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185: Scott Hamilton

VIP Ignite Experience keynote speaker, Scott Hamilton, successfully bridged the gap between sports and entertainment. He is a motivational speaker, television broadcaster, best-selling author, humanitarian, cancer survivor, eternal optimist and one of the most popular figure skaters in the world. As a champion and survivor, he is a constant reminder that with faith, fortitude and determination, anything is possible.

Author of Finish First.

Twitter:   @ScottHamiton84

Instagram:   @ScottHamilton84

Facebook:  @ScottHamilton1984

Lucas: So, you know, Scott, there’s a big audience out there on the Bridge the Gap network that we’re not able to be here tonight. This was an invite only event that was completely sold out.


Scott: Oh wow. Normally I don’t get invited to those, right? I’m the guy at the outside the club going, Hey, Hey, my friends in there, can you get me in? 


Josh: We don’t believe it for a minute. Not at all.


Lucas: Not at all. So could you, so for the listeners out there right now the VIP Ignite Experience has been nothing other than an experience here in Nashville and there’s been twists and turns, it’s been an emotional journey for so many people including Josh and Lucas. You know, Scott, can you give our listeners that are back in their senior living communities, a little bit of taste of what you talked about tonight?

Scott: Well, so much of it is, you know, just the twists and turns and the bumps and the knockdowns and the our just our lives are filled with so much color and some of it is really beautiful and some of it’s really tragic, you know, and all of it is meant to, I feel allow us to become who we are meant to be. So no one is bulletproof, no one is going to get through this life without heartbreak or without fear or without some level of devastation. Failure…I’ve really had a lot of fun processing failure, but we are, if we’re really going to live this human experience, we almost have to embrace every single aspect of it because, you know, if everything’s going to be joy, joy, happy, happy, joy, joy, happy. It’s like a two facet diamond. It’s just an ugly piece of glass that doesn’t do anything. But as you start adding facets to it of experiences and perspectives and rising up above condition or failure or criticism or all the negative things that can happen in our lives, the more you do that, the more you add facets to your diamond, it’s spectacular. I mean, it’s just, it’s unbelievable, we can be a shattered glass, you know, that won’t ever do what it was designed to do, but if you hold it up to the light…rainbows. So it’s that, you know, it’s like, yeah, I’ll never be that guy again, because I already did that. So step into the next and try to allow other people to share in that mentality that, it’s all about another day, another day, another day, another experience, another day filled with breath in our lungs and memories to be made, and not all of them are fun or easy, but if everything was fun and easy, it’d be boring. You know, it really wouldn’t be, it would be just boring, you know? And the more we have difficult times, the more we can recognize the good times.

Josh: So Scott, one of the things, and I may, I may get this quote wrong, so you correct me, but you were saying that you fell, you calculate it. And it was over 40,000.

Scott: 41,600 minimum. And a lot of those were in front of thousands of people. 

Josh: Well, but I loved that. I loved what you said though, you said you also got up that many times, but somewhere in the middle there, when you were talking about that, I was like, what really was it that was motivating you to get up each time? Like what inside of you, every time you’ve been knocked down every time you’ve had a diagnosis, every time you fallen, can you summarize that?


Scott: It’s just, you know, growing up in skating, it’s just a part of the deal you fall down. Ice slippery ice is slippery and unpredictable at times there’s ruts and holes. And there’s people that have knocking into you. And, you know, I remember my first concussion as a kid, I was skating around and I try to get between two adults and they were going in another direction and they landed on my head, which explains a lot as well, but it’s just, you know, you get up from that. And it’s like, wow, that was really, I’m not going to do that again. Okay, I’m not going to escape between, do big adults again. So you learn and it’s each time it’s like, I fell so many times learning that jump. And then all of a sudden I landed it all the time and I didn’t fall on it very often. And then I got the next jump and there’s a process. And it’s like, when I got into triples, I realized that I’d given a part of my body to each jump. Like I tore every single thing in my right ankle for the triple total. Right. I had a hip operation where I was swollen. It was like a bursa sac from just above my knee to just above my waist. Oh my gosh. And there was a floating system there and that had to be operated on. And then when it was like that jump turned out to be kind of the jump that put me over the top, because I knew that I couldn’t fall on it anymore because it hurt too bad. Right. So you just start landing it. No, just out of sheer will and determination and pain is a powerful teacher.


So you just, the more you, you, you get over those hurdles that are built on falling and getting up, the more that muscle takes shape, and then you’re able to apply it to other aspects of your life. It’s like that old Garth Brooks song, Unanswered Prayers, right. All the times that we’d fallen down thinking, or we’d been dumped, or we’d been, we lost the job. Like if I would’ve stayed with Icecapades, my life would have looked completely different. So the fact that he fired me was like, or let me go. Was the greatest thing that ever happened to me because they just didn’t want men anymore. They only wanted women. So I built Stars on Ice. It still exists these day. I left it my goodness 20 years ago and it’s like, wow, it’s still going. And it was a good idea. And it gave skaters a career and identity and as professionals and entertainers. So it was, it stood the test of time, but it’s all in it’s like cancer was really important.



