Happy 239th Birthday America. Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.
As I sit here writing this, those who are American like me, are about to celebrate Independence Day also known as the 4th of July with fireworks and BBQ’s and so much more. The original 4th of July of 1776 seems like it was so long ago and yet it was just 239 years ago. A mere minute in the total amount of time that man has been on Earth and even a mere speck in that of the total that our planet has been around. Values go hand in hand with Transformation. How the consistency and evolution of these values are paramount to the continuation and fulfillment of Transformation. And thus came about The Declaration of Independence, one of the most important documents to ever be written and loaded with a multitude of values. In fact, it was because of these values that many were inspired and compelled to face the hardships of what lay ahead on the road to what was hoped to be a better way of life. Let me also mention as an aside, that the Laws are of equal importance but whether you choose to agree with them or not, the Laws are the Laws. Thus, when cited in the document, the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God are indeed valuable. But it is the changing or adopting of specific Values that lead us down that Road less traveled by.
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.” and that the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should never be violated. A Document so profound in all of history that ended with “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor”… and so my story of Leadership and Valor continues below…
This story is posted today, as we prepare to celebrate…in our Now! My story takes place on September 23rd 1779, 236 years ago.
We have all had situations where things were not going well. I am sure that you can relate to a job situation where because of leadership or the lack thereof your boss has caused you to lose your sense of morale, support and desire to be there. I am sure that you have seen or been amongst individuals at the job who just don’t care anymore because…well quite frankly…what’s the point? What’s the use? Why bother? One of the first things that you and your peers begin to do is to talk down the situation and feed on the negativity of the situation to the point where all you live for is that negativity. In fact, rather than work to defend your organization or situation and seek to improve it, the reverse is true. It may even get to the point that you seek to be elsewhere or find a new job. Have you ever looked at the reason why you may be seeking job after job after job? Is your boat leaking or taking on water so badly that all that is left for you to do is abandon ship or face going down with her?
In September of 1779, a young Naval Captain was in command of a ship borrowed from the French and refitted to be a warship to help out the fledging infant Continental Navy (not yet the United States) during this American Revolution. The ship was renamed the Bonhomme Richard (literally translated Poor Richard after the almanac by Ben Franklin). Her state of affairs was so deplorable that her crew took no pride in her and would really have wanted to be somewhere else. She leaked and creaked, her crew at times wondering how she stayed afloat. She had only half the fire power of the British ships she might encounter. Her speed left a lot to be desired. BUT…she was home to the crew.
On that fateful day of 23 September Jones encountered the British warship “Serapis”. The Serapis was far faster and outgunned the Bonhomme Richard but into the battle, into the fray she went. For over 4 hours the battle ensued at the cost of nearly half of Jones’ crew. The Richard was badly damaged, on fire and taking on water. Realizing the situation Captain Jones ordered the crew to move along side the British Serapis and grapple the 2 ships together. If he was going to sink, by God, he would take the British ship with him. Hand to hand fighting took place. At one point the American Flag had fallen due to a broken mast causing the British captain to call out asking if the Americans had surrendered. Jones seizing the moment was heard to yell…Surrender? Surrender? Sir! “I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT”! The American crew rallied, rehoisted the flag and went on to win the day even though the Bonhomme Richard would eventually sink mortally wounded. I can guarantee you that not a man still living on that crew thought about the misgivings of their ship prior to the battle and that not a man was not remorseful to see THEIR ship, THEIR home sink.
I ask you in closing, no matter what country you are living in… Are you prepared to show Leadership and work for and take pride in what you are busy complaining about at work or home? Are you prepared to defend your ship or just willing to man the boats and go elsewhere? We are seeing so much today that is troubling and you wonder whether tomorrow will be any better in a country that is still the Greatest in the World no matter its shortfalls. Remember that Transformation begins in each one of us. As with Jones’ rallying cry of “I have not yet begun to fight” I challenge you to rally around Your new Motto, Your new Battle Cry….”I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO LEAD”!
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