“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? So this is what we’ve chosen to do with out life.”
Every one, every activity and task we do, should be excellent. Don’t take an endeavor lightly:
- Either you are building a company or watching TV.
- Having family dinner with your friends or eating a powerbar in the car.
- Writing a book or reading a gossip magazine.
- Organizing your home or letting the compost pile up.
- Giving the postman a smile, or ignoring her.
Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco—my own “home sweet home”. He was the co-founder and CEO of Apple and was incredibly influential in the technology sector, revolutionizing how we interact with technology and computers. Although Jobs started his adulthood with little direction, he soon discovered that he could be truly excellent in the field of technology and business. After traveling the world and working for Atari, Steve Jobs founded Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak. The duo created a product and business model that allowed the average American to have access to a computer. Tragically, Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 at 56 years old. He has left us with a legacy of hard work, creativity, and dedication to one’s goals.
“Everything they learned for the most part comes from you—how they treat people, how they look at the world, how they process things. I love being that example for them.“
Football players are tough.
Picture him on the field in aggressive play,
(source: The New York Times)
and still in uniform with that tough look on his face!
(source: Yahoo Sports)
They are also smart.
(source: The New York Times)
Toughness and smarts, along with an overweighted amount of being loving, make a good model. Michael Strahan has a call to leadership for all of us, on the “field” and off.
You are an example to your kids: how you treat a stranger at the dry-cleaners, if you jay walk, how you drive your kids to school. You are a model at work—how you treat other employees, what you wear, the joy and intellect you bring to each meeting (not the stress).
What we often forget is that you are also a model for yourself: how you treat yourself, and who you surround yourself with. This includes the state of your home: disheveled, or with flowers (sometimes it is disheveled AND with flowers, which can be okay sometimes, too!).
Being a model for our kids, for our world, and for ourselves, sends a message. Love the process of being a great leader for everyone, and you will change the world, this moment.
Michael Strahan is a retired American football defensive end who spent his fifteen-year career with the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). During his tenure with the Giants, Strahan set a record for the most sacks in a single season in 2001 and won a Super Bowl in his final season in 2007. After retiring from the NFL, Strahan became a media personality. He is currently a football analyst on Fox NFL Sunday and also serves as co-host on the television morning talk show, Live! with Kelly and Michael, alongside Kelly Ripa. He starred in and produced the short-lived Fox sitcom Brothers and appeared as host for Pros vs. Joes alongside fellow Fox football analyst Jay Glazer. On February 1, 2014, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In the 1900s, Madam C.J. Walker made her mark for black women (and all women) by becoming the first African-American self-made millionaire in America. She had a problem herself; in setting out to solve it, she helped others.
Madam Walker was losing some of her hair. So she created a hair product company which addressed this need, while helping women feel stronger, prouder, more beautiful. She was a millionaire within fifteen years.
Yet it wasn’t just enhancing women’s beauty and self-esteem that made her unique. She employed thousands of women; she shone with brilliance by being a great CEO. And she left us with some inspiring mottos by which she lived her life.
Two of my favorites are:
“I got my start by giving myself a start.”
“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”
Go “start” whatever you would love to do. It can be small, it can be on the side, it can be modest. But begin today. You will know yourself more, giving of your “only-you” talents. You will also be providing opportunities and inspiration for others.
In honor of Black History month, we honor Madam C.J. Walker. She was the first self-made American millionaire who was African-American or female. Her own hair loss inspired her to experiment with home remedies, and then sell them throughout the country. She began by selling Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, a healing conditioner for scalps. She traveled door-to-door throughout the South and Southeast to sell her products. Her corporation employed as many as 3,000 people at one point. Madam Walker also founded Lelia College to train “hair culturists,”assisting other black women to start their own businesses. She was a Civil Rights activist and philanthropist.
“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
– Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was a British philosopher, logician and mathematician. He co-wrote “Prinicipia Mathematica” with A. N. Whitehead, attempting to ground math in logic, and he has had a profound influence on philosophy, mathematics and linguistics. He was a staunch anti-war activist; he was jailed for pacifism in World War I, campaigned against Adolf Hitler, and was against the Vietnam War. He also acknowledged that war could at times be the lesser of two evils, and supported World War II, in the interest of defeating Hitler as the larger threat. Russell received a Nobel Prize in Literature, for writing championing freedom and humanitarian ideals.
A story I heard and found inspiring:
A famine was on in the land and a beggar on a street corner reached out to Tolstoy, who was passing by. Russia’s great man stopped, searched for a coin but found none. With genuine sorrow, he said: “Don’t be angry with me, my brother. I have nothing with me.”
The beggar’s face lit up as he replied, “But you called me brother–that is a great gift.”