It was really important that I had cancer. It rerouted my life to the point where my life now wouldn’t look like it does without cancer. And for that, I’m grateful. My brain tumor that I was born with, my goodness. If I hadn’t had that brain tumor, I probably would have grown properly. I probably would’ve had a very normal childhood. I wouldn’t have learned to be on my own, in hospitals. I wouldn’t have learned how to face scary situations and be somewhat independent at a very early age. All of that worked perfectly when I step on the ice and I’m there by myself and I have to rely a hundred percent on me, you know? So all of it works together. And if we can just take the difficult times of our lives and apply it in a way that we can use it to rise above another difficult situation, man, it’s so worth enduring.

Lucas: That’s so powerful. And so appropriate for our audience here at VIP ignite experience. So these are senior living, senior housing leaders, influencers from all over the spectrum. These are there’s actually caregivers here. There’s actually family members here. There are CEOs that own, or that run billion dollar REITs. There are C-suite people that make decisions for small operations, for large operations, developers, contractors, products, tech companies, everybody here. And you know, one of the things about our pillars today, which is build trust and ignite change. Scott, I’d love to get your take on why is trust so important in not just the senior living industry, but no matter what organization you’re in?


Scott: Well, trust is, you know, it’s its own pillar, right? It’s its own. It’s like the beam that holds up the whole house, right? Without trust, nothing exists, right? You have to, you know, live in the faith that, you know, your lungs are going to work. Your heart is going to where you trust them. You trust that the sun’s going to come up every morning, right? You trust that, you know, you have a certain capacity to control quality and the outcome of your life. You have to be able to trust, you know, each step of the way in order to even decided to take it. You know, it’s like I have a car and it didn’t start right. The other day it just went dead. And it’s like, okay, it was simple. It was a battery. But now I’m like, do I really want to keep this car? I don’t trust it anymore. It always worked before, but it didn’t work as time. Am I really in the right situation here? So, but you have to trust, you know, and I think if you lead with trust and you know, if that trust is somehow betrayed, you’ve got to kind of like shrug that off and step into the next trust transaction, because everything is so relational and everything has to be done with a sense of quality and integrity. And without trust, nothing can stay.

Lucas: That’s powerful. 

Josh: It’s super powerful. What a silver lining for us to hear that you talked about silver linings. This past 18 months, this industry has needed some silver linings. We’ve been hit hard. We’ve been knocked down a lot over the last. So I know this group out here…

Scott: Oh, especially this group, especially this group. You know, because those, those people they serve are the most, you know, vulnerable to this pathogen, you know whatever it is. They got to change the rules of the game. And if you can do that effectively, you can protect those people you serve, you know, and I know I’ve got all these comorbidities that I deal with day in and day out. And I’m even getting now alerts from my pharmacy saying that I’m not going to be able to probably get some of the medications that keep me alive on a day-to-day basis. It’s like, when you hear something like that, it’s like, well, if that happens, what’s my plan B? How do I respond to that? And it’s just so happens. I met a physician recently that does bioidentical pharmaceuticals. So if I can’t get those, maybe I can get these. If I can’t control it with the drugs that I’ve been taking to make up for my weird metabolism, maybe now I can control that through diet and exercise. Maybe I can control it in another way by introducing something new into my world, instead of just depending on the old to stand true. So there’s constant change and there’s always something in the mix that throws us off the tracks. It’s kind of the, how we get up, you know, and how we learn to process that allows us to really embrace the next opportunity and not fear it.


Josh: So one of the last things we won’t keep you too long, we’ve kept you. So one of the, one of the things I want you to summarize for our listeners that I felt was really powerful was when you were talking about coming out of a surgery, one of the manys that you’ve had, and you had this thought in the back of your head, which was just be strong. So what did that, what was that? And what did that mean for you?


