As I sit here writing with the names of the dead lost on September 11 being read in the background on TV it’s easy to get very emotional. It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since this terrible tragedy. You can still hear the pain in the voices of the family members as they take turns reading from the list. It must have been very hard coping with their grief all these years. I only hope they are able to find peace at some point.
In less than two months we will have a presidential election here in the United States. Billions of dollars have been spent trying to influence voters to lean one way or another. Interestingly enough a majority of people will simply vote their party line and put very little effort into understanding the position of the other candidate or their leadership abilities. As a result, a comparatively small number of swing voters in an equally small number of states will end up deterring the final outcome. As someone who certainly has a strong sense of party loyalty but has crossed party lines on many occasions this has always frustrated me. No one party has the market cornered on good ideas or is the sole wellspring of capable leaders - the history of our nation has proven this. I have spent considerable time studying leadership and observing leaders. I also enjoy reading about the presidency and the 43 occupants of the oval office. In my humble opinion, the most successful presidents have exhibited the following traits:
As we get set to celebrate another Independence Day here in the United States, we should rightfully pay tribute the obvious courage that had to be exhibited by our Founding Fathers 236 years ago. Many of these men had much to lose and only marginal personal benefits to gain by signing the Declaration of Independence. They were already part of the established social and economic order and for the most part were beneficiaries of the existing system. In fact, although we often hear about the select few who rose to historical prominence, most of the others suffered great personal hardship as a result of their decision.
As you raise your glass this weekend, please take a moment to reflect on what Monday truly means. There are currently several hundred thousand hundred troops stationed directly in harms way doing very dangerous often thankless work. We owe them and their predecessors a vast debt of gratitude.
I often observe many leaders who think they are the exception to the rule. Maybe in some regards they are, but not across the board. Moreover, not all exceptions are created equal or warrant consideration. There are some obvious rules of personal and business behavior that we should all respect or at least take heed […]
We need move towards not away from one another. I worry that lately we are a culture that has embraced a “divide and conquer” mindset. Instead of “win-win” we think “win-lose.” Instead of choosing to co-exist with people who think differently from ourselves, we further and further isolate ourselves from others who could potentially expand […]
It's very easy to forget the significance of something the further you are removed from its reality. It used to be that war touched the majority of Americans directly, but now many of us only feel the consequences indirectly. Our nation has been at war for more than 10 years now and our troops (and those of our allies) continue to risk their life on a daily basis. Thankfully, we seem to be scaling back the required sacrifice, but the loss of even one soldier is a tragedy let alone the 4,977 that have given their life in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. This is a heavy emotional burden that will be felt by families for generations. We also shouldn't also forget the life altering injuries that tens of thousand of our troops have suffered and the devastating psychological consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I've always looked forward to Thanksgiving Day. It is one of my favorite holidays of the year. The combination of the food, the parade, football and most importantly family makes it a special day. It begins the countdown to Christmas and marks the start of celebrating the end of another year. I certainly have alot to be thankful for and feel blessed to be so fortunate.