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Passion Meets Purpose #1: Getting The Most Out Of Each Day with Scott Hamilton

You may know him as the back-flipping Olympic Gold Medalist, full of personality. You can’t think of the name Scott Hamilton without seeing that HUGE smile and personality plus.

Scott self-describes as having a “hobby of collecting life-threatening illnesses” and yet the first word that comes to most people’s minds in describing him is optimistic. It’s no wonder, then, that his latest endeavor is all about inspiring YOU with The Live Your Days Podcast. Scott and his friends believe the Live Your Days campaign is a call to presentness. A proverbial splash of water that wakes you to the wonder that is a new day on this planet. While we don’t control the number of days we are on Earth, we do control how we spend those days and Scott knows now, more than ever, we need a little bit of light to shine through all this darkness.

Special thanks to Northwest University for sponsoring the Passion Meets Purpose Podcast!

Interview Links:


Scott Hamilton: [00:00:00] 41,600 times minimum. But when you get up 41,600 times, you kind of like, you’re not building that muscle of failure. You’re building that muscle of resilience and it’s like, okay, I’ll get up and try it again. I get up and try it. Yeah.

Sarah Taylor: [00:00:16] It’s the passion meets purpose podcast brought to you by Northwest University

I’m Sarah Taylor, welcoming a Olympic gold medalist ice skating back flipper today. Scott Hamilton. But, uh, what he does is so much more than just hold onto a few medals from years ago. Um, he is passionate about cancer research and he talks about his mom and why this matters so much to him. And he has the Scott Hamilton cares foundation, as well as the most hope filled, uplifting podcast. In fact, stop listening to me right now. Just go listen to his it’s called live your days, and he’s going to talk all about it and who he gets to interview. Um, he’s also going to talk about what it’s like to have, not one, not two but three brain tumors. And I I’ve lost count actually of the amount of times he’s been diagnosed with cancer himself.

Um, he says he jokes that he has a lifelong habit of collecting and life-threatening illnesses. And he’s still here. And he is certainly living his days well. Would you please welcome Scott Hamilton?

Scott Hamilton: [00:01:23] Oh, thanks. It’s been a day. That’s just, it’s been a year. How about that? Yeah, 2020 has been kind of a whiff, you know, um, it’s like people are going to look back at 2020 and they’re going to go wow, man, that was just powerful. And tragic for many, it will be a period of growth, personal growth, uh, for others that’ll be, you know, just like to bond with incredible tragedy and. And, uh, heart-wrenching stories and, uh, just, uh, man, it’s been a really brutal year. And I think that’s most of the reason why we decided to launch live your days now, because we just, uh, it was created about four years ago and we thought, wow, it’s not really the right time to do it.

Just didn’t feel right to present it. And then while we’re in the middle of COVID, I got. An email from a five by five, who we created this thing with and, and they go, now I go now. So, you know, anytime you can, uh, create a platform, that’s designed to encourage people and to remind people the power and, uh, of each day and how they can best participate in it.

Now is the right time to launch it. Live your days as a podcast that, um, you have had your days numbered by several doctors at several times in your life. You talk about this on your podcast and your book, you say that it’s not, um, the number of days that we have on this earth, but what we do with them.

And that’s, that’s the whole premise of this podcast. Yeah. And it sounds really kind of like, Oh, okay, whatever. But you know, it, it really is, you know, when I was diagnosed with my third brain tumor, you know, I say that casually, um, I realized that, um, all at once that our bodies are incredibly. Vulnerable and fragile too many different things and, uh, but also incredibly resilient, but ultimately temporary.

Right. So knowing that we’re only here for a period of time, let’s get to work. I mean, let’s just, let’s just get as much as we can out of each day. And I kind of feel like, um, you know, there’s many people like me out there that have, you know, I’ve had, you know, Cancer and, um, other debilitating things. It’s just, I just felt like now is the time.

And I felt uniquely qualified to be able to really remind people that today is a day to find, just squeeze some joy out of, and let’s just do this together. Let’s you have such a incredible story. And there’s a few pieces that I want to touch on it with. So, but it all speaks to the credibility that you have to be doing a podcast like this.

