I have written in the past on my other heroes, many who have been women – Barbara Bush, Condolezza Rice & my Aunt Dorothy. While some of these heroes have come from privileged backgrounds (and didn’t waste their opportunity), most have just been everyday folks that stepped into the messes when the opportunity presented itself. Once there, they achieved amazing things.
An American Hero – Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman is one of those people that you can only view with awe. From her own personal background as a slave that endured many physical and mental hardships to her eventual selfless commitment to using her freedom as a catalyst for greater things. Her achievements in helping slaves escape to freedom before the Civil War, her service during the war and then her ongoing efforts to improve the lives of freed slaves are well documented – movies, books, articles, even a National Park.
Last week my post was about Touching Lives and the unintentional and multiplied impacts that can happen. Harriet Tubman didn’t stop with her own freedom. She went on to personally bring over 70 slaves to freedom through 19 different trips – with 100% success! I think all of us would like to have those types of results. This is even more remarkable when you understand her penalty for failure was her life.
While all of these successes are more than enough to put her in a category of her own, one of the things that stands out for me was how over 63 years as an activist, she demonstrated her ability to adapt. Without changing her goals of helping slaves, both before & after freedom, she continuously modified her processes and approaches with a focus on the desired results. We all can appreciate the value of this ability as we live our daily lives.
Lessons from our Heroes
As we move into our third decade as a company, we strive to incorporate all of the lessons we have learned from our heroes. They include setting good goals, conducting proper execution of our work and adapting to changes as they are introduced. But among all of the lessons, the two most important actions for us are committing to doing the right things and serving our customers.
There are many great things about our nation and its history. There are also some not so great things. But they all contribute to our continued growth and success.
Black History Month provides us with a reminder that we can always learn from people like Harriet Tubman or Dr. King on ways to overcome adversity and achieve great things. I value learning from those in the past who make it seem simple to tackle the challenges we have personally and professionally today.