Learning From the Legacy of Johnny Cash

3 Lessons from the Man in Black

You don’t have to be from Nashville to appreciate country music or its rich history—and you certainly don’t have to be from there to understand the impact of the Man in Black on music and American culture.

Of the many things that I learned in studying the life of Johnny Cash, I want to share three that had an impact on me well beyond his music:

 

1. Pursue your dream.

When he was about four years old, he heard a song on a Victrola. Immediately, he knew that singing on the radio was his goal. Nothing could stop his determination to make that dream a reality.

Lesson: Make sure your dream is big enough to inspire you through difficulties.

 

“Success is having to worry about every damn thing in the world, except money.” –Johnny Cash

 

2. Be uniquely you.

He was the master of style. Almost always appearing in black, he communicated a style and a message with consistency and power. Everything about him from his voice, his music, his personality and his dress communicated a unique brand.

Lesson: Imitating others may help you get started, but real power comes from cultivating your own unique giftedness.

 

“My arms are too short to box with God.” –Johnny Cash

 

3. Allow your values to guide your path.

Who in Your Life Deserves a Gold Medal?

Gold medal

Winning Gold

The Olympic rings must be magnetic, pulling me in every few years. Whatever the event, I’m fascinated by the competition and by the stories of the athletes. They are irresistible. The fact that the world comes together, for just a few weeks, is incredibly inspiring.

 

“Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” – Dan Gable

 

If you’re a student of success, the Olympics offers an unprecedented opportunity to understand drive, determination, and discipline. Every individual has a unique story of overcoming obstacles. You don’t make it to the field without years of practice. You also don’t make it without a team of supporters.

I especially love watching the podium during the award ceremonies. As the medals are placed around the winners’ necks, and especially when the anthems are played, you glimpse the sheer joy of victory. It’s common to see tears, the emotion raw at that moment. And then, if the camera catches it right, you also see some of the others who are also part of the success. Friends, family, and coaches are beaming with pride.

 

“By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property.” -Voltaire

 

Champions Behind the Scenes

As the games in Rio draw to a conclusion, I think about all of the people who help us succeed every day but never get a medal. These people are instrumental in shaping us. Maybe it’s a mom or a dad, a teacher, or a friend who is always there. You may have had a mentor or a special boss who inspired you to do more than you thought you could. If you’re as fortunate as me, it may be your spouse who deserves the Gold.

 

“The joy of leadership is helping others succeed.” –Roger Stilson

 

Why not take the time to recognize some special people? Who deserves a Gold Medal in your life? Go ahead and share this post with them. Tell their story in the comments (it’s really not that hard to leave one! You can sign up for Disqus, sign in with your social media account, or sign in as a guest) or in your social media stream.

 

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“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” –John F. Kennedy

 

“A brave man acknowledges the strength of others.” –Veronica Roth

100+ Quotes from Olympians for the Competitor in You

Olympic Quotes

Quotes from Olympians

There are so many lessons to be learned from the Olympics: the dedication to goals, the perseverance, the hard work and determination, the grit, the fight to overcome pain and challenge to finish.

Every Olympian has a unique story worth sharing. Here are 101 quotes from Olympians to inspire you today.

You may not be competing in the next round of the games, but each of these quotes offers a motivational opportunity to fuel your own goals.

 

“The hard days are the best because that’s where champions are made.” –Gabby Douglas

 

“When you see someone win gold, you want to get out there and do the same thing.” –Andy Murray

 

“Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” –Gail Devers

 

“Part of being a champ is acting like a champ. You have to learn how to win and not run away when you lose.” –Nancy Kerrigan

 

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” –Michael Jordan

 

“Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun. You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.” –Mary Lou Retton

 

“Being an Olympian, I always have this strong belief in excellence.” –Debi Thomas

 

 “If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.”–Carl Lewis

 

“I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.” –Serena Williams

 

“I don’t run from a challenge because I am afraid.  Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.” –Nadia Comaneci

 

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit.  We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” –Wilma Rudolph

 

“True heroes are made of hard work and integrity.” –Hope Solo

 

“For me, it seems to help me take the pressure off if I don’t pay attention to what other people are telling me.” –Missy Franklin

 

“Rather than focusing on the obstacle in your path, focus on the bridge over the obstacle.” –Mary Lou Retton

 

“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.” –Muhammad Ali

 

“Failure I can live with. Not trying is what I can’t handle.” –Sanya Richards-Ross

 

“The experience of being an Olympian is one that can never be taken away from you.” –Hannah Kearney

 

“As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we’ve been given.” –Mary Lou Retton

 

“Practice creates confidence.  Confidence empowers you.” –Simone Biles

 

“I work hard, and I do good, and I’m going to enjoy myself.  I’m not going to let you restrict me.” –Usain Bolt

 

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” –Michael Jordan

 

“The world never puts a price on you higher than the one you put on yourself.” –Sonja Henie

 

“Everything that I’ve ever been able to accomplish in skating and in life has come out of adversity and perseverance.” –Scott Hamilton

What Do You See in the Clouds?

Clouds: SkipPrichard.com

Leadership Perceptions

 

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” –Edgar Degas

 

An artist I know loves to show me a blank canvas and describe, in detail, the painting. To her, it’s so clear. Where I see only a blank canvas, she sees an entire landscape full of vibrant colors.

An entrepreneur I know once took his family on a tour of a remote piece of property. He shared his vision for where buildings would go and all the customers who would be mingling in various parts of the land. The family couldn’t imagine it, but he saw it all vividly. And, today, it looks exactly like that. It’s a thriving business.

An author friend of mine creates characters in her mind. Month after month, she dreams about them, talks with them, listens to them. They become so real to her that, when she finally starts writing, it’s as if she is merely recording what happens instead of inventing it.

 

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” –Vincent van Gogh

 

That’s the power of imagination. It’s the power of creativity.

  • Seeing something magical where others see mundane.
  • Seeing something beautiful where others see garbage.
  • Seeing potential in someone they don’t see in themselves.
  • Leaders inspire us by seeing a positive vision for organizations.
  • Successful people see opportunities when others see problems.

If there’s one skill you want to cultivate, it’s seeing the positive, the beautiful, the magical in others, in yourself, in challenging times, in dark places.

Because that change of perspective can make the difference in your outlook.

 

“To change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions.” –Stephen R. Covey

 

On a recent vacation, my wife was relaxing on a deck with a view of a mountain. As she often does, she was bringing people into her mind and praying for them one by one. Mesmerized by the beautiful scene in front of her, she decided to take a quick picture with her phone.

When we returned home, she was looking at her pictures and shared this one with a few close friends. Immediately, the responses started coming back. There’s something in the clouds!

 

“The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.” –Chuck Palahniuk

How to Successfully Transition Into A New Role

Executive Transition

Starting a new job is one of life’s big stressors. You want to make a good impression, hit the ground running, and have an immediate impact. Today employers have little room for someone who doesn’t. Honeymoon periods seem to last all of thirty seconds.

 

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” –Winston Churchill

 

No matter how savvy you are or how many jobs you’ve had, you should think carefully about your onboarding process into a new company. Learning the culture, understanding what success looks like and building key relationships are unique to each organization.

Studies show that a great onboarding process can increase productivity and dramatically improve executive retention.

 

Onboarding can cut time to productivity by a third.

 

The infographic below summarizes some of the most important transition research in an easy-to-read format. I was happy to contribute to it.

theleadershipcrucible-executive-onboarding-infographic_final 2

 

“Without a struggle, there can be no progress.” –Frederick Douglass

 

40 percent of new leaders fail within 18 months.