Sarah Taylor: [00:04:15] And part of it starts with you were adopted as a small child. Um, you had various health issues. In fact, uh, I remember you talking about how the first day you took to the ice rink, because the doctors told your parents they needed a break. They dropped you off at the ICU for a little bit. You had like a feeding tube in your nose.

You describe what it must’ve looked like that you stood out. Just a little bit among the, yeah. Yeah. It’s like, you know, you come into a brand new skating rink at the bowling green state university and there’s probably 150 kids there, you know, and everybody’s excited to get on the ice and everything. And I walk in and I’m like, you know, what’s wrong with you?

Scott Hamilton: [00:04:56] It’s like, what, what do you mean? And they go, you got it. Thing coming out of your nose and it’s like, you’ve never been fed through your nose before. It’s like, well, like, come on. Who’s the weirdo here. It’s like really come on. Everybody’s fed through their nose right now is it was a supplement that I hated it it’s like it was chalk pure chalk and it wasn’t like chocolate chakra, vanilla, chalky.

It was just chalk. And so I wouldn’t drink it. And so he came up with a compromise to put a tube through my nose, down my esophagus, and they would put the supplements through the tube and it was like, When it speaks to your strong will, even as a child, you’re like, I’m not drinking that. So what’s the plan B well, I mean, it made me, it turned me into a pathologic, a liar.

Like I tell my mom, it’s like, I’m going to go. I give an a gag. So I’m going to go in the bathroom and drink it. And of course, second shooter was like, I’m dumping it out in the sink. And it’s like, no, I’m not going to drink that stuff. And so it was, it was important that I had those. Supplements to kind of whatever, keep me alive.

But it was when I found skating, it was like, wow, wait a minute. I can do something as well as well. Kids, I can do something as well as the best athletes in my grade. Okay. I want as much of this as I can possibly get. And I try to remind people that self-esteem is probably the most powerful force in the universe, because if you feel good about yourself, Not in an ego way.

And like, I don’t know, you know, but if you feel good about yourself, it kind of changes the air in the room. It like allows and it gives everybody else permission to kind of join in that with you, you know, it’s like, everybody feels good, you know, and, and, you know, you know, you see, you know, cases like that all the time, like somebody walks in and they’re in a great mood and it’s like, thank you for that.

Thank you. I needed that today. I needed somebody that got to come in and just inject some positivity into my life. And so much of that is live your days. You know, it’s more than a podcast. I call it a, um, a digital encouragement platform because it’s, you know, we have a 30 day challenge, you know, we’ve got, um, we set up a little shop in case people want to, you know, get, uh, journals and t-shirts and sweatshirts.

And I bought a bunch of stuff yesterday and it’s, it’s pretty cool. One of our logos and it, it might take some explaining is, is like an Oak that was, you know, you know, when you kind of train, you see all the rings and all those rings kind of represent years of growth. Years that may have not had so much, you know, it, might’ve been a little bit of toughness and those, and it’s just sort of, it’s like each one of those is a year and it’s sort of like, wow.

Days become years and years become lives. And, and it’s, you know, it, these are our days and we just have to train ourselves how to live them joyfully and productively and abundantly and faithfully and in gratitude. You say that your ultimate goal with this podcast is that it would just be like a friend.

Sarah Taylor: [00:08:01] So wherever somebody is listening, it would, it’s literally like you’re gifting someone, not just your friendship, but all of the wonderful guests that you have on. I know Robin Roberts is one of them. Um, and then, uh, one of the artists that we play on our station, Bart, Millard, have you already recorded that one?

Scott Hamilton: [00:08:17] Bart knocked me down. Like every time I owe  Bart a call cause we were supposed to get together a couple of weeks ago. Um, we’ve become friends, which is really bizarre, you know, cause I’ve heard that song a thousand times and then I meet him for breakfast to see if maybe he would do a skating show, live music, skating show, and now we’ve done.

