As we anticipate the upcoming Memorial Day weekend—I hope we all take some time to reflect on the men and women who are serving or have served in the military. Every one of them deserves our honor and heartfelt thanks for their service and sacrifice. We owe them so much.
For years I have been proudly committed to standing with and supporting our Veterans and those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Recently, I had the privilege of spending time with Jason Redman, a retired Navy SEAL who served valiantly for 21 years, nearly losing his life for our country. He shared some great insights about leadership and life that resonated with me and gave me a renewed focus on what it means to lead with integrity and an others-centered heart. (FULL Video Below)
Our military men and women recognize the value of expending energy for someone else. They wake up every day with that in mind. If they didn’t, they could not serve.
They are motivated by what matters. They weave discipline and hard work into the tapestry of their lives.
Jason talks about his “new 100%” after being wounded in battle and undergoing multiple surgeries. There is no hint in his voice or his actions that somehow he gets to phone it in from now on. That somehow when his military service ended, so too did his responsibility to others and his commitment to make a difference. That when he was forced to lay in a hospital bed, he could lay down his drive and determination to fight for what is right, what is good, what is important. Rather, in his toughest battle, he found his “new 100%.” He stepped it up even more. What a great life lesson.
It’s no wonder that many great business leaders have a military background. Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx, served in the U.S. Marines. Jim Skinner, former CEO of Walgreens and McDonald’s and Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon, served in the U.S. Navy. Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson and Johnson, served in the U.S. Army as did Louisa Long Jaffe, co-founder of Technical and Project Engineering and Phyllis Newhouse, founder of Xtreme Solutions.
These veterans, and countless more, have excelled in business and life due in large part to the skills mastered in the military. They lead. They assess risk and manage a crisis. They are laser-focused on what’s important. They know that hard work and discipline matters. That effort should be recognized and results rewarded. That love of country and others shapes one’s character and actions in ways that leave a lasting legacy long after their final breath. So they run businesses, hold political office, start nonprofits, give motivational talks, pastor congregations, lead universities, author books and do whatever they can, for as long as they can, to make a difference in our lives and our country.
So on this Memorial Day, let’s all stop for a few moments to give thanks for those that serve and have served. Let’s give thanks for our freedom and for those who fight for it. And, let’s never forget all those who died defending it.