I listen to ESPN Radio on my drive to and from work, as well as on my lunch breaks. Well, this week is Jimmy V Week. All week-long, ESPN honors the late, great Jim Valvano with a charity drive to raise money for The V Foundation for cancer research. It’s a fantastic cause. It also means repeated plays of his famous speech at the ESPYS. It’s the Brian’s Song of acceptance speeches. Gets me every. Single. Time.

I’d already written most of this week’s Benchmark 5 when I left for my lunch break. I knew I had to write about this instead, after hearing them discuss the speech on the radio for the second time today. So I present you, the Benchmark 5: Ways You Can Apply Jimmy V’s ESPYS Speech to Your Business (but seriously just live your life this way). First, watch the speech (and keep the Kleenex close). Everyone should see it.

  1. “Don’t give up…don’t ever give up.” It’s the motto of The V Foundation. The morning of the ESPYS Jim Valvano was to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award, they didn’t even know if he would be well enough to attend. He wound up delivering one of the most poignant messages on living life I’ve ever heard. Maybe a project doesn’t go as well as planned or your numbers have been down for longer than you care to remember. Don’t quit. Evaluate where you are and go up from there.
  2. “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.” Try and do those things with your content. It doesn’t have to be all in the same post. I clown around in this space. A lot. However, from time to time I’ll write something (like my post about Father’s Day last year that brought one unnamed coworker to tears) that pulls on the heartstrings. Less rare than those times, is where I try to make you think about what you’re doing. Even if it is a lesson buried in a story about Tupac holograms or the Jersey Shore.
  3. “They got that screen up there flashing 30 seconds, like I care about that screen.” Sometimes, the rules are meant to be broken. Best practices are there as guidelines, but sometimes you have to blaze your own path.
  4. “You have to have a dream, a goal. You have to be willing to work for it.” It’s important to know where you want to go and what you are going to do to get there. Whether it’s your email campaigns, blog or social networks, know what you want them to be. Set goals for yourself and follow through with them. Monitor reports and analytics and adjust accordingly. You’ll get there if you work hard enough at it.
  5. “It may not save my life. It may save my children’s lives. It may save someone you love.” Sometimes, doing the work that you won’t directly benefit from is the most important. Perhaps you can lend a hand to some coworkers on a project that you may not even get credit for. It’s all about the greater good.