O Captain. My Captain!
Do you remember this famous Walt Whitman Poem? It was written in 1865 as a mourning poem after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The poem uses a metaphor comparing America to a ship returning from sea. President Lincoln is referred to as the "Captain" of the ship and the Civil War as the battle against the raging sea. Lincoln is then accredited by Whitman as the leader that successfully conquered his mission of ending slavery in the south!
Just the other day, I was sitting at the Portland Thorns game (local women's pro soccer team) and it got me thinking a lot about the word “captain” I was reminded of this iconic poem. Growing up, I never understood the importance of the captain's role. To me, it always seemed like we took turns being captain so that everyone got a chance. As an adult, I now realize how wrong that was! Being a captain isn't about fairness or equality. It isn't about being the biggest, fastest or strongest person on the team. Being the captain is about being a leader for the team. A trusted advisor that others on the team can turn to for direction and guidance. Being a captain is about pulling like minded people together to work towards the accomplishment of a common goal. In Lincoln's case, it was the abolition of slavery.
Lincoln like any good leaders had a clear vision for his leadership. Though many lives were lost each person in his army knew they had a purpose and what they were fighting for. As Simon Sinek would say, "he started with WHY". He believed in FREEDOM for all people and that is exactly what he and his army fought so vigorously for! They fought and fought and with Lincoln's tireless leadership they succeeded. Lincoln, like many iconic leaders in American history fought for what he believed in. Unfortunately, Lincoln lost his life for it but forever changed history by opening the doors of freedom for all of us.
My question for you this week is to continue thinking and formulating your life "WHY". What is it that you, like Lincoln are willing to fight for and at what cost? Even if you are not naturally a trail blazer like him, you can get on board as a team player and be part of the change.