Update: Ian Webb, PGA Professional, passed away on the evening of September 7, surrounded by his close family. We are immensely saddened, but blessed to have encountered his greatness in love, spirit, and enthusiasm for life.
“You can measure your success in greatness – or kindness. The latter will guarantee you the former!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Every once in a while you will have a momentary interaction with greatness.
Learn from it, be inspired by it, & embrace the message that you see. And take the time to understand what defines greatness – because greatness comes not only from achieving the most in your personal area of endeavour, but but by the kindness and compassion that comes from the essence of your soul.
So begins my story of the last 48 hours – & golfing legend Jack Nicklaus.
The Chief Operating Officer at my home golf club, Credit Valley Golf & Country Club, Ian Webb, was diagnosed in the spring with glioblastoma, the aggressive brain cancer that took the life of Canadian rock icon Gord Downie. Ian is currently in treatment.
It is beyond difficult to describe the measure of support & respect that the Canadian PGA professional & golf community has for Ian. If you ever met him, talked with him, had the chance to interact with him – you will have met kindness and graciousness defined. His diagnosis took the community into shock and disbelief.
Enter golfing legend and icon Jack Nicklaus.
In my career, I have been blessed to rise to the top of the global speaking industry. I am so lucky with my career, and in in awe each and every moment – I’m represented by many of the global speaker bureau giants who represent the icons of the sporting, business and entertainment world – Barack & Michelle Obama, Richard Branson, Michael Douglas.
I thought I might try to approach Jack via one of our respective agents, to ask if he might share a message of support for Ian, by wearing one of the iconic #Webbystrong shirts.
A few days back, his office contacted me & said yes. Encouraged, I pushed a little, asking for a bit more…. The result? In addition to his public message of support on social media, Jack spent 15 minutes on a private phone call with Ian – sharing stories at length about golf, life, love, leadership, kindness and family.
The impact on my good friend Ian has been incalculable.
The reaction from the Canadian golfing community is profound.
The lesson I have learned is life changing.
Someone can be great by virtue of what they accomplish in business, sports or entertainment. But that is only a part of overall success. It is defined by so much more.
Jack could have ignored my request. I can only imagine the incalculable demands on the time for someone of such stature. But he didn’t. And by virtue of doing so, I believe he has taught so many of us that greatness doesn’t just come from one’s ability – it comes from the compassion and kindness in their soul.
Bottom line? Jack Nicklaus is greatness, defined.