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Category: Rick Rigsby

April 16, 2020 by Rick Rigsby 0 Comments

Hope Is More Powerful Than A Strategy

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Wednesday morning, the Texas A&M Athletics Department held its first monthly all department staff meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic rearranged life as we know it. Led by Athletic Director Ross Bjork, the event occurred virtually with Dr. Rick Rigsby as the featured speaker
“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a choice,” said Rigsby quoting Winston Churchill in his opening statement addressing Texas A&M Athletic Staff.
Almost 300 employees logged in to hear an update on the status of the department and to hear Dr. Rigsby speak about the power of hope during these uncertain times. Rigsby served 14-years as a professor at Texas A&M and was also character coach and chaplain for members of the Aggie football team.
Citing a conversation with longtime athletic department employee Alan Cannon, he reminded the group that “athletics is the front porch of this great house.” In expanding his message, Rigsby said “this means a lot of people are watching you: faculty, staff, support staff, athletes and colleagues from other institutions.”
Rigsby challenged the staff to see all members of the department as leaders. “If you are a leader, there are certain behaviors you must exhibit: act with perspective, speak with clarity, and be the model of hope.”
“Hope is more powerful than a strategy. Hope is a virtue,” Rigsby said, expanding on the theme of his message. He continued by reminding staff that in times of uncertainty, individuals look for clarity as to how the athletic department will respond in times of challenge.
“The message from Dr. Rigsby was timely and on-point, thoughts we needed to hear as a reminder of the importance of all we do in serving our student athletes and each other,” said Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork. “We have a direction and are assessing every day what needs to be done in preparation for any number of outcomes. His perspective on hope was especially important because of his long-time affiliation with Texas A&M. Having a member of the family speak with us was powerful.”
Rigsby was twice named “Outstanding Professor” in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M and is a world-renowned motivational speaker and author.
“In this tough time, struggles can produce growth,” Rigsby stated as he encouraged staff to use this rare pause in our everyday life to fine-tune a skill that will make you a better leader. His message concluded by reminding staff of the importance of being shepherds and role models during this unprecedented event, asking staff the question, “what will your masterpiece be during this time?” He stressed that character and hope must be the driving force of all you do as leaders at Texas A&M. “Make writing your letter of recommendation easy. Make writing your eulogy impossible.” 

January 21, 2020 by Rick Rigsby 0 Comments

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with Hope

How can we best honor the legacy of the civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

“By making sure you hope against all hope. By exhausting the gifts that God has given each and every one of us, so that you die empty. And above all else, by standing — even when you feel like freaking out, and flipping out and going out of control — you will stand!”

Those words capped a dramatic address Monday by Rick Rigsby, PhD., the guest speaker at Cedars-Sinai’s 18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.

In the span of less than 35 minutes, Rigsby traced African-American history from its beginnings in slavery to the experiences of civil rights legends who preceded, or who worked alongside, King. Those figures included unionist A. Philip Randolph, the founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, as well as Fred Shuttleworth, who teamed with King and others to establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference while fighting to end racial segregation in the South.

Rigsby also highlighted the origins of King’s early days as a civil rights leader, citing his work as a young preacher in Montgomery, Ala., and referencing the dramatic text of King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.”

At other points, Rigsby even channeled King, such as when he drew on the civil rights leader’s “If you can’t fly, then run” words, as well as a famous passage from the “I Have a Dream” speech delivered at the March on Washington in 1963.

Speaking to a packed Harvey Morse Auditorium, with an estimated 500 people attending, Rigsby intoned:

“Don’t quit. Stand! You’re going to encounter somebody at this amazing facility that might just need to hear you say, ‘stand!’ How would you say it, Martin? ‘If you can’t fly, then run. You can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving, even if you have to stand.’”

“In other words, friends, do something. Do something today,” Rigsby continued. “Even if it’s just a dream.”

And then, again very closely – although not always exactly — drawing on King’s own words, Rigsby added: “I have a dream, deeply rooted in the American dream that one day this nation [will] rise up to live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. I have a dream, down in Georgia, the sons of former slaves, and the sons of former slave owners, would someday, get together at the table of brotherhood…I have a dream, today, that one day little white boys and white girls will join hands with little black boys and black girls be brothers and sisters in love.”

