Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
The Reason Why

The Reason Why

It was my great pleasure to meet and hear former Texas Tech University track Coach Jarvis Scott speak at the Buesseler Distinguished Lectureship Series of TTU Rawls College of Business. Coach Scott passed away this week. Her comments at that meeting a few months ago for health care folks really made an impact on me. She gave an inspiring account of her experience navigating the health care system after suffering a stroke in 2004.


Coach Scott grew up in south central Los Angeles with her parents and five brothers. She participated in track at Pomona High School where she attained honors and developed her track ability. This lead to her competing in the Mexico Olympics in 1968, where she qualified in both the 400 and 800-meter runs and held the fastest time in the world for these tryouts.  To the best of my knowledge, there has not been another U.S. athlete to date, either male or female, who qualified for the Olympics for both the 400 and 800-meter run. After competing all over the world she was hired at Tech at the age of 32 where she spent almost 14 years training and mentoring student athletes. 


These days’ professional speakers, such as Simon Sinek, urge people to examine their lives and careers and to ask why. This is certainly good advice and it really goes back to the great philosophers and the importance of examining our lives.  But, the Sinek way puts it, most leaders talk about what they do –the products or services that make them money. Some leaders talk about the how – the process they use that sets them apart. Very few leaders talk about (or even know) their why – the reason the business exists in the first place. Sinek argues that when we start with “why” in everything that we do, we inspire action in a way that “what” doesn't. That’s because “why” engages our emotions, while “what” engages our logical brain.


Here’s my point: Coach Scott is an amazing example of what finding your “why” can do for you. She knew her “why.” In fact, she said that many people would ask her why she worked and trained so hard, too tired to eat or even shower at times, and her answer was simple, “I want to see the end result.” Coach Scott’s dedication, determination, and triumphs are an example to us all on the importance of following through to “see the end result”.