Those are the words that famous composer Richard Sherman shared with author Pat Williams.
“Simple, but magical. He would give you a challenge and say, ‘I know you can do this.’ He made you believe that anything was possible.
He made you proud to be on his team. And it really was a team effort-Walt would roll up his sleeves and go to work alongside the rest of us.
He saw potential in people who had never really done anything great. My brother Robert and I had no track record in the music industry, but Walt heard a few of our songs and he gave us an opportunity and inspired us to keep topping ourselves. Without Walt to inspire us, I don’t know where we would be today.”
History remembers the impact of the Sherman Brothers. At Disney, they wrote more motion picture musical scores than any other songwriters in the history of film. They also created their best-known song, It’s A Small World…for the World’s Fair in 1964. Some believe that this one song has now become the most translated and performed song on Earth. The popularity continues as new generations continue to discover the song in Disney theme parks.
The Sherman Brothers won two Academy Awards for the film Mary Poppins, which featured the famous songs Feed The Birds (which was Walt’s favorite song) and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” and the Oscar-winning Chim Chim Cher-ee. Robert and Richard Sherman worked almost exclusively for Walt Disney, completing the scores for the live-action musical films The Happiest Millionaire and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band right up until Disney’s surprising death. The Jungle Book was the last film that they worked on with the direct influence of Walt as the project started. Although they worked for other brands and companies, they returned to Disney for short stay and worked on the classic Disney picture The Aristocats followed by Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Which was nominated for more awards.
They wrote the song score for the Disney film The Tigger Movie. in the year 2000. This would be the first film they were involved with for Disney company after a 28 year break.
The lives and the careers of the brothers were changed forever because Walt Disney liked them, saw their talent, believed in them, and inspired them to become something beyond what they were. Walt’s willingness to trust them, invest in them, and give them a chance changed the trajectory of their lives forever.
It is amazing what influence and inspiration can do for people. This glimpse of Walt is consistent with others who have talked about how Walt gave them a chance, believed in them, took a risk on them, and worked with them to help them become more than they were before or to discover the best within themselves. History sometimes forgets these stories of how Walt inspired others. Now there were times to be sure that people pushed back on Walt as he nudged them forward…but in the end…it was always about being the best, getting the best, and becoming the best…not just for a finished film project or theme park but for the individuals as well.
Do you inspire the lives of others? Do you have others in your life that inspire you?
I hope so…be inspired and be inspirational…it matters…and it makes the world a better place.
Richard Sherman continued in his conversation with Pat Williams, as recorded in the book How To Be Like Walt, as he said ; “Walt always wanted you to find something wonderful in yourself, to believe in it, and consider it God’s gift to you. God gives you the gift, and the rest is up to you. Walt taught me that what you do with that gift is your gift back to God.”
That is a life shifting way to look at your talents and abilities. Again, the lessons that Walt taught the Sherman Brothers changed their lives forever. It should remind us that the talent we have, the abilties we have, and the things that we do that are uniquely us…those things are gifts. What we do with them is the gift we give back to the One who gave them to us. Maybe it is time we all got busy doing something with what we have been given. Life is short, don’t waste it.
Richard continued by saying, “I learned something from Walt every day.”
The lessons for life are there for the taking…you are gifted…use them
We all need inspiration…find it and inspire others along the way…
Keep learning…you are a life long learner and you can learn something new every single day