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Darren,

    Steve Irwin’s death has been an interesting one to watch in the blog world. “Stingray” and “Steve Irwin” were very big tags on Technorati over the past two days. I think his legacy will be one which is even more empowered in his passing. I know he will be dearly missed by many and I think you very poetically summarized the characteristics which made Steve a favorite individual to so many people. My condolences to his family and in his passing I hope that his message is not lost.

  2. Tony says:

    Wow, seems like I’m not the only one to write a few things about Steve Irwin.

    http://www.deepjiveinterests.com/2006/09/05/what-bloggers-can-learn-from-steve-irwin/
    http://www.onlinemarketinganalyst.com/steve_irwin_google_and_the_mythbusters_three_qualities_that_set_the_foundation_for_business_success.html

    I think we can all agree on one thing — the man had an unbridled passion for his job that was utterly palpable. Were that we had the same kind of energy for our own projects.

    Steve Irwin: RIP.

    Cheers
    tony.

  3. Jeff says:

    I’m very sad that he’s gone. I’m pretty much a tree hugger, and the thing I loved most about Irwin was that he made the case, if not on purpose, that you can advance an environmental agenda and create awareness in a way that’s entertaining and positive. He’ll be missed, that’s for sure.

  4. wendy says:

    I’ll miss Irwin too, my kids loved watching his shows and his enthusiam was just incredible. I was really touched by the tribute that you posted.

  5. Teresa says:

    At least he died doing something he loved versus having regrets about it in the end. I’d like to go like that, happy and blissful in the knowledge I did something I love and died young instead of living with the “un-regrets”. You know, the “I regret never taking my child to the park more” or “I regret never doing what I love”.

  6. Chris Cree says:

    Steve Irwin’s death is all the more tragic in that one of the very things that led to his tremendous success (at least over here in the States) – his incredible fearlessness in approaching dangerous creatures – became his undoing in the end. He was a remarkable man who really had a global impact.

  7. ChannelFlix says:

    It’s so sad that there’s no 2nd guy to substitute Irwin :-( Enjoy your precious time in the heaven Steve.

  8. Bill McRea says:

    Hey they guy was great, but honestly if you do stupid things long enough its bound to catch up to you.

    Too bad, but it was part of his charm. I wish the best for the wife and Young kids.

  9. trish says:

    He loved what he did and did what he loved…. he lived a truly genuine life, and from everything I’ve read, what you saw on TV was the real deal. My heart goes out to his family….

  10. Swade says:

    I think that might go well on Sunday, Darren ;-)

    A true loss to the country, which is really only being fully appreciated now. I think Irwin was loved and known more overseas than he was at home.

  11. Adrian says:

    What you said really sums it up for me.

    Personally I can be quite cynical and judgmental, and think this was a load of crap. But Steve Irwin embodies things that we find intuitively important. Passion, Uniqueness and a love for the environment.

    He stands out in a time when we have mediocre celebrity. My family and I are fans, and we do miss him. He died a true warrior.

  12. Marc says:

    I always thought Steve did some really dangerous things, yet at the end of the day he was always unscathed (for the most part). He had such confidence and we had seen him in potentially deadly situations with animals before that I just didn’t think something like this was possible.
    Of course he was mortal and prone to mistakes like anyone else, but he always seemed to manage to come out OK in the end.

    A relative of mine also died on the same day, which was also tragic although somewhat expected. And personally for me it’s a bit strange because my thoughts have been with Steve Irwin more than with my own relative. I’m not sure why this is, since I never met the man. I think Steve Irwin was just the type of guy that people like and want to be around.

    We’ll miss you Crocodile Hunter.

  13. Nneka says:

    Funny, I was listening to the radio earlier and they were talking about this guy getting stung by a sting ray. Whether or not to show it. I had no idea what they were talking about.

    Then I’m reading my feeds and see the pic of the crocodile and decide to read on. I put 2 and 2 together and get the info without the editorial.

    Who needs broadcast TV news, when you have the blogosphere.

  14. rob says:

    die doing something you love.

    RIP – Steve.

  15. Zach Graham says:

    Steve Irwin was a influence for me, he was someone I looked up to immensely for his numerous positive qualities. He was a quality example of what I would call a great role model.

    I’ll miss you, Croc Hunter.

  16. One Australian we would love to claim as our own. You’ve got it right. We moan and wince at overwhelming enthusiasm and passion (especially here in NZ) but in the end it is what drives and inspires and sparts greatness. Such a shame.

  17. Tinus says:

    Well, may I invite you all to add your condoleances to our condoleance register at http://www.dearsteve.nl?

  18. tracey says:

    thanks for writing this post :) i think you’re spot on – there are lessons we can learn from Steve Irwin, and sometimes we need to be reminded of it in our lives.

  19. As a child growing up in Canada, I watched Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. As a teen, I developed a huge crush on Olivia Newton-John. As a young adult, I used to listen to Men at Work. And I’ve been a Bee Gees fan as far back as I can remember. Australia has given the world a great deal in terms of talent. Two celebrities, of late, when each passed away, caused grief around the world. I wrote a song for each of them that I’d like to share with fans of each:

    Crocodile Hunter (A Tribute to Steve Irwin)
    words and music by Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/crocodileHunter.mp3

    When the Bee Gees were Three (A Tribute to Maurice Gibb)
    words and music by Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/beegees.mp3

  20. Steve will be missed greatly, not only by his family but by everyone that has watched his shows. He may be gone but the legend will never die!

  21. Deanna says:

    Hi I think the crocodile hunter rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. naima says:

    steve will be missed he was a daredevil but i never ever expected him to die as soon as i new he was gone ny heart was broken and i started crying and i steve can read this message i want you to no that i was your number 1 fan and you rock

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  1. [...] Darren Rowse, proud Australian and ProBlogger, offers a few lessons that bloggers could learn from Steve’s approach to life and his subject: [...]