Lessons of Lincoln
The Lessons of Lincoln and How They Pertain to Today’s Business
Upon taking office, Lincoln was faced with probably the most devastating historical occurrence in U.S. history. Surrounded by a large scale poor economy (the U.S. was bankrupt) and four months prior to election a succession of five states from the Union, Lincoln was seemingly set up for failure. Upon taking office, America’s only Civil War was weeks from taking place. The morning after his inauguration, Fort Sumter was threatened. At this period, Lincoln was either faced with surrendering to the Confederacy or beginning to prepare for a historical war.
However, there were a few life lessons that Lincoln left behind that could not only help in life, but in business as well.
Lincoln, even at an early age, was determined to make something of himself. Although he made mistakes (he was human, after all) he was able to keep a sense of humor about him, see positive opportunities in conflicts and disagreements and perservere through political and economic strife. Lincoln has been an inspiration to me throughout my life. Here are some of the things I have learned from him…
1. Determination to make something of one’s self – If you truly want to succeed in business, you have to be driven. By starting my business at a very early age, I threw myself in at the deep end, but over the past few years I have learned to swim in this shark tank of a profession. Over the years I’ve observed the differences in those companies that succeed, and the ones that fail. Although there are countless factors to take into consideration, I believe that it really all comes down to simple determination. If you and your employees have the determination to succeed and refuse to let up or give in, even when the going is rough, you’ll eventually come out on top. I get up at 5:30 every morning and start working. I’m not saying everyone needs to get up at dawn to be successful, but it is something I have stuck to since I started this business and it something I believe to be an indicator of how I am dedicated to what I do and helping my company succeed.
2. Accepting Disagreement – Business, just like life, it not entirely fair. Sometimes you will come across wonderful people who are willing to help you out and other times you will find those who completely rub you the wrong way and always seem like they are set on making your life miserable. Its essential to learn how to deal with those not-so-nice clients or colleagues. I always maintain that no matter what our differences are, I always have something to learn from them. Accepting disagreements and taking the time to think about what the other person is arguing might actually open you up to new ideas and perspectives.
3. The Power of Humor – Imagine if no one ever smiled or cracked a joke. Life would be miserable. Maintaing a professional image is important, but nobody wants to deal with overly serious, arrogant business people. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Smile. Ask someone how their day was. Be honest when they ask you the same. You’d be surprised at the welcoming answers you receive. Don’t force humor or feel like you have to “perform”, but I think that sometimes people forget when they’re doing business that we’re all just human.
Like Lincoln? Here’s another story about him: (http://ramseyssoundandstyle.com/?p=68).