Uh, five together and he’s just like the best guy, but he, his whole life story, you know, it comes out of the most horrible circumstance. Like if you saw the movie, I can only imagine, you know what he said, you know, they try to represent it as best they could, but basically, you know, his, his dad was, you know, a monster and.

You know, this is a kid that broken family, child abuse, the whole deal. And, um, and he said, you know, that his father was a man. He feared and resented the most. And he also became the man he wanted to be. So their, their, their relationship was redeemed through cancer. And he just said, and then that part of our life, our life together was too short.

And, you know, and, you know, he said something profound and, uh, but people listen to it anyway. Um, but no, I mean, he has this really interesting perspective on, you know, just how people interact and, and it was, it was just, it was mind blowing, just the idea that he could rise up those circumstances, which would crush so many people and has destroyed lives. And he was able to kind of redeem that and notice within him, those things about his father that he resented. And he saw that in himself, you know, so it’s a powerful story. You know, Robin Roberts, powerful story. Uh, Kevin Nealon story was amazing. Uh, Christiania Gucci, how do you become an Olympic ladies figure skating champion when you’re born with club feet?

You know, it’s like all these kind of rising above stories, like mild ad Cox who runs onsite it’s it’s, um, mental health program, brilliant guy, brilliant guy, but how we all deserve, deserve too, your stand and be comfortable with ourselves. It’s called a PhD in Y O U you know, and, um, it’s just, it’s meant to be nourishing and it’s meant to be entertaining and it’s meant to kind of pull the curtain back and maybe see somebody that you’re familiar with and getting to know maybe a little bit of something else about, um, Verne, Lundquist just turned 80 years old and just, you know, his history in sports casting.

Unbelievable. And just our friendship. So dear, um, there’s just been, um, you know, and, and Marcus, Whitney, you know, basically flunked out after his first. Semester in college, um, you know, decided he was going to have this other life and, um, you know, his brilliance and his work ethic just sort of disrupted all of that failure.

And now he lives a life like no other. So it’s meant to allow people to give themselves permission, to rise above their circumstance and to, you know, just choose their day, choose what kind of day they want to have. We are coming right back with more from Scott Hamilton. But first I want to pause for just a quick heartfelt thank you to Northwest university for believing in the mission of the passion meets purpose podcast and making it possible.

Sarah Taylor: [00:11:46] Sponsor Mention: Northwest University is a faith based community. They’ve got expert professors that have been equipping students to be effective leaders in their field since 1934. And they offer undergraduate and graduate programs in person and online. Which means they’re prepared to help you pursue your dreams, even during a pandemic, they say your future isn’t canceled.

In fact, it’s just beginning. And right now there’s a tuition freeze at Northwest University meaning your tuition bill is unchanged for the 20 2122 school year. In fact, their tuition remains lower than all other Christian schools in Washington. And they’ve got low room and board rates as well, which saves you thousands of dollars and Northwestern university has technology majors.

They’ve got this brand new state-of-the-art technology studio it’s open their majors include UX design, data science, video production, audio production, and computer science. And those programs are in addition to their already diverse offering of top programs in business nursing, education, sciences, communication, psychology music, humanities, and more so again, my heartfelt thanks to Northwest University back to our conversation with Scott Hamilton.

It’s just such a wonderful message. And you also share about it in your book finished first, which I love, because again, it’s like a friend, I buy the audio book. Right. And it’s because I want to hear you tell it. And you talk often about success is, is because of the failures. You’ve done the math on how many times you’ve fallen on the ice.

Scott Hamilton: [00:13:16] Yeah, 41,600 times minimum. But when you get up 41,600 times, you kind of like, you’re not building that muscle of failure. You’re building that muscle of resilience and it’s like, okay, I’ll get up and try it again. I get up and try it again. And it’s like, You know, I, I try to tell people, cause we’re all paralyzed by failure.

We’re all kind of like, uh, it’s just so toxic and disfiguring. And, and I, I tell people, you know, what if, what if failure was just information now? What does it look like? We don’t have to like, carry this thing around with us anymore. And it’s just information. Okay. That didn’t work. Can I just get some really strong feedback. Let’s try something else, you know, and it’s in everything and it’s, it’s in, you know, work it’s in relationships, it’s in, uh, the way we interact with, um, new people in our lives. It’s the way we kind of go after understanding who we are and our faith and, and it’s, it’s all of that, you know?

