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As this baseball season comes to an end tonight, it is a great time to realize the OTHER contribution Derek Jeter has made. You may be a big baseball fan or barely take note (Is he the guy who dated Mariah Carey back in the day?) Jeter actually provides something of note well beyond his hits and RBI’s.

Though Jeter has wrapped up one of the legendary careers in sports this year, he may have been even better at managing his high profile life. How’s this for an accomplishment? Jeter started his baseball career at age 20 in, of all places, New York City, and went on to be scandal-free for the next 20 years, all in the Big Apple. That despite the fact he dated plenty of “A-List” celebrities and kept a high profile both on and off the field. As one Gotham reporter said recently, “He’s what P.R. people desperately try to train their clients to be.” So just what is that? Let’s take a look:

Know thyself: By all accounts, Jeter came to public life as one of the most well-grounded people you will meet. A natural leader, even at 20, fellow players and coaches noticed it right away. Jeter seemed to know his place in the world and was ready to manage it, being careful not to get into areas that did not work for him. Jeter regularly, and through his retirement celebration, credited his parents and solid Michigan upbringing for his foundation. It is not a quality everyone can replicate – we are who we are largely because of our upbringing – but Jeter seemed to make the most of it.

Know Your Place: Jeter used caution throughout his 20 years in the sports spotlight. Remember, during that time he played on (and often led) five World Series Champion teams. Jeter, according to all who regularly covered the Yankees, was measured in his public comments and actions. Never did he seem to portray anything but a reflection of the organization and sport he represented. Yes, he got it that he was a role model. At times that meant he was boring and predictable, but he was letting his stellar play be the focus of attention. What is the lesson here? From the moment we walk out of our door until we walk back in at the end of the day, we are the living, breathing, walking representation of all that we are and are connected to – no matter how we might feel that day!

Know What You Can Control: Jeter was famous in New York for using his celebrity in doses. When he was hoping to stay out of the tabloids he only patronized places he could trust. He might be at a high profile club, but everyone knew not a word would be passed on to keep his trust. After all, he was Derek Jeter! When he was connected to a non-profit, he let the full celebrity light shine – because then it made sense. The lesson here is we all have a certain level of power and can be careful about who we trust, where we are seen and when we pull out all the stops.

And the final measure of Derek Jeter’s success? He did all of this while growing up in a world that changed drastically. As he wrapped up this year everyone has a camera, can be a reporter and can tell their story. For Jeter, nothing has changed. He knows who he is. Is he perfect? Certainly not, but he learned how to manage his life in the spotlight.

Want more on Jeter? Check out the great profile by Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated

http://www.si.com/longform/derek_jeter

 

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Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting, www.clear-comm.net, a Scottsdale, AZ communications consulting firm that helps people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: cary@clear-comm.net.