Scott: So my first brain tumor was in 2004. It knocked me down and it was diagnosed as a craniopharyngioma, which basically means I was born with the tumor. So I processed that is like, well, what would my life look like without it? And it’s like different. Okay. So the tumor’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. Right? Well, it came back six years later and it didn’t feel like a good thing anymore. This one was like getting punched in the stomach because I got through cancer, chemo, surgery. Then I went through the brain tumor in the radiation, and I got back to life with a different physiology. I have diabetes insipidus now. I don’t produce testosterone anymore. I have to take a steroid, a little tiny steroid every day. And I tell him, I go, what does it do? And they go, we don’t know. And I go, what if I don’t take it? And they go, you’ll die. So I’m taking a little tiny stair. Right. And then there’s, you know, the thyroid issues that my brain doesn’t work like that anymore. So I have to do that. And so I’m kind of dependent on those things, right. So it’s just like that’s my new normal, that’s fine. Right. So then when the tumor comes back and I have surgery and it doesn’t go, well, it’s like, oh, that’s not right. So one surgery became nine brain surgeries. Then I think about that, it’s like, I’m still here. And God showed up in every aspect of it. It was remarkable. It’s like a whole keynote about that period of time. But I got knocked down hard. And the first surgery period created an aneurysm that they couldn’t get rid of, talk about it tie a tick tock bomb, right.


It’s like, oh my goodness. So I got through that. And if I can get to that, now I can get through anything. And then it comes back six years later. So now there’s a pattern forming six years. So in 2016, it came back, the doctors are saying, well, we could go in and do surgery again except it’s going to be really complicated. And it might be really tough and you’re not in the same physical condition you were back then, blah, blah, blah, all that stuff. Or there’s a new targeted therapy that’s for melanoma that happens to work on your cell type. And it’s like, okay, all I heard in the back of my head was get strong. In other words, my entire spirit was saying, get strong. And I was none of what the doctors were saying to me, mattered at all.


Do you want to go surgery or do you want to do the medical option? I’m going home to get strong. And what does that look like? Is it physical? Is it emotional? Is it intellectual? Is it spiritual? Yes. So I call it the four legs of the chair. And if you’ve ever sat in a chair with one of the legs missing, it doesn’t ever really work out very well. No, it usually ends with the view of the ceiling. I learned just to trust him in that my spirit’s telling me something really strong, I am going to step into that with trust. And if I have to adjust when new information comes in, then I’ll do that. But the tumor shrank on two of the next three scans, and it’s been pretty stable. It’s to the point now where they want me to go back in every six months for an MRI and I just sort of, I haven’t right. Cause I don’t really want to go into a hospital during, you know, all the COVID stuff. And I really don’t feel any symptoms of it right now. So I’m getting strong. I’ve never pushed and pulled as much weight as I can now. And I used to compete in the Olympics. I’ve never been able to like, endure like all this stuff with my kids. A real sense of power and authority than I do now. And it’s because of all of that stupid stuff that I’ve endured, but it’s all kind of, I look at it as a gift. It’s a gift. I don’t, I’m not cursed. I’ve had a lot of health stuff, but it’s, I’ve learned from each one of them that it’s just something that we all are going to endure in some way, shape or form. And, and how do we respond to it and what does our inner spirit say? 


I just, I try to, if I feel symptomatic, I get it checked out. I’m 50 years old, I get my colonoscopy. If I’m 55 years old, I get my colonoscopy. If I’m 60 years old, I get my colonoscopy. You know, you stay vigilant because your vigilance equals early detection, early detection equals easier treatment option and longer life. But it’s also, you know, it’s all about living in faith. You know, that I’m here, my duration has already been predetermined and I’m going to live joyfully, productively, abundantly, and in gratitude and in knowing that if that bothers people, no, I’m sorry. You know, but you know when I say good morning, I mean, it, you know, and when I say, you know, it’s that, we’re all in it together.


So much surrender to all of the things around us. Is there a point where, you know, when I wrote Finished First, there’s a couple chapters that I really meant for millennials because they’re getting crushed by social media and all this comparative stuff that’s out there. And I tell them that that criticism only comes in two forms and one of them is opinion. And the other one is fact, so opinion is absolutely 100% deletable, disposable. And just ignore everyone has one. Right. And then, and then the other is fact, if that, if that criticism is based, in fact, it’s like, thank you. It’s like Dick Button called me today who criticized me more of my life than Dick Button. He like totally filleted me on national television. But it was like, yeah, that was all rooted in fact, and honesty. And thank you next year. You’re not going to be able to say that. Right. So my job as a skater was to shut Dick Button up. And, and I was able to do that in, in that I took his criticism and it turned into an Olympic gold medal, but you know, the other side of it is failure. You know, so many people look at failure as toxic, it’s like, I don’t want to do that beause like, it’s fail. It’s like failure is okay.


Let’s just say this. My opinion. And it’s based on experience. So now I’m an authority for all you people listening, listen, okay. This is really important. Failure is 100% information. It’s feedback that didn’t work. Let’s try it another way or let’s try something else. Or, you know, it’s just that it’s like, think of anything in your life where you fail.


