MOVING BEYOND CRITICISM AS A LEADER
People HATED him.
That’s not an understatement.
He was a threat to their way of life.
The hate mail came in by the bag loads.
It wasn’t the mail that worried his friends, but the threats.
He was on a train to D.C. to take the oath of office to be President of the United States and the threats just kept coming.
The train was taking Abraham Lincoln from Springfield, Illinois to Washington D.C., but along the way they would stop at various towns for the President-Elect to give a speech and wave to the crowd.
Behind the scenes, the pressure was mounting.
Several states were already threatening to secede from the Union.
There was even talk that when the electors came together to formally confirm the general election, that possibly confederate sympathizers could turn a few and deny Lincoln the presidency.
However, there was an easier plan to stop Lincoln…they could kill him.
The train had stopped just outside of Cincinnati.
After giving his speech and thanking supporters, he returned to his car.
At this point I’ll just quote the new book, “Lincoln on the Verge”: “Just before the train left, an unattended carpetbag was found in Lincoln’s car. When it was opened, a ‘grenade of the most destructive character’ was discovered inside, live, and so arranged that within fifteen minutes it would have exploded, with a force sufficient to have demolished the car and destroyed the lives of all the persons in it.” (pg.173, Widmer)
What happened next?
“…the suspicious bag was removed from the car, and Lincoln kept going, unharmed.” (pg. 174, Widmer)
There was a bomb on Lincoln’s train…and after it was removed, he just kept going?
It didn’t stop his progress toward the ultimate goal of arriving in D.C. and taking the oath.
In total candor, I would have needed a change of pants and possibly something to drink from the vineyard.
But Lincoln just kept traveling.
A bomb threat didn’t stop the President-Elect, so why do I allow critics to give me pause?
Why do we get frustrated and want to quit when we don’t have the instant answer to a problem?
Difficult people and contrary opinions tempt us to bury our heads and despair.
If the episode teaches us anything, it’s this.
Progress doesn’t stop no matter how severe the hurdle.
Lincoln kept going to Washington even after a bomb was found on his train.
What’s stopping you? I bet your hurdle is less than a bomb.
Be the example that nothing can stop you.
Your goals and dreams are just beyond the hurdles you must navigate, but you must be willing to navigate them.
Hope will triumph.
Easy never changed the world.
– Brian Sanders
Brian Sanders is an author/speaker and Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio. To contact him or for more information about his book, Leadership Endurance, visit www.briansandersauthor.com .