Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears. – John McCain
We live in a dangerous, frightening world. Just turn on a cable news network or read a daily news brief; it is easy to live our lives in fear. From violence and hatred in our streets to carcinogenic additives in our food, the fears we face can cause paralysis in our action. There are those who withdraw from day to day society, and want to create a safe cocoon to hide from reality.
It takes courage and skill to act despite our fears. We build skills to respond to the events we face each day. We adapt and adjust to our environment; we intentionally create the culture that makes us better. We live in a broken world, but we can act with purpose each and every day to make it a better place. It starts with each one of us . . . step up and act.
No just cause is futile, even if it’s lost, if it helps make the future better than the past. – John McCain
United State Senator John McCain is a true American Hero. From his service to America in uniform during the Vietnam War, to his decades in the United States Senate, from his Presidential Campaign in 2008, to his maverick leadership in turbulent times, John McCain dedicated his life to public service. His devotion to making the future better than the past rose above party lines; he was a true American Statesman.
If we all follow the example of John McCain, if we all focus on what is just, if we focus on what is required of us to forge a better future, the world will be a better place.
Civility requires no operator’s manual, no updates to download, no complicated set of rules. It is simple; it is easy, and it produces positive and constructive human interaction. – The Late Ohio Supreme Court Justice Thomas Moyer
For generations our mothers taught us, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Our teachers and families instructed us in the golden rule, “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Civility is easy; it is grounded in principles that have guided humans since the dawn of time. These unchanging truths, these natural laws of human interaction, seem to have taken a back seat – to some – in exchange for winning and social division.
As a society, with the immediacy of social media fueled by technology and the senseless belief that in order to be a winner someone else must in turn be a loser, we must model for today’s children an expectation of civility. Listening and respecting differing opinions isn’t difficult; it simply takes a civil approach to dissension. One of our country’s mottos, e pluribus unum, celebrates our foundation as a country. Out of many peoples, we are one nation. Out of many cultures, religions, and traditions we are all Americans. Civility is a requirement in a diverse society; it produces positive and constructive human interaction.
When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred. – Thomas Jefferson
We have been partnering with Focus 3 and Tim Kight for many years. I was drawn to Tim’s R-Factor skills because many writers and speakers clearly articulate the values we aspire to model for our students, but Tim’s work provides a simple framework to actually practice those very values. The R-Factor skills, and the heuristic E + R = O, is a process by which we intentionally meet the events of each day.
Thomas Jefferson employed the first of the R-Factor skills as a politician, philosopher, and statesman. Thomas Jefferson, a leader with political enemies and opposition throughout his career of public service, knew to “press pause” before responding to the events of his time. From decisions about the revolution, to the historic battle for the presidency in 1800, the wisdom to think first, act with intentionality, and be disciplined in behavior served this Founding Father well.
While we all, including Thomas Jefferson, fall short of our aim from time to time, the practice of acting with discipline is timeless. Actions in anger, with passion and haste, will never equal the outcome obtained with skill, purpose, and reason.
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. -Thomas Jefferson
There are times following the crowd, going with the flow, is a proper course of action. We live in ever changing times. Our modes of communication change rapidly. We utilize new Apps, we listen to new music, and shop in the trendy stores. In matters of style, following the crowd offers comfort and ease.
Our core principles, the values that are dearest to us, are not subject to societal trends. Our foundational beliefs must be steadfast and firm. The fabric of our clothing is subject to change, the fabric of core beliefs is unwavering in the pressure of public opinion.
It’s often difficult to be resolute in the face of opposition; but it is required of us to be true to ourselves. We build committed relationships with others, we strengthen the bonds of trust, when others know we are principled and discipline.
Don’t get caught swimming with the current when your principles are in question. Stand like a rock and do what is required of you.
Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. – Thomas Jefferson
Wisdom is the ability to both think and act using experiences, skills, and judgement. To be wise, one must intentionally act with prudence and common sense. Wisdom has a connotation of judiciousness, pause, and discipline.
Wisdom, the discipline to synthesize knowledge and experience to do what is required, begins with honesty. One must first be true, be honest with oneself. Second, one must be principled in our dealings with others. For one can’t be wise without also being truthful. One can’t be ethical without first being honorable.
In your dealings with others, be honest and trustworthy. Stand up and Own the difficult conversations, speak the truth, and speak with sincerity of purpose.
Magic isn’t made with pixie dust. Magic is created through hard work. –
Walt Disney World lives it’s mission to be “the most magical place on earth.” For Disney employees, the magic you experience as a guest at the Magic Kingdom isn’t the result of Tink’s pixie dust. The magic at Disney is the result of intentional and purposeful work. The attention to detail and commitment to excellence at Disney is unparalleled in almost any organization. From the smallest details, Disney knows what it takes to “bring the Magic” each and every day.
Are you committed to lead a magical organization? Too often we search for that magic pixie dust; we find ourselves seeking shortcuts to greatness. The journey to elite is only achieved through one way – it’s only earned with our hard work. Don’t seek Tinker Bell’s pixie dust . . . create Disney’s enthusiasm to do the work.
The most important characteristic of a leader is optimism. – Bob Iger
Optimistic leaders are the catalysts for positive culture. When a team, any team, is optimistic it performs at a high level. When leaders use fear, the overall performance of the team is limited. When leaders use optimism, the overall performance of the team is limitless.
In your mind’s eye think about a time when you’ve been cynical or negative; your team was almost certainly influenced by your negative vibes. It’s not about what we say; it’s about how we act when it counts . . . when the pressure is on. It’s easy to be optimistic in calm waters . . . it takes intentionality to be optimistic during the storm. Act with purpose, press pause to gauge your own behavior, and be a purposeful optimist. The people you work with will benefit from your discipline.
I’m not an overachiever. I’m an over-believer. – Dabo Swinney
Achieving success isn’t luck or chance. Success is earned through hard work and dedication. Success is the result of intentional practice and preparation. When someone describes an “overachiever,” they are often describing someone who is closer to maximizing their skills through elite effort.
When we believe we will be successful, when we commit to doing the work, we earn success. The belief in ourselves and confidence in our preparation sets us apart. If you aren’t committed, if you don’t believe during the preparation, your achievement won’t match your skill. When you over-believe you maximize your potential and earn success. Do you believe in the work you are doing? Are you building skill through your passion?