And it’s like, some of it is not your fault. Like I failed at keeping my job with Ice Capades.  It wasn’t my fault. They didn’t want me that’s okay. I got a better job right now. It’s like that. It’s like, I got dumped by some of the most amazing girlfriends I’ve ever had and you know, vice versa. But it’s like, okay, it doesn’t feel good, but now I’m married to this incredible, like, like I swung for the fences and grand slam. But it’s like that. It’s like, wow, wow. If any of those other ones, it’s like Garth Brooks song Unanswered Prayers. It goes back to that. Failure is 100% information. I’ve fallen 41,600 times. I got up 41,600 times. I tried a lot of things, failed at them. Try them again, failed, try them again, failed. Try them again until your body and your mind and your spirit figures it out.


Lucas: If you’re not failing, you’re not on the right path.

Scott: You’re not trying. Right. When I asked by an audience, I said, how many people in this room have failed? And I’m the first one to raise my hand. Right. And if I see like not all the hands go up, I go, what? Either you’re lying or not telling the truth. What is it? Or you’re not listening. Alright. I asked, come on, listen to me, who in this room? 100% of the people, of course they raise their hand. It’s the human thing. We fail. We fall short. We have to learn things. You know, it’s just that. 


Lucas: So Scott, I mean, it would take weeks to tally up all of the successes that you’ve had at this stage and hearing all of these great stories. What’s next for Scott Hamilton?


Scott: I honestly have no idea. First day of school. And I feel like I’m let out of a cage. It’s so exciting. I’m so glad they’re in school. They’re so much better off with their structure. So I feel so sorry for all the families that didn’t have school and it’s just, you know, guys, we gotta work this out, these kids deserve and they need, and they, they have every right to be in school. So let’s do this, they need, it does need the structure. They need to ignite their minds and their imaginations. They need to have responsibility and deadlines. They need to be prepared for what life brings them. So school’s great. So there’s that I threw my back out last week working out. So I got to get strong there.


And just work that out kind of hurts all the time, but I’ll figure that out. It’s not my first rodeo. I, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know what my next chapter looks like. You know? I may or may not be at the next Olympics in Beijing. We’ll see about that. It’s just we’re hosting US figure skating championships here in Nashville in January. We’re back for my big fundraising event in Nashville. Oh my goodness. Our tickets go on sale, August 27th. I’m not sure when this was going to air, but we have A list Nashville, music stars, paying tribute to a producer and songwriter that died suddenly of glioblastoma multiforme cancer. So we’re honoring him and I’m meeting with his widow, his wife on Wednesday to go over all the music.


And I’m just so honored to be able to share his legacy, his genius with the artists that brought his music to life. It’s Lady A, Maren Morris, Grace Potter for King and Country. Cece is coming to join us to give us some really strong inspiration. So it’s, we’re going to church. We’re going to play some good country music and it’s awesome. I mean, it’s, it’s really, and we have a couple other people that are going to try to show up that we can’t announce yet, but it’s royalty of Nashville. Performing live for Olympic champion skaters to feel perform to music at the same time. It’s sensory overload. It’s the coolest thing people had. See it go, how are you able to pull this off? I don’t know. It’s just, this will be my 26th show.


The last one we did before, COVID, I’m standing on stage, right watching Jonathan Kane and Neil Sean and Jason singing for Steve Perry. Also, I’m sitting there and Neil Sean looks at me and he starts… And then, and I’m like, take me now, Lord, I’m it’s over. I’m like, this is as good as it gets that I’m able to share this with my heroes and to be able to do something that’s going to change the way people are treated for cancer forever. Lives will be extended. Quality of lives will be extended. And it happens November 21st at Bridgestone Arena. And I hope we fill the place to the top and honor Michael Busby in a really profound way.

Josh: Well, Scott Hamilton, we are going to connect our audience very quickly so they can go buy tickets. Tickets are available. We’re definitely going to do that. Well, thank you for showing up for us today.

Scott: Oh, it was fun. It was meant to be.

Josh: So it was meant to be Lucas and I didn’t start the day ever having a clue that we would be sitting and the most jealous person I’ll tell you that the most jealous person when they hear this podcast is my mother because she’s the biggest fan.

Scott: I love moms!


Josh: So thank you for showing up you’re a true hero to 200 people here and the ripple effect that they will go back to the community and take the message and the motivation. Thank you for living your purpose and encouraging us.


Scott: Thank you for what you do. You know, our aging population, we can live longer. And when we do, we just need a little support, you know, in our last season. And I’m just so thrilled at what you’re doing to make that experience better for them and for the people that serve them. So God bless you. 

Lucas: Thank you. Well, for those of you listening, Scott Hamilton, standing ovation after his keynote here on the rooftop at the Bobby hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, VIP Ignite Experience, 2021 Nashville, Tennessee. We’re going to connect with Scott and his details in our show notes. And you guys, this has been an incredible experience for all of our friends and influencers in the business. Josh, signing off to all of our listeners, Bridge the Gap. Thanks for listening. Be strong.

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185: Scott Hamilton