I was recently surfing the web and a headline grabbed my attention: “Mike Sexton Recalled as Poker’s Great Ambassador.” The word “ambassador” piqued my interest.
Wow! How can someone earn the title of “ambassador” for an entire sport! For anything!
Quick Research on the Poker Legend
I do not play poker, but I found myself desiring to learn more about Mike Sexton as a person. What was it about him that was so unique? Why did people like him so much? The other players even accepted losing a hand to him, as he was so humble in victory.
As I began to read more about his life, I discovered that everyone sincerely respected him.
“Mike was always kind, humble, and generous to everyone.”
“Mike was inspirational to everyone he met. He shared optimism and looked at everything in a positive light.”
“Mike leaves a tremendous legacy for the poker world and his family.”
After reading a few of the articles, I wondered how a person could build this type of reputation. Think about it … the people who lost to him in poker still liked him! He had plenty of reasons to be arrogant and greedy. As his life-long earnings approached $7M, he could drive the nicest cars, stay at the finest places, and dine at the fanciest restaurants… not bad for a guy who took up Poker after deciding it was more profitable than a sales career.
I’m obviously not writing this article to encourage you to join the World Poker Tour (WTP). In fact, I tend to be risk-averse when it comes to gambling. However, there’s something in this story that transcends the popular card game.
What makes a person likeable? What is the value of humility? How does one inspire others to perform at their best?
I began to search for the answers to these questions in his background story. Sexton attended The Ohio State University and earned a Public Recreation degree. He participated on the gymnastics team in college and served as a paratrooper in the United States Army.
Is it his back story that makes him a likable and humble person?
There has to be more to it. It seems to me that Sexton had a skill or ability that is not taught in books. It’s one that he embraced because it was part of him … part of his DNA. He truly desired to make people happy by paying attention to the little everyday moments: sharing a simple smile, a hearty laugh, or a needed hug.
Reading more about Sexton’s life has reminded me of something that often I forget to do; that is, to live in the moment. I find myself thinking too much about what tomorrow will bring, or what I will be doing a year or two from now.
Being future-minded is important, but there are times that I forget to focus on what I am doing right now, such as having a conversation with my son about his Government class, laughing with my wife about something funny that happened that morning, and feeling blessed that my health is strong.
Recently, I heard someone say that we need to “slow down to speed up.” This little phrase makes more sense to me now.
When I slow down and value what is here and now, I’m happier and can enjoy nuances of life, the small stuff. And when I’m happy about who I am, I’m more likely to show kindness, respect, humility, and love toward others.