Rigsby also interwove his discourse about King with the story of his own family – noting that the inspiration of King helped his family endure through the early death of his first wife to cancer, and also enriched the wisdom of his father, whom he described as “a third-grade dropout, the wisest man I ever met.”

The emotional impact of the words from Rigsby – a motivational speaker and former college professor and journalist now based in Texas – repeatedly evoked reactions ranging from laughter to rousing applause.

Singer Dorian Holley, who closed out the one-hour event, drew a fresh burst of laughter when he began by saying “Well, this isn’t fair at all,” — a reference to how hard it was to follow a performance like Rigsby’s.

But then the audience soon sprung back to its feet and swayed to Holley’s music. Backed up by musicians on guitar and keyboard, he closed the one-hour event with the songs “Abraham, Martin and John;” “Lift Every Voice and Sing;” and “Change is Gonna Come.”

As the program concluded, many in the audience collapsed into each other’s arms.

Employee Shay Domingo said, “The speaker gave me chills. I looked around, and a lot of other people were very emotional and were crying too.” Learning more about King, Domingo said, was “just so moving.”

REF: Cedars Sinai Jan 21, 2020

February 6, 2020 by Rick Rigsby 0 Comments

Rick Rigsby gives advice to teacher and administrators for the upcoming school year

Speaker Rick Rigsby gave teachers and administrators advice to continue to grow and make an impact on children this next school year.

Rigsby, president and CEO of Rick Rigsby Communications, delivered the keynote address Friday morning at The Ritz Theatre, during the 2019 Opening Day event sponsored by the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center.

To be able to have the privilege to touch the lives of young people is a very serious calling, Rigsby said.

“To impact the lives of young folk, you must continue to grow,” he said.

Rigsby said nothing fails like success.

“You can’t be distracted by your past success,” he said. “You have to grow and challenge yourself everyday.”

Rigsby said he was impacted and continues to impact his children and others from the lessons he’s learned from his father, a third grade dropout.

“The wisest person I’ve ever met is a third grade dropout,” he said.

His father dropped out in the third grade to help on his family’s farm. He taught himself to read and write and over the years as a line cook for a military academy, he learned portions of many languages and life experiences.

The lessons he’s learned include, don’t judge others, have common sense, be kind, live a life of excellence, have a servant’s towel bigger than your ego, be early and keep standing — don’t quit.

“Your goal is to make an impact, not an impression,” Rigsby said.

As a teacher, Rigsby said he learned to bring a boring subject to life and give the students under his direction a reason to listen.

“If you are not connecting with your students, you have to then adjust,” he said.

Rigsby is a former award-winning journalist. He also served as a college professor and character coach and chaplain for the Aggies football team at Texas A&M University.

Rigsby was named twice as an outstanding professor in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M. He also has numerous publications, including the author of — “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout,” and “Afraid to Hope.”

REF: The Advister-Tribune

Feb 06, 2020

September 28, 2018 by Rick Rigsby 0 Comments

Former Texas A&M football chaplain Rick Rigsby to local leaders: Strive to be great

The daylong Brazos Valley Business Forum culminated Thursday afternoon with a passionate, wide-ranging keynote address from a former Texas A&M professor and football team chaplain.

Rick Rigsby, who lived in Bryan-College Station from 1992 to 2007 and worked in a variety of positions at Texas A&M, evoked laughter and tears from about 200 area business leaders inside the Century Ballroom at the Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center.

“I love the fact that we have forward [economic] momentum, the likes of which I’ve not seen, and I came to College Station in 1992. Allow me just a few minutes to be your cheerleader,” said Rigsby at the outset of his hour-long speech, which weaved praise for the Brazos Valley’s economic and population growth with advice on ways for business owners and executives to be more successful.

Rigsby, a former character coach and chaplain for the Texas A&M football team, went viral in 2017 after a commencement speech he gave at California State University Maritime Academy — “Wisdom From A Third-Grade Dropout,” in which he discusses key lessons gained from his father — was posted online.

