Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Lesson From Our Search For the Perfect Man

joe-paternoThe world just lost a beloved leader in Penn State Football Coach, Joe Paterno. Joe Pa was a man, deserving the label of “Legend” in his 62-year coaching career at Penn State University - winning more games than any Division 1 college coach and winning the hearts of players and fans around the U.S. Students that played for him were encouraged to excel in academics, integrity, as well as athletics. Alas, there will also be a negative footnote in his legacy in a scandal that will rock college sports forever. 

There is a lesson in what has been a tough year in our fixation on the search for the perfect (wo)man.
clip_image002[1]The reports are out. Public figures in business, politics, education, and the arts are becoming more noted for their failings than their accomplishments. Steve Jobs was a great business innovator – defining the future with a fanatical focus on changing the way consumers interact with personal technology. Reports indicate Jobs was far from the business idol we envisioned as we learned of his clip_image004ego and people development skills. President Obama’s armor has become pretty tarnished, as his significant accomplishments have become clouded in a tough recession he just cannot seem to fix. The list seems to grow. 

After all our searching, is it possible there is no perfect man or woman? Great achievers are just like the rest of us. And for the sake of achievement itself, that is a good thing to know. It sharpens the reality of what true achievement is all about. It is single-minded focus on change and improvement. It is not always accompanied by success and fame, which are fleeting and, often, tarnished at the end. 

Achievement is bigger thing than perfection. Every person has capabilities and strengths that, when used for good, can change the world. Each of us also has flaws, the little things that we either are just embarrassingly bad at doing, or worse yet, expose our materialism and overblown sense of importance. For public figures, these little exposures can create a public mess. 

The glaringly obvious lesson – While none of us are perfect – all of us can do great things.  

Building a brand, career, business, or talent requires focus, hard work, luck, and the ability to do at least one thing in an amazingly unique and accomplished way. 

clip_image002[3]Those activities that we love and dream about tend to be the activities in which we are gifted. We enjoy them, excel at them and find others “remarking” about them to others. When we invest our time, we achieve. In a sense, we become “remarkable”. The more we focus, breaking through barriers and failures, the stronger our results become. It is vital that we choose wisely where to spend our energy. 

Fixing our weaknesses is a noble pursuit, but if we spend our life on this pursuit, we end up overlooking the contributions we can make. Focusing on fixing our weaknesses leaves you jumping from weakness to weakness. It’s like fixing holes in the pavement – the work is never complete, and the result is merely no bumps in the road. 

With all their faults and failings, heed the lesson of our great achievers. Focus your time strengthening the gangly wings of talent, spirit and determination we, each, possess. The result is your ability to soar to new remarkable heights.

“Act like you expect to get into the end zone.” - Joe Paterno



Carolyn K. said...

Bob, great post.

You might consider adding "like" buttons to these posts so we can easily like and share them with our friends on Facebook and Linked In. I'd love an easy way to share your words!


Bob Clark said...

Thanks Carolyn - I added buttons on the left and below each post.