The Fortitude to Rise

FOR’TITUDEnoun [Latin fortitudo, from fortis, strong.]

That strength or firmness of mind or soul which enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage, or to bear pain or adversity without murmuring, depression or despondency. fortitude is the basis or source of genuine courage or intrepidity in danger, of patience in suffering, of forbearance under injuries, and of magnanimity in all conditions of life. We sometimes confound the effect with the cause, and use fortitude as synonymous with courage or patience; but courage is an active virtue or vice, and patience is the effect of fortitude

Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.

I recently finished a book with that title.  FORTITUDE ~ by Dan Crenshaw.  It’s in my top FIVE books ever. “Life is a struggle; it is a demanding test, not only for us as individuals, but also for us as a nation.  FORTITUDE is a clear and pragmatic guide for any person who wants to confront the challenges of life with courage, tenacity, and fortitude.  By living the principles set forth in this book, any person can make their world – and thereby our world – a better place.  ~ Jocko Willink

It’s a word we don’t use much but it is one that needs to become part of our vocabulary if we intend to RISE.  It’s a MINDSET that is determined to prevail regardless of the obstacles in front of us.  It’s an ATTITUDE that goes against the mainstream and holds true to values, virtues, morals, convictions and tradition.  It’s the necessary ingredient found in your character and commitment when you face the chaos.  Sound familiar?

If you recall, over the past FIVE months we have focused our attention on the following:

R ~ Be Resilient (April 2020). Relationships matter.  Remain focused.  Record your path. (May 2020)

I ~ Choose Improvement (April 2020). Innovation. Integrity.  Intensity.  Impact. (June 2020)

S ~ Think Success (April 2020). Statement of Strength. (July 2020).

E ~ Gain Experience (April 2020). Elevate. Expectations. Education. Encouragement. (August 2020).

So that’s what this month’s message is about.  It’s a recap.  It is driving home the message to keep us laser focused on the things that will determine our success.  It’s putting on the blinders that block out fear.  It is putting on earmuffs to drown out the voices that seek to divide.  It’s drilling in the concepts that develop FORTITUDE.

Three Quotes:

“All of us get knocked down, but it’s the resiliency that really matters…the thing that distinguishes athletes is the ability to do well in times of great stress, urgency and pressure.” — Roger Staubach

“Over the years I have found myself far more impressed with character than charisma, with persistence than power, and with faithfulness than fame.  I have found that maybe the greatest ability of all is dependability.” ~ General April Vogel, H5H Awards, March 2020

“Always take the HIGH ROAD and the HIGH FIVE” ~ Pancakeism

Five Statements:

  1. For those of us that are the decision makers:  LISTEN.  Listen to the concerns of our subordinates when they describe the barriers that get in the way of efficiency.  LEAN IN.  Lean in and learn how the concerns of our people impact the guest experience.  LEAD.  Lead with a desire to improve our operations, streamline our processes, enhance the guest experience, refine the performance of our team by training someone something new every day, boost the morale of those around you and exceed expectations when it comes to profitability.
  2. Statements of Strength.  We will focus on Strength not weakness.  Projecting POSITIVITY not negativity. Being OPTIMISTIC not pessimistic.  Talking RECOVERY not resurgence. Moving FORWARD not backward.
  3. Enlighten others.  Encourage others.  Empower others.  Elevate others.
  4. Set high Expectations & live by Example.  Educate & Encourage others.  Embrace diversity.  Share your Experiences.
  5. Character. Persistence. Faithfulness. Dependability. Fortitude

Bonus:  Wash your hands.  Wear a mask.  Social distance.

There are thousands of examples throughout history of people that have shown the fortitude necessary to prevail in times of crisis.  Fortitude remains the common thread in the American story.  Our United States history is filled with men and women that have been willing to stand, been willing to sacrifice and been willing to speak up.  I’m reading a book now called “Grant” by Ron Chernow.  However, in my opinion, no one has shown fortitude more than a man named Jesus.

“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne.” ~ Hebrews 12:2 (The Bible)

So, what will they say about me?  What will they say about you?  What will history record in the minds of our team members and guests on how we handled “such a time as this”?  How did we protect our organization, position our organization and prepare our organization for today and for the future?  How has the past 176 days made us better?

We’ll finish with this.  The final paragraph in the final chapter of Crenshaw’s book:

“I will not quit in the face of danger or pain or self-doubt; I will not justify the easier path before me.  I decide that all my actions, not just some, matter.  Every small task is a contribution toward a higher purpose.  Every day is undertaken with a sense of duty to be better than I was yesterday, even in the smallest ways.  I seek out hardship.  I do not run from pain but embrace it, because I derive strength from my suffering.  I confront the inevitable trials of life with a smile.  I plan to keep my head, be still, when chaos overwhelms me.  I will tell the story of my failures and hardships as a victor, not a victim.  I will be graceful.  Millions who have gone before me have suffered too much, fought too hard, and been blessed with far too little, for me to squander this life.  So I won’t.  My purpose will be to uphold and protect the spirit of our great republic [and H5H], knowing that the values we hold dear can be preserved only by strong people.  I will do my part.  I will live with Fortitude.”