3 Lessons from the Star Spangled Banner

Francis Scott Key 1948

The History Behind the Star Spangled Banner

 

The year was 1814. The United States and the United Kingdom were at war.

In mid-September, the British began to attack the city of Baltimore. Guarding the city, Fort McHenry came under heavy fire from warships in the harbor. Only a week prior, Francis Scott Key had learned of the impending attack while on a British ship. Because of his knowledge, the British blocked him from leaving his ship.

That’s why Francis was on his ship that night, watching the sky light up. Shells weighing up to 200 pounds fell on the fort at an alarming rate nearly every minute. The attack was so extensive and continual that the outcome of a British victory seemed certain.

But early on the morning of September 14th, Key saw the American flag signaling the American win. That flag was 42 feet across and flew proudly over the Fort.

You know what happened.

He penned the words that would become the national anthem of the United States of America, The Star Spangled Banner, though the initial title was the Defence of Fort McHenry. The song had four verses, but we only sing one.

 

The Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

 

3 Lessons for Leaders from the Star Spangled Banner

When I reflect on these events, I think of three lessons:

Preparation is the key to winning. Major General Samuel Smith showed a fierce determination to defend Baltimore. His extensive preparations were vitally important to assure the American victory.

 

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

33 Innovation Quotes to Inspire Your Next Idea

Businessman with illuminated light bulb concept for idea, innovation and inspiration

The Power of Innovation

There’s no telling where your next idea will come from. One of the many reasons I love to share quotes is that they often inspire us or cause us to think differently. Here are some quotes about innovation for the next time you need a spark.

 

“Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.” –Tom Freston

 

“What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.” – Simon Sinek

 

“Innovation is created as a result of constructive conflict.” -Jeff DeGraff

 

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” –Steve Jobs

 

“Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it’s there.” –Barbara Corcoran

 

“There’s a way to do it better—find it.” –Thomas Edison

 

“Innovation comes from saying NO to 1,000 things.” –Steve Jobs

 

“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.” –Jonathan Swift

 

“Innovation only survives when people believe in their own ideas.” –Levo League

 

“Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.” –Michael Porter

 

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” –Nelson Mandela

 

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” –Maya Angelou

 

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” –Henry David Thoreau

 

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

 

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” –Albert Einstein

 

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” –Socrates

 

“Exploration is the engine that drives innovation. Innovation drives economic growth. So let’s all go exploring.” –Edith Widder

 

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” –Chinese Proverb

 

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all what the world needs most are dreamers that do.” –Sarah Ban Breathnach

33 Inspirational Quotes

Ocean bay sunrise with distant black cliffs

The Right Words

Below are 33 opportunities for you to be inspired, change direction, or reflect on words of wisdom.  One of the reasons I love quotes is that the right words, at the right time, can provide the right inspiration for something new.

 

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Christopher Columbus

 

“There are no mistakes, just happy accidents.” –Bob Ross

 

“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” –Unknown

 

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

 

“Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.” –Tyrion Lannister

 

“There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask ‘What if I fall?’

Oh but my darling,

What if you fly?” –Erin Hanson

 

“I feel as though someone’s handed me the moon and I don’t exactly know what to do with it.” –L.M. Montgomery

 

“Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” –Mark Twain

 

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

“Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.” –Unknown

 

“Do something instead of killing time. Because time is killing you.” –Paulo Coelho

 

“We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough.” – Helen Keller

 

“Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.” –The Fray

 

“She took the leap and built her wings on the way down.” –Kobi Yamada

 

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” –Lemony Snicket

 

“Sometimes the strongest people are the ones who love beyond all faults, cry behind closed doors, and fight battles that nobody knows about.” –Unknown

200+ Motivational Quotes to Turbo Charge Your Thinking

Superhero business man flying with jet pack rocket above the cit

The Power of Words

Words have remarkable power.  Choosing to fill your life with positive, inspirational words is like fueling the engine of your mind.  I believe that our circumstances can change based on what words we read, hear, and speak.  That’s why in every blog post I try to pull out quotes that will spur new thoughts and actions.

Share a few of your favorites or stop by anytime to add one to your social media streams.  You never know when a few words will be just the fuel someone needs.

“Success is something you attract by the person you become.” –Jim Rohn

“Tread softly; breathe peacefully; laugh hysterically.” –Nelson Mandela

“Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” -Helen Keller

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” –Dr. Seuss

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” –Jim Rohn

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” -Arthur Ashe

“Argue for your limitations and they’re yours.” -Richard Bach

“To know how to wait is the great secret of success.” –De Maistre

“It is our attitude toward life that determines life’s attitude toward us. We get back what we put out.” –Earl Nightingale.

