8 things Steve Waugh learned about the world from cricket and now applies to his philanthropy

Steve Waugh is undoubtedly one of Australia’s most well respected cricket captains.

Captaining the national team for five years, he’s one of the most capped Test cricket players in history. He is an Australian living treasure and has received an Order of Australia from the Queen.

Famous for his never say die leadership style, Waugh is now applying some of the skills developed on the field to his new career as a philanthropist.

The Steve Waugh foundation, created by Waugh and his wife Lynette in 2004, focuses on helping children, and their families, who suffer from rare diseases, those who have “slipped through the cracks in the [healthcare] system”, says Waugh.

To mark Rare Disease Day on 28th February, this weekend, we asked Waugh what he has learned about the world through this time as an Australian representative cricketer, and applied to this charity and work with the children.

Here they are.

1. Count your blessings.

Having visited a lot of countries around the world, particularly third world countries, it’s given me a different perspective on life and how people live and in what condition they grow up.

We are such a lucky country an have a privileged way of growing up, seeing it through other peoples eye and how tough life is for a lot of people, it makes you become more passionate towards people and their situations.

Take a step back and see it from other peoples’ perspective.

2. Always respect the underdog.

Through sport I was really encouraged by the courage and character of those against the odds. I always liked the spirit of the underdog.
A lot of kids and their families do it tough but always have a really great positive outlook on life. They get on with it and don’t complain. That’s certainly something I’ve learned.

3. Strength of character is a true test of judgement.

Strength of character is important in sport to be at the top for a long time, and at the foundation that is our mantra: strength and character.
We try to emulate what our kids show each and everyday.

4. Anything is possible – if you put in the hard work.

Anything is possible if you put in the hard work and the dedication, determination and if you’re passionate about a cause.

You have a good chance of succeeding, if you give a 100% each and every day.

You must have a passion for what your doing, and you’ve got to be doing it for the right reasons. You’ve got to be 100% committed to getting out there and working hard and rolling up your sleeves.

5. Realise your potential.

Everyone has it in them, and at the end of the day I just want people to fulfil their potential and not waste it, whether it be through lack of practice, lack of dedication or lack of ambition. It’s all about making the most of opportunities that prevent themselves. Don’t waste your potential. Everything I do is based around that and if you’re going to do something try and do it as well as you can and just see how far you can take it.

6. Push yourself outside your comfort zone.

I played cricket because I was naturally good at it, I had to work at it, but it came reasonably easy I guess when I look back on it. But with foundation and charity work you’ve got to work really hard. When I started out I didn’t know anything about philanthropy and how to set it up… So it’s definitely more challenging and difficult because I didn’t know much about it.

But in terms of achievement, getting a foundation up and running and then getting authentic, genuine and real outcomes out of it is something I look back on and I’m really proud of.

7. Never stop learning.

[Building] a foundation you’ve always got to look to improve, look to learn.

I see the kids in the foundation as my mentors almost. I learn from them and I’m constantly inspired by their attitude, their will to get on with things and not complain.

And I try and learn by reading books, true stories, reading other peoples achievements.

8. Use what you have to make a difference.

When I retired and I saw that with my profile and my connections from cricket I could raise awareness, I could raise funds and give some impetus to a foundation. So when I retired from Cricket Australia I wanted to help kids who had nowhere else to turn, so we started to help the kids who fell through the cracks in the system. [And] each and every one of the kids is a success story.

Find out more about Rare Disease Day here.

Watch the video and for every share that includes the hashtag #AllWeAsk, Canon Australia will donate $1 to the Steve Waugh Foundation. Happy sharing.

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