And, and I try to remind people, you know, different examples, like. You know what Tom has said. It’s only failed like 10,000 times. And if he hadn’t been kept going, you know, there wouldn’t be any light on, in this room, you know, it’s like, um, if a baseball player only fails two out of three times, he’s in the hall of fame, you know, it’s those types of things.

And it’s like, we all fail. If I do a speech and I say, okay, how many people in this room have failed? And, and if, yeah, if right. And if they don’t raise their hand and say that you’re lying, or you’re not paying attention because we all do. So if we all fail, like let’s just be comfortable with that. And let’s think that we’re some sort of loser.

If we fail, you know, we’re not, we’re just learning and we’re just growing and we’re just trying to figure it out.

Sarah Taylor: [00:15:09] I know that other than your faith, which we share, which is your deepest inspiration, the second would be your mom. I love hearing you talk about her and I love the fire that was lit inside of you, um, after her passing, where you just wanted to take to the ice and make her proud.

And that’s where you. I saw some big gains. And then I also love the Scott Hamilton cares foundation, where you are just invested in what you say is making sure that no 18 year old, if you could save an 18 year old son from the pain of having to lose his mom, that’s the motivation for you. You want to talk about your foundation first?

Talk about your mom.

Scott Hamilton: [00:15:48] Yeah, well, my mom, she was a four by four. Uh, she was a little person that always kind of, you know, she was brilliant. She touched so many lives in her short life. She died at 49. She had a big smile on her face and her basically kind of disappear in that smile. Um, she always. Suffered with self-esteem, you know, cause she’d struggled with weight and she struggled with the fact that she didn’t really want to ever buy herself anything cause that all went to her kids.

Um, you know, she, she was an amazing woman and she, and she really touched a lot of lives. Uh, in an impactful way. And you know, she always got the joke, you know, and nothing was ever like a big deal. She allowed us to kind of work it out and figure out where we needed to be and what we wanted to do. And she was very super sacrificial.

So when she passed, I just felt like a huge part of me went with her. My job was to figure out the best way. I could carry her with me and the healthiest way to mourn her. So I walked around in our backyard. Oh my goodness. For must’ve been an hours. And in that walk, I realized that the best way I can, I can carry her with me is to try to be the person she always.

God I could be or dreamed I could be. And it’s this aspirational thing, right? It’s not just this. Okay. That’s what I’m going to do. It’s like, no, it’s, that’s what I have to continue to do. And so when she passed, I became a fundraiser and we raised a lot of money for cancer research. And then 20 years after I lost her, I’m diagnosed with cancer and she kind of, I remembered all the things she used to say.

Uh, uh, this chemo, she would say, Oh, this chemotherapy, I finally found a way to lose all this weight, you know, or, Oh, this chemotherapy I’d wanted to quit smoking all these years. Now I have no desire. And Oh, this chemotherapy in my hair has always been such an issue with these wigs are so beautiful and, and it was kind of like, Yeah, that you choose how to go through whatever you’re going through.

And she taught me that in my own cancer. So no one was allowed in my room unless they made me laugh. And my nurse treated me like an eight year old, even though I was 38, you know, it was just one of those things that if I could control the environment, that’s how I was going to remember. Like, I remember the laughter.

More than I remember anything else. And so my mom was a huge influence in my life and still to this day, you know, I, I think how would she respond in this situation? And, you know, the whole live, your days platform would really speak to the way that she lived her life. So, you know, I always thought that, you know, being kind of an oops, uh, you know, sort of an adopted child, if I could find proven treatment for her form of cancer, I would know I was born.

So we’re just, we just keep, we just keep going. And, uh, it’s been hard, you know, this COVID thing has been really hard and nonprofits, a lot of nonprofits have just folded up their tent. You know, we, we are lucky that we are very fiscally responsible. So as much as I had lunch with my executive director yesterday, and she’s got she’s, you know, she’s losing a lot of sleep, you know, we’re able to kind of keep going with the work we’re doing.

