Theodore Roosevelt made stuff happen.
He didn’t have the patience to sit around and see what might come from Congress. On May 6, 1903, he declared the Grand Canyon unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. Then in 1908, without even a hint of authority, he spoke our national parks system into existence using the power granted a President under the Antiquities Act. Interestingly enough, the park didn’t become official until 1919, when Woodrow Wilson finally signed the bill officially establishing Grand Canyon National Park.
I think Teddy would well understand the small business owner in America today.
In 1906, Roosevelt made his now famous Muckraker speech. Muckrakers were people who worked to reveal corruption in business and in government. The first stories about the “muckrakers” appeared In McClure’s Magazine in January, 1901.
As I read these words today, I feel like he is talking directly to the many family business owners I have the pleasure of working with:
“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”
Times are rough. All of the credit belongs with those of us in the arena. Speak your future into existence. Let’s agree to not be timid.
The greatest way to make no errors is to do nothing at all – but then that is the greatest error of all. When everything goes according to plan, you know only what you already know. It is when the plan goes off track that you learn about the weaknesses in the plan – and the “fixes” for those weaknesses. And as independent owners and managers, I think most of us have loyal customers and fans who became so because of how we responded to and handled a problem. Teddy probably would agree with the directive “Ready, fire, aim!” If we wait until we have everything lined up, we may miss our window of opportunity. We are better off to take action and then take corrective action as we go along.
Thanks for the historic backup and the encouragement to do what our businesses require us to do!