“I just feel good being in Aggieland,” Rigsby said. “My goal for being here is to really encourage business owners, entrepreneurs, those who are starting businesses to grow the kind of infrastructure all throughout this community that will attract new businesses — businesses from literally all over the world right here to the Brazos Valley,” he said after his address.

“In order to achieve those lofty goals, business owners every day have to ask themselves a simple question: How great do I want to be today? I believe that is the genesis toward making an impact, toward leaving a legacy in the Brazos Valley worth following,” he said.

“This place has tremendous potential,” Rigsby said. “The goal is not to be spoiled by the success we’ve had so far. Nothing fails like success.”

Through personal anecdotes and sharing quotes by a variety of figures from Aristotle to late Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll, Rigsby encouraged attendees to focus on “the basics” — on doing ordinary things exceptionally well, he said. He repeatedly returned to wisdom he learned from his father, who was born in 1920 and had little formal education but nevertheless had a lifelong love of learning.

During his remarks, Rigsby bantered with former A&M football player and current Bryan-College Station businessman Hunter Goodwin. Rigsby was on the A&M football team’s staff during Goodwin’s career. In Goodwin’s introductory remarks, he reflected on 1996, which he said for himself was a special year as he got drafted by the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL, but was a “year of great pain” for Rigsby. Both men said that year cemented their friendship.

Rigsby elaborated near the end of his remarks on the hardship of journeying alongside his wife that year as she battled — and eventually died from — breast cancer. “This community gave me a place to grieve and a safe place to heal,” he said of B-CS. Several attendees wiped away tears as he spoke of her last words to him, which he said gave him the strength to continue on after her death.

Rigsby is now based in Dallas and travels throughout the world to speak to a variety of audiences. 

Rigsby’s address came after a morning of workshops and presentations focused on Brazos Valley growth and development. Officials from Texas A&M University’s Private Enterprise Research Center (PERC) and the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation (BVEDC) unveiled the inaugural issue of Economic Indicators of the College Station-Bryan Metro Statistical Area, a monthly update on the local economy. 

Among the initial report’s findings, the report stated that the local unemployment rate as of July 2018 was 2.9 percent, compared to a Texas rate of 4 percent and a national figure of 3.9 percent. The report considers Brazos, Burleson and Robertson counties to make up the Metro Statistical Area, and uses monthly sales taxes as one of its primary indicators of economic growth and vitality.

The College Station-Bryan Business-Cycle Index is patterned after the indexes created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas for the major Texas metro areas, according to a BVEDC release.

BVEDC President/CEO Matt Prochaska said, “The Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation is focused on helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the Brazos Valley, including helping entrepreneurs who are at any one of those three business stages.” 

Prochaska said the BVEDC is pleased to team with PERC, and called the research center “one of those outstanding partners in mutually equipping businesses in our community to reach their maximum potential.”

Prosperity Bank B-CS regional chairman Mark Humphrey said after Rigsby’s speech that he felt energized by the entire day’s programming.

“It was a great event with over 250 people. The area is growing, the economy is growing, and the Economic Development Corporation’s focus is to coordinate with the two cities and the county to bring in businesses, high-paying jobs and partnerships with Texas A&M University,” he said.

REF: The Eagle. By Kenny Wiley 

September 28, 2018

Author offers lesson on character and kindness

In 2017, Dr. Rick Rigsby delivered one of the most passionate speeches many had heard. It was viewed millions of times and went viral in days. Some said after hearing him speak, they were never the same. He stopped by Good Day to share lessons on character and kindness.

REF: Fox 4 news Dallas Fort Worth 

February 22, 2019 by Rick Rigsby 0 Comments

Making an impact: Rick Rigsby speaks at first Lecture Series of the year

Since third grade, Rick Rigsby knew he was a talker, but it wasn’t until he was in college that he decided to pursue a career out of it.

Tuesday, Rigsby spoke at the first Dillon Lecture Series of the year at the Sports Arena.

Even though Rigsby was a talker as a child, it took him some time to become confident speaking in front of a camera or crowds as an adult. When he got to college, he didn’t expect to go into Communications.

“To be honest, I hated math at the time,” Rigsby said, reminiscing about deciding what to do when he was a college student.

