On the day Jim Stynes died, it really rocked people. It’s a sad day that we lost one of the true legends of not only AFL but of life. His legacy stands as tall and strong as he did. He made a real difference, a massive difference to this world and that in itself is true leadership.
So just what was it about Jim Stynes that made him a revered leader, admired by all who knew him and those who didn’t. These are just a few of Jim’s leadership traits that made him the man he was:
- He made mistakes and learnt from them. One of the most epic mistakes in football is to run across the mark, let alone in the dying seconds of a tight preliminary final that put the competing team within scoring distance. His inexperience at the time caused that mistake and for the club, the players and the fans, this was a big one! But the character this man showed was incredible. Considering this happened in front of millions of people nationwide, it would be easy to find a hiding place and stay there forever. Jim did no such thing. He trained harder than ever and was determined to make up for this mistake. The next year he played in the clubs losing grand final, 4 years later he won the league’s most coveted award – The Brownlow. Jim accepted responsibility and worked to improve. This is the strong character he possessed and demonstrated time and time again. A courageous and determined individual that would never give up.
- Didn’t hear no or can’t. Jim believed if there was a will there was a way. He was completely solution focused and would work tirelessly to find a way. He made such a difference to what and whom he chose to get involved with for their benefit and for the benefit of the greater community.
- Passionate. If you heard Jim speak, he was a passionate man. He spoke from the heart and had a true connection to his cause. He was a picture of someone living their purpose and driven to make the world a better place because he has been here.
- Contribution. You only have to look at the selfless work he did for his football club and the Reach foundation even when he was in the grips of the terrible cancer that claimed him. He was about giving to others and about creating a legacy for his family. A leaders work is often selfless. In Jim’s own words “I love to make a difference”. And that he did.
- Optimism, Will Power and Determination. These are the words consistently used to describe Jim as I sift through all the dedications and articles written about him. I want to add another word Courage. This man was a courageous figure. He fought a hard battle with cancer, he fought hard on the footy field, he fought hard for his cause and to get his club into a better financial position so they could be a strong, sustainable club. These four traits of a leader culminate into a formidable character – Jim Stynes.
Jim Stynes is the epitome of leadership and his legacy will live on. He has shown how a young lad from the other side of the world can follow his dream, adopt a new homeland and make it a much better place. And Jim for that we are thankful.