In her wonderful volumes on American history, Mara Pratt shared a story about George Washington that we should all take to heart.
One day during the American Revolution, General George Washington rode upon a number of soldiers who were working to raise a beam up to the top of a military structure. The men somehow didn’t recognize Washington.
All the men were working except one. That one man continued to bark out orders. He yelled at the other men, “Now you have it! Already! Pull!”
Washington guided his horse a little closer to the order barking soldier. He quietly asked the soldier why he wasn’t helping the others. The young man looked up at Washington and angrily said, “Sir, don’t you know that I am the corporal?
Washington said, “I did not realize it. Beg pardon, Mr. Corporal.”
Washington then got off his horse, walked over to the soldiers and began helping them move the heavy beam. The General continued until the beam was put in place on top of the structure. Then, with sweat pouring down his face, he turned to the corporal and said, “If ever you need assistance like this again, call upon Washington, your commander- in-chief, and I will come.”
What is it that makes a great leader? Simply, a servant’s heart.
What is that little extra ingredient that can take us from the jaws of defeat and thrust us onto the mountain peak of success? In his book, Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt, Harvey McKay tells a wonderful story. In 1988, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team led by Coach Lou Holtz was undefeated. Their next game was against the also undefeated Miami Hurricanes. The game was to be played on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Indiana.
These two teams were considered the two best football teams in college football. It was believed that the national championship would come down to these two teams at the end of the season.
The night before the big game, Notre Dame held a pep rally on campus. That pep rally had twenty thousand people in attendance. They yelled cheers, sang the school fight song, and really pumped everyone up.
At the very end, Coach Holtz stood to speak. His remarks were short and they ended with this: “I just want you to do me a very simple favor. You go find Jimmy Johnson (the Miami coach) and tell him we are going to beat the dog out of Miami.”
As you can imagine, the students went crazy. They leapt to their feet, they clapped their hands, and they cheered with everything they had … all except the team. The team stood there quietly looking at the ground and shuffling their feet. This had been going on during the entire pep rally. This behavior didn’t go unnoticed by Coach Holtz.
Why did Coach Holtz say such a provocative statement that was sure to get Miami all pumped up … and put a lot of pressure on the Fighting Irish at the same time? Because he knew what his team needed at that moment. The team needed motivation and a belief in themself!
In the previous four head-to-head games between Notre Dame and Miami, the Hurricanes had gotten the better hand … dramatically. In fact, they had dominated over the Irish. In those four games they had a combined score of 133 to 20. This truth had not been forgotten by the Notre Dame football players. No wonder they were a little down in the dumps.
After the pep rally, the team was to meet across campus for what was known as a chalk talk. Back then, coaches didn’t have the fancy equipment and smart boards that they have today. They had a blackboard and a piece of chalk.
As soon as Coach Holtz and his team met for their chalk talk, coach picked up a piece of chalk and he wrote on the board “We are going to beat the dog out of Miami”
He then looked at his team and asked, “Why did I say that?” He heard crickets. Nobody responded. So, coach repeated his question. “Why did I say that?”
One hand went up. Holtz gestured with one hand and the player said, “Because we’ve got a better kicking game.” Holtz then went on to write “better kicking game” on the board.
Coach then asked, “Is that it?”
Finally, another player shyly raised his hand. That player said, “Our offensive line gets off quicker than theirs.” Holt wrote that on the board too and then asked, “Anything else?”
Another player said with more confidence now, “Pass defense.…”
This went on for little while with Coach Holtz writing each of the phrases that the players said on the board. With each phrase, the confidence begin to grow in the room. Pretty soon, the team began to believe in themselves.
Coach Holtz paused and looked at his team. He then raised his voice and asked, “Who’s going to get an interception for Notre Dame tomorrow? Who’s going to get a sack for Notre Dame tomorrow? Who’s going to strip the ball and recover it for Notre Dame?”
After each question, a number of hands went up. What was the result of all this motivation? Notre Dame won the game 31 to 30. Motivation is that little extra that can take you from the valley of defeat to the mountain peak of success. And, later that season, Notre Dame won the national championship.
ANNOUNCING! A New Podcast Gaining Attention — Let Me Tell You A Story with Mark Bowser
Stories are everywhere! We all love them! We love them in books, at the movies, and in our favorite podcasts. But, what if a story could be — more? What if a story could change your life in a substantial, positive way? What if a story could take you to the pinnacles of success and show you how to scale life’s mountains too?
Well, that is what Let Me Tell You a Story podcast with Mark Bowser is all about. Professional Speaker & Author Mark Bowser will take you behind the scenes of some of history’s greatest feats and unknown achievements so that their stories can be a city on a hill shining like a beacon in the night inspiring us to live our best! Come join us every Monday and Thursday! Please subscribe now so that you won’t miss one exciting episode. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, etc….
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“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; Leadership is defined by results not attributes.”
Peter F. Drucker
Don’t you wish more leaders in your organization understood this? Don’t misunderstand Mr. Drucker—Leadership isn’t about being liked, but it also isn’t about being bossy. Leadership is about Influence and that comes by being a servant.
If you want your leaders trained in this way then give me a call.
In this book, we are going to delve into the story of Nehemiah and what his example can mean for us in this contemporary day. You see, I believe that the story of Nehemiah and his success can help us become better parents, better executives, better employees, better friends, better team members… better people. Why? Because the book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament is all about leadership. Leadership is the key to all success. When we become better leaders, we become better–at everything!
*Excerpted from “Nehemiah on Leadership” by Mark Bowser
Welcome to my blog. As an author, I love to share ideas. But , I also love to hear ideas. This is a place where I can share my thoughts on success and life with you. It is also a place where you can share your ideas with me. It is a place where you can experience my writing style and hopefully be inspired by what you read. It is a place where we can experience the road of success...together. I look forward to the journey.