The Wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt

 Today, we look at some of the amazing quotes and wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt.  She was, according to Wikipedia, an American politician, diplomat, and activist.  She was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the post from March 1933 to April 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s four terms in office.  President Harry S. Truman later called her the “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements.

Eleanor Roosevelt was also a lady of great wisdom.  She was known as an individual that was not afraid to speak her mind.  She endured significant hardship in her life, but left a lasting legacy.  Let’s look as some of the things she had to say that might apply to us:

  1. You must do the things you think you cannot do. – To grow, we must challenge ourselves.  Some of the greatest accomplishments in history occurred because an individual did what they thought might be impossible.  If you think you are too little, too unskilled, too inexperience, or too powerless to make a difference, you probably are.
  2. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” – Experience is valuable.  Once you have experienced something, you generally have less anxiety the next time (unless, of course, you are talking about a visit to the dentist).  View these experiences, good and bad, as a way to polish our rough edges and as equity we can use in the future.
  3. We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.” – Mrs. Roosevelt here is saying that we should not fear being vulnerable and of showing others that you care.  In the business world, we often feel that we must remain dispassionate, professional, and rigid.  Whether others care or not, it is important they know that we care.  In short, don’t be afraid to demonstrate emotions, especially that you care what happens with and to your teammates.
  4. One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility. – Personal accountability is needed.  We demonstrate who we are, not by our words, but by our actions.
  5. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – There are those that live their life elevating their own status by demeaning others.  Don’t get caught in that trap!  Those individuals typically have low self-esteem and struggle excelling on their own merits.
  6. It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” – Do something!  Don’t be a victim!  When things are not going well, it is important that we take action, rather than wait for something to happen to us.
  7. It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” – As leaders, we need to remember this.  A true leader serves others.  Unless you show your willingness to be an active participant in solutions to problems, you cannot expect your followers to care enough to do their best.
  8. Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.” – I think what Mrs. Roosevelt is saying here is we should not necessarily take the first “no” that we hear, if it is not the ultimate decision-maker.  Persistence may be the difference-maker.
  9. In all our contacts it is probably the sense of being really needed and wanted which gives us the greatest satisfaction and creates the most lasting bond.” – It has been said that most people thrive in their jobs when they feel appreciated and needed.  It costs nothing, but means much.  This cannot be overdone.
  10. When life is too easy for us, we must beware or we may not be ready to meet the blows which sooner or later come to everyone, rich or poor.” – We are blessed to live the lives we have.  Let’s never forget that.  Be ready for what comes next and be alert for those that need us to walk with them through difficult times.

There is much we can learn from the ten brief comments above.  Have a fabulous day!  Remember, this could be your very best day yet!

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