“The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.”

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), our 26th president was well-known for his strength of leadership, tenacity, and personal discipline. He was only 42 years of age. Historians credit him for changing the nation’s political system by making character of a person is as important as the issue they speak to.

A recent family visit to Medora, ND had me thinking about Theodore Roosevelt (I hear he despised the name Teddy).  Roosevelt is one of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore.

He had first visited our state of North Dakota as a young man at the recommendation of his physician to rest for the sake of his heart condition.  Young Roosevelt came out to the southwestern corner of the state and became more engulfed in his interests of government, and conservation.  He eventually returned to politics in New York and married at the age of 22 (1881).

However in 1884, his wife and his mother died on the same day.  His daughter was only a 2 day old baby.  He enlisted relatives to care for his young child and Theodore went west, to reflect.  He temporarily left politics and went to the frontier, becoming a rancher in the “Badlands”.  He had built a ranch called the Elkhorn, 35 miles north of tiny Medora, ND nestled on the banks of the Little Missouri.  It is there he rebuilt his life, jumped deeply into the cowboy mentality of survival through personal strength and where a man’s integrity and honesty are foremost in character.  He read, thought, and wrote his way back to society.

In North Dakota, he experienced another life catastrophe, which was a series of high plains winter blizzards that all but wiped out some of the wealthiest men in the region.  Theodore moved back to the city ready to return to politics in 1886.

He went on to live life at its fullest as only a man of his character could and would. He always credited his time in North Dakota as life-changing.  Lessons learned on the prairie and through life’s trials and hardships gave him courage, strength and endurance to continue to believe in your ideals and principles.

Several of his more well-known statements reflect his strength of character;

 “Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do.  But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart… that’s true strength.”

 “Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.”

Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible

Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.
Colin Powell

Every now and then I dust off a book that has been on my library shelves for a few years and read it again. This is a practice I pick up years ago when I realized my memory needed refreshing on occasion with thoughts from great leaders.

I would dare to guess those in business management have several if not shelves of books they have purchased over the years that have been read once and put away to gather dust with the thoughts and knowledge in them never to be read again by the owner. That is unfortunate. As a life-long learner, I have found if I re-read the book, I find more insight and deeper meaning than the first time I read the book. Often it is because you are now reading the book because you have the time or perhaps you sought out the book knowing it is applicable to a current situation you are working through.

Management skills and specifically leadership are fluid. All life experience is cumulative. Each experience, personal or professional adds knowledge and depth to your life and meaning. Each experience gives you greater insight into how to work with and management situations. And how you manage situations is what makes you a leader.

The name of the book I am referring to that I recently read again is the Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell by Oren Harari. Colin Powell reveals deep-seated wisdom and has much great advice. Definitely worth a read again.