Yesterday was President’s Day and I thought I’d share a story about John Adams, our second President.
During the last year of his life, John Adams was visited by a young Ralph Waldo Emerson, recently graduated from Harvard University. Emerson spent the day with Adams listening to him reminisce the birth of our nation, a process that took 12 years.
The American Revolution was a time of risk and great uncertainty but our founding fathers persevered in their resolve to create a new nation. In addition to external threats and challenges, they overcame internal conflicts and rose above their personal agendas for the common good and for a common goal, a free America.
Years later, Emerson was asked about the day that he had spent with Adams. Emerson said that he was struck by Adam’s comment that what the country lacked, and needed most, was people with the “ambition to excel”.
The ambition to excel drives us to go beyond the possible and pursue the seemingly impossible. It helps us understand that complacency (not failure) is the opposite of success. The founding fathers were willing to challenge the status quo and seek their independence. We have the same opportunity. Challenge complacency. Begin with a Core Focus™ that clearly defines “Why” we exist – our purpose, passion or cause, and “What” we can be best at doing. This creates the framework for achieving excellence.
Our founding fathers stayed laser focused for years to gain independence and create a more perfect union, overcoming all obstacles. The war, from the first shots fired at Lexington and Concord in 1775 to the surrender of Cornwallis in 1781, lasted 6 years. The constitution was finally ratified in 1787.
Promote the ambition to excel with your team and stay true to your Core Focus™. What goal might you achieve?