“If you run around with 9 losers pretty soon you’ll be the 10th loser.” -Les Brown

“The more you talk about negative things in your life, the more you call them in. Speak victory not defeat.” –Joel Osteen

“Hope is the beacon which points to prosperity.” –Edward Counsel

“You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind.” -Zig Ziglar

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” -John Wooden

“Vision without execution is just hallucination.” -Henry Ford

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” -Walt Disney

“Patience and fortitude conquer all things.” -Emerson

“Strive not to be of success, but rather to be of value. -Einstein

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” –Jim Rohn

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” -Bruce Lee

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” -Michael Jordan

“The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.” -Lee Iacocca

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” -Henry Ford

“Teamwork makes the dream work.” -Bang Gae

“If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality.” – Jim Rohn

“Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true.” –Brian Tracy

“Don’t count the days. Make the days count.” -Muhammad Ali

“To endure is greater than to dare.” -Thackeray

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

“The strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team.” -Phil Jackson

“Only you have the power to determine whether your future mimics your past.” -Skip Prichard

“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom” –Jim Rohn

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” –Zig Ziglar

“A successful team is a group of many hands and one mind.” -Bill Bethel

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” –Nelson Mandela

“Good teams incorporate teamwork into their culture creating the building blocks for success.” -Ted Sundquist

“Circumstances will never determine your amount of happiness. Circumstances only highlight who you already are.” –Dan Miller

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” -Ken Blanchard

“No individual can win a game by himself.” -Pele

“You are not a true success unless you are helping others be successful.” –Jon Gordon

“The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.” -Henry Ford

“Negative thoughts are the nails that build a prison of failure.” –Jon Gordon

“Simplicity, of all things, is the hardest to be copied.” -Steele

“Confidence is a habit that can be developed by acting as if you already had the confidence you desire to have.” -Brian Tracy

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” -David Brinkley

“Humility is the light of understanding.” -Bunyan

“Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.”– Laird Hamilton

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” -Zig Ziglar

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” –Jim Rohn

“If you’re going through hell keep going.” -Winston Churchill

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” -Epicurus

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” -Oscar Wilde

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” -John D. Rockefeller

“Peace rules the day where reason rules the mind.” –Wilkie Collins

“If I fail, it will be for lack of ability, and not of purpose.” -Lincoln

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution.” -Brian Tracy

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” -Albert Einstein

“If you go out and make some things happen, you will fill the world with hope.” –Barack Obama

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Sir Edmund Hillary

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” -Zig Ziglar

“Anyone who attempts to build great things will face challenges.” –Jon Gordon

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” -Thomas Jefferson

“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” -Napoleon Hill

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” –Tony Robbins

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” – Picasso

“Passion is more developed than discovered.” –Dan Miller

“Whatever you believe with feeling becomes your reality.” –Brian Tracy

11 Leadership Qualities of Nelson Mandela

Prison Yard Robben Island (C) Skip Prichard

Copyright Skip Prichard

Visiting Robben Island

I didn’t quite know what to expect.

 

I wasn’t sure what I would feel, what I would see, or what I would learn.

Earlier this year, I was visiting Cape Town, South Africa and had the opportunity to visit Robben Island.  Robben Island has been a prison for over 400 years.

 

“One of the most difficult things is not to change society but to change yourself.” -Nelson Mandela

 

Today it is most famous as the place where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27 years in prison.  As a student of great leaders and an admirer of Nelson Mandela’s leadership, I knew that this visit was a must.

 

A Moving Experience

 

After a brief ferry ride, we boarded a bus to tour Robben Island.

photo-38One of the stops was at the limestone quarry where prisoners toiled in the hot sun.  The work damaged Nelson Mandela’s lungs and also his eyes.  His tear ducts were damaged, preventing him from ever crying again.

Visible in the background is a cave.  This cave was used as a bathroom and the guards almost never approached it.  Our tour guide explained that the cave became a great place of learning and exchanging information.  Some say it held the most important political meetings of the time.

We later drove to the prison where we met our prison tour guide, Ntando Mbatha.  Ntando was a prisoner for seven years at Robben Island.  His story was moving.  Hearing him explain the conditions of the prison first hand will be forever etched in my mind.

I followed him to the cell of Nelson Mandela.  It was small, roughly 7×9.  A thin mat lay in the corner.  It was stark.  There was an unmistakable feeling I cannot quite explain throughout the entire cellblock.

That day, I learned more about the many heroes who fought against apartheid.  Some beaten.  Some killed.

Seeing this all in person increased my admiration for Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela Cell

 

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” –Nelson Mandela

 

Qualities of an Extraordinary Leader

 

Nelson Mandela demonstrated remarkable leadership qualities: