WILL REEVE | On Loss, Grief, Hope + the Importance of Adaptability | No. 09
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HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
Will Reeve is the son of Dana and Christopher Reeve. He won't go out of his way to tell you that but if you ask him, he will speak about them in a way which parents can only dream of; with pride, with admiration, and with such tangible detail that they almost seem present in the conversation.
“The values that they had and that they instilled in me really just set the tone for my life is that you don’t complain, you don’t self-pity, you don’t whine, you don’t ask why me, you just get on with it, you stay committed to whatever you’re doing, you stay determined, you stay loyal to the people who love you and the people that you love, above all else, you have to hold on to hope.”
I, like many, remember Will's father as the man who was once Superman who following a fall while horseback riding, spent nine years as a quadriplegic. There was something about this then that still reverberated now as I was doing my research on Will. I watched a video of Christopher Reeve on the Oprah show and I found myself unbelievably emotional. How could a man have such HOPE beaming out of him when he finds himself in what most would call a hopeless situation.
"He could have just laid in his hospital bed not moving all day and nobody would have faulted him for it. He could have quit. He could’ve given up. But he didn’t. And not only did he not give up he fought every day to get out of that wheelchair. To put pressure on the scientific and political communities to try to find a way to cure spinal cord injury (and his fight lives on through the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation) .”
I continued feeling this way during the entirety of my conversation with Will. To give a bit of context, I met him in New York about 3-4 years ago. I sat across from him at a dinner and thought to myself that he exuded a certain kindness that I don't often come across. He hadn't yet jumped into his current career as a broadcaster but it didn't seem crazy to assume that he'd one day find himself in the industry. Following his slow and steady rise via social media has been wonderful. I know how twisted the industry can be so I was pleasantly surprised to see that he's remained in tact with his kindness. If anything, it exudes on a much bigger level now.
“My whole life it was instilled in me, by my parents, by my famous father and mother, that we’re normal people, we don’t deserve anything more than anybody else, we’re not owed anything, we’re not better than anybody, and you don’t namedrop. You don’t use your name to get ahead.”
This conversation was recorded last week - something that usually doesn't happen with these podcasts as many of them have been recorded months ago and posted at a later time - but I wanted to get this one out there because the world in which we find ourselves is quite confusing, dark, and oftentimes with a feeling of hopelessness. It's hard to see through the forest.
“Hope is the elixir, the antidote, the magic currency that we all, in my family, try to traffic in as much as possible."
Will's story shines a much-needed light on the importance of HOPE during the darkest of times. He made me understand through the lessons he's learned from his parents, that this too shall pass. That although life often gets in the way, it can never strip us of our Hope, our Kindness, and our ability to Love, as long as we choose to stay in tact with this incredibly important human emotion.
"I think that that also , in addition to hope, adaptability is one of the key ingredients to life. I truly believe that if you’re adaptable and can roll with the punches so to speak you will succeed because you can go into any situation and come out okay if not thriving.”
So, I could sit here and write a full expose on this conversation and provide you a heads up on what you'll hear, and learn, and think about Will Reeve, but I'd rather let his voice take you there. He, like all of us, is a flawed individual. But what makes him amazing is that he speaks openly about his flaws and insecurities, something that I feel men (and women) can do a better job of enunciating. There's just much to takeaway from this conversation.
"I have to attribute this quote to my father but it’s something that I live by … it’s what I try to see in myself but I also try to see in other people: I belive in the best possibilities of human beings."
Dana and Christopher Reeve - although I do not personally know you...I feel you through your Son. Thank you for your kindness and selflessness and care for others, and most importantly, thank you for instilling all of your virtues to Will. We need more people like him.
p.s. thank you Will. continue being a rockstar and let's get that 50 Most Eligible Bachelor List moving a bit for you ;)
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YOUR SUGGESTED TAKEAWAYS + LESSONS:
How to find a positive in a negative situation
How to deal with circumstances Life inevitably throws your way
Losing his father at 12 years old
Losing his Mother at 13 years old
How his family, support system, and friends kept him going through the hardest time in his life
Having parents as role models for people around the World
Understanding the importance of staying grateful, humble, and hopeful
Why Hope is the Elixir of Life
The importance of being the best version of yourself + having awareness that there will be moments of failure
Why his parents are his North Start in navigating his life
Why adaptability is one of the most important traits to cultivate + carry
Insecurities of the entertainment industry
Proudly standing in the shadow of his last name + why it fuels him to work that much harder
Why he'd never use his last name to get ahead
Why working at ESPN has been a dream job
The importance of sports and what sports can teach us
Sports as a vessel into society
His father-son bond and their love of hockey (mostly the New York Rangers)
Why he wants to carry out his parents legacy
The benefits of technology: providing access into archival footage of his family
Will's future and dream job
Being named the Top 50 Most Eligible Bachelors by Town & Country
Standing up for what you believe in
The definition of a Modern Man
Why his Truth is one of his Father's Truths
Flaws, flaws, flaws, lessons-learned and questions we still need to ask...