Sarah Taylor: [00:19:15] Well, I know that some proceeds from the merge that you’re selling, that you’re currently wearing and displaying well done, uh, go to benefit that. So everybody run, grab your live your days logoed and the Scott Hamilton cares foundation. And just thank you so much for your time. Oh, man, you kidding? We’re all in this together, right?

Scott Hamilton: [00:19:35] I mean, we are all in this together and it’s kind of us adjusting, encourage each other. And if somebody trips, we help them up. And if someone is, you know, sad, we try to, you know, put a smile on their face and you know, we all need encouragement. We all need to know we’re going to be okay. And. In our current climate of a 24 hour news cycle and social media and everything else.

I mean, it’s been pretty toxic, you know, and this whole COVID thing of never ending, never ending, never ending people can lose hope. And so live your days is meant to be sort of a destination and, and sort of that. Friend, and we’re hoping to continue to build it and grow. It’s a lot of work. Right. Um, you know, it’s, it’s, I’m really proud of it and I just really hope it touches the person or people that it’s really designed to touch.

Sarah Taylor: [00:20:25] The live your days podcast, we’ll link for it. Our digital team will do something fancy right here. Like swipe up or just press a button wherever you find guests. It’s easy. I mean, we locked out. We’d got the live your you know, so DRL is everything and that was still available. Uh, kind of it’s sort of a scam.

Scott Hamilton: [00:20:51] Right. But, you know, we knew how important though that it was. And so we navigated all of that, you know, people got to make a buck, right. So, um, you know, it’s been a big investment of time and energy and everything else, and it all kind of worked out. Right. You know, it’s just one of those things where if it’s meant to be.

It will be. And again, uh, I’m just hoping that it ignites sort of a revolution of positivity and for people to kind of understand that they’ve got the stuff. And today’s important. Let’s do something with it. I keep trying to wrap it up with you and you make me laugh again. It’s your own fault. Thank you.

I appreciate all the support and, uh, for getting it out in front of so many people. Thank you so much. I love everything about Scott Hamilton’s office. Timism probably because that doesn’t come natural to me. So I just love watching, you know, how he just looks at everything, glass half full actually glass overflowing fun fact about Scott Hamilton.

Sarah Taylor: [00:21:57] I met him when I was probably about 11. I was vacationing with my family in sun Valley, Idaho, and he was doing an ice skating thing and I went up to him. I’d never got up to ask for anyone’s autograph ever before, but, uh, I had bought a t-shirt that had the names of all the ice skaters and I saw him lacing up his scapes.

And so my mom kind of sent me over there with a Sharpie and we put a piece of cardboard in the shirt so that it wouldn’t bleed through. And I went up to him and I, I said, Mr. Hamilton, And he looked at me, he stopped placing his skates and he looks me in the eye and smiled as if he hadn’t been requested for autographs, a kabillion times in his life.

He treated me as if I was the only one that had ever asked. And then he said, let me show you a trick. And he took the cardboard out of the shirt and he told me to. Pulled the sleeves real tight with my hands and just stretch it tight. And he goes, this is how you do it. And then he signed it and it worked better that way.

Clearly he knows what, yes, you got to stretch the t-shirt because if you, if you put it on something, it’s still going to bunch up and it’s going to look awful. But if you pull it like a trampoline, it, it signs like paper. And, uh, and that was it. That was our only interaction. But it’s so funny to me. How all these years later, what an honor, it was to be able to talk with him.

And I still had that little girl memory of being so timid to approach him and yet walking away feeling as if, you know, he spent 15 seconds thing, complete attention to me, and I’m sure he does that with pretty much everyone he meets and he still does to this day. So thanks for the time Scott Hamilton and, uh, Stick around and then all the stuff I’m supposed to say, right?

Like a swipe up rate and review. Um, I don’t even know, you know, what to do. You found it, leave them, leave a review and my deepest, thanks to Northwest University for sponsoring this and making it possible.

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