Pat Williams, owner of the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA), speaker, author, health advocate and marathon runner, lives a "never say never" approach to life. This past February, Pat was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood/bone cancer. In typical Pat Williams fashion, he is not giving this disease the upper hand, as associate and publisher Adam Witty outlines below. The five keys Adam identifies mesh with The Daniel Plan principles.
By Adam Witty
Published by Author Advantage Magazine, Advantage Media
Recently I had dinner with Advantage author Pat Williams. Many of you know of Pat for his incredible accomplishments: as the Founder of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, as the author of over 65 books, as a motivational speaker, renowned sports executive, and, gulp, the father of 19 kids! Pat has spoken at our Marketing Summit, has graced the cover of this magazine, and has been an inspiration to many.
I first met Pat when I was in college at Clemson, some 12 years ago. Pat agreed, much to my pleasant surprise, to mentor me. He accepted a seat on the Board of the company I was running at the time, TicketAdvantage. A sports fanatic, my dream was to run an NBA basketball team. Why not learn from the guy that brought NBA basketball to Central Florida? Over the years, Pat and I have had hundreds of meetings, phone calls, e-mails, and voice messages. Aside from my own father, I can think of no other person that has taught me more about business and leadership. I owe a great deal to Pat.
In February, Pat was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer, Multiple Myeloma. I remember speaking with Pat two days after the diagnosis. I said “Pat, if anyone can beat this, it is you. Second, you are going to beat this.” As we had dinner, I asked how treatment was going and what his doctors were saying.
“My doctor says I have 5 big advantages in fighting this disease” said Pat. I knew it was time to get out my notepad.
- Family. The doctors say that having a loving family is the first critical ingredient to overcoming a serious health challenge. With 19 kids and a loving wife, Pat certainly gets a big check mark on that one!
- Faith. Believing in someone bigger than yourself cannot be underestimated. Having a relationship with God gives patients peace, equanimity, and solid footing. Being comfortable with any outcome actually gives the body energy to recover. A devoted Christian, Pat is a Sunday school teacher, and openly talks about his faith.
- Attitude. As Pat Williams told me many years ago, “Attitudes come in two flavors, Positive and Negative. You choose the quality of your life by choosing what attitude you have when the going gets tough.” Pat is Mr. Positive, from his 65 motivational books, to the famous motivational quotes on his voice mail, Pat “drinks the positive kool aid” 24/7!
- Fitness. A former college baseball player, Pat has always been a fitness buff. He has run in over 50 marathons, he exercises at least 1 hour every single day. When I traveled with him to Detroit to launch our book on Coach Chuck Daly, Pat was doing wind sprints in the hallway of the hotel. Seriously. Pat has always eaten a sensible diet. His overall state of good health gives him a huge advantage when fighting cancer.
- Professional Network. Just as having strong support from your family is important, so is having strong support from colleagues and business associates. There are few organizations as fine as the Orlando Magic. The level of support Pat has received from co-workers and the current owner of the club, Rich DeVos, is unparalleled.
As Pat shared all of this with me, I thought, “Gee, it would sure be nice to be Pat Williams if you ever got sick.” But as I reflected further, I realized that these five so called “advantages” that Pat has are purely of his own creation. He has worked his tail off over a lifetime to prepare for this day. Pat’s hard work has been a giant insurance policy. Upon further reflection, I realize that you don’t have to be the author of 65 books, the father or 19 kids, or a renowned sports executive to have the exact same insurance policy for your own life. All it takes is hard work.
Although it is still too early to tell the exact progress of Pat’s treatment, I can tell you this, you would never think the man had cancer. He was upbeat, full of energy, and executing on all aspects of his life, without missing a beat.
When I was in boy scouts, we had a motto, “be prepared.” What are you doing today, to prepare yourself for tomorrow? If cancer, or any other challenge strikes, are you giving yourself the best fighting chance to win? A good question or all of us.
Words of support can be sent to Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail: Pat Williams, c/o Orlando Magic, 8701 Maitland Summit Blvd., Orlando, FL 32810.