Sitting among the capacity crowd last night at Northampton Community College’s Spartan Center listening to historian Dr. Doris Kearns Goodwin weave tales of her experiences, research and family life, I felt fortunate to be in what felt like a master class on Lincoln, the importance of making the most of our opportunities and how to lead with character. Drawing from the life of Lincoln, Goodwin emphasized the traits that made Lincoln great and that can help us lead our lives effectively.
1. The ability to motivate oneself in the face of adversity
2. To learn from failure
3. Share credit
5. Be aware of one’s weaknesses
6. Control emotions, especially anger
7. Find ways to relax and to regain a sense of humor
8. Spend time with the people you lead, especially those in need
9. Remain true to your goals
10. Communicate your ideas with eloquence
Lincoln’s second inaugural address, Goodwin noted is perhaps the finest example of Lincoln’s eloquence when he urged: “Malice toward none and charity for all.”
Dr. Doris Kearns Goodwin drew from her roles as a daughter, mother and historian and emphasized that history is both vocation and avocation, a joy to embrace and learn for when we know our past we can better shape our future. And whether we are leading an organization, our family or just our own life, Goodwin distilled the lessons of leadership from Lincoln in the most accessible, entertaining way. Dr. Doris Kearns Goodwin is a master teacher, an entertaining speaker and a true American treasure!