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Is your career worth dying for?

This past Monday, Steve Irwin (a.k.a. The Crocodile Hunter) died. He was doing some filming for a new television series that he was working on when he received a deadly blow to his heart from a stingray (I have dived in Australia, and, having seen one myself, I can tell you that the stingray is one of the most beautiful animals to behold).

What was it about this incident that captured the world? Steve’s death was the top news story in media outlets around the globe. Australia’s national broadcaster website went down due to the amount of traffic, as was the case for many other media websites, with traffic at over 50% more than usual.

I found it both sad and ironic that the barb of the stingray went straight to his heart — we often use the "heart" as a metaphor for the center of our emotions. His passion for the work he was called into ultimately caused his death.

His wife called Steve "an environmental Tarzan, with superhero qualities." He loved what he did. He had been around reptiles, snakes and other animals since he was a child, growing up at his parents’ zoo. The boundaries between his life and work were seamless. Steve was always incredibly passionate about his work, and yes, he was a true showman. I think it was his authentic passion that engaged audiences around the world.

You may think how sad it was that he died in the way he did. And I would agree. Yet his life was a testament of what you can do, and the impact you can have on others when you love your work. I believe he would agree that his career was worth dying for.

There is a saying I feel applies here; "Everyone dies, but not everyone lives." Crikey Steve, we sure will miss ya!

Last week I asked people to send in their Career Tipping Point stories. We had a great response. Congratulations to Norman Haas of Toronto — this month’s winner.