He decided to be a disc jockey and started an internship with a local television station. His job was to take affirmative action and use his voice strongly, because it wasn’t very common for a black man to get much air-time in the 70s and his boss encouraged him to make a difference.

According to Rigsby, it took some practice and a few mistakes before he got comfortable enough to speak to an audience through broadcast. He was told to pretend he was talking to his mom when on-air and it helped push him in the right direction.

“I learned that listening is far more important than speaking in terms of communication,” Rigsby said.

Rigsby ended up getting four degrees in communication and also became an ordained minister.

After speaking at several schools over the years, Rigsby was just as shocked as would be expected when he found out his commencement speech at Cal Maritime Academy in 2017 went viral, and got more than 200 million views.

Before he spoke there, Rigsby didn’t think of himself as someone who made that big of a difference.

Rigsby was giving a speech in Tulsa when his wife called and gave him the news that his speech had so many views. Then, his son told him he needed to hire people to manage him and convinced him to speak for a living.

When Rigsby wrote his first book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout”, in 2006, it was not a well-known book. But after the speech went viral, the book became a Wall Street Journal best seller in 2017.  

When asked why he made a career in public speaking, Rigsby said, “I love it, I love people and love rising to the challenge, I’m an encourager.”

Even though he loves what he does, Rigsby said there are obstacles he’s faced travelling and speaking for so many years.

“I’ve travelled 70,000 miles since Jan. 2, and I get tired,” Rigsby said.

Fatigue plays a role with being a public speaker, and he often experiences loneliness on the road, because his wife and kids don’t get to attend many of his speeches. The other obstacle he faces along with many other speakers is the fear of not being the best he can be.

“The Dillon Lecture Series doesn’t want kind of good, they want the best,” Rigsby said, “Because that video went viral, I have to give good speeches.”

Rigsby shares many messages during his lectures, many involving his hero and the one who taught him how to be a man; his father.

Tuesday, the main theme of Rigsby’s message was “Making an Impact”. With the crowd showing a positive reaction to Rigsby’s speech with laughter, applause, hollering and happy responses, he proved that he had left an impact on people, ranging from kids to elderly in the short time of being in the building.

Rigsby has given speeches all over the world and continues at the age of 63, describing himself as a kid at heart. That is his answer to being asked how he feels he can relate to everyone when he is talking.

Rigsby emphasized the importance of communicating to a wide audience and being able to relate to all ages and races with his messages explaining that he tries to make the material relatable to everyone and hopes to always give life-altering inspiration.

After he went viral, Rigsby started to get called by people who listened to his speech and decided to change their lifestyle. Some were having issues with themselves and others were having marriage problems and instead of turning to the worst outcome, they decided to ask for help, which gave Rigsby more motivation to continue his passionate and humorous messages.

If you aren’t familiar with the famous commencement speech given by Rigsby, he gave several pieces of his father’s advice to the graduates and told stories that proved how far he had fallen and how he got back up. Even when he lost his wife and college sweetheart, hitting rock bottom, he didn’t give up because his dad sustained him by saying three words that Rigsby will never forget.

He told him, “Son, just stand.”

He had two sons with Trina and knew he had to be strong for them and honor his wife’s wishes. Two years later, he was able to find love again and had two more sons. Rigsby’s youngest son is now 18 and his oldest is 36.

He explained that as you get older, you begin to appreciate your parents and grandparents a lot more and understand why they teach you the lessons they do. He hopes that his children will keep sharing his father’s and possibly add some of his own wisdom throughout their lives.

One question Rigsby persuaded the audience members to ask themselves everyday was, “How great can I be today?”

Boasting about “our grandparents’ generation”, Rigsby made the argument that our grandparents asked themselves the same question and made it happen without the use of technology or someone else helping them.

During the lecture, Rigsby said if you want to be better, you have to look at your priorities and change what needs to be changed. “Execute the basics to achieve greatness,” Rigsby said.

Rigsby’s third-grade dropout father, who taught himself how to read and write, inspired him and gave him these basics in order to be the best he can be: Don’t judge, don’t show up late, be kind, be a servant, and obtain excellence.

To end his message, Rigsby asked a question that was meant to make the audience think.

He asked, “How you living?”

REF: The Hutchinson Collegian, 2020