A Tribute to Veterans
Our values shape our lives. Values are influenced by our culture, our family, our beliefs and experiences. They help guide the principles that form the essence of who we are and how we operate.
When we live and work in concert with our values, we operate at our best. When we find ourselves in situations that put us in conflict with our values, we struggle, as we are no longer in harmony with our own identity.
As an executive coach, I ask my clients early in the coaching relationship to think through and identify their top values as part of a discovery phase. Each client has unique core values—everyone comes from different experiences, backgrounds and places.
This Veterans Day, as we honor those who served, I reflect on how my values were shaped by my dad and others in my family who have demonstrated selfless service and other core values of America’s armed forces.
My dad was part of the Greatest Generation. Like so many others, he really didn’t talk about what he went through in World War II. He served in the Army in the Pacific Theater and fought with the Red Arrow Division in New Guinea. He demonstrated the Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless service, Honor, Integrity and Personal courage throughout his life, and served as a role model to my siblings and me. He never even told us why he was selected to have lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt (photo above) when she came to Australia to visit troops in the summer of 1943. We believe it was because of his respect of others, his good manners and the values he lived every day.
Dad demonstrated loyalty and honor to his wife and family for 56 years of marriage, until he passed away in 1998. He had the personal courage to start his own business in the 1950’s and the duty to remain on after he sold his business and serve as a general superintendent.
On his way to work one morning in the 1960’s, dad spotted a blind man with his dog waiting at a bus stop. He asked the man where he was going and offered him a ride. For many years thereafter he gave this man and his dog a ride to work in downtown Flint, Michigan, until the man retired, even though it was out of his way. Selfless service. Duty. Loyalty.
During the war years our mother, Bette, went to work as a “Rosie the Riveter” at a factory in Flint that was converted to war time production. Like so many others in this era, she lived through the Great Depression and supported herself, her husband and the country through work. When rationing took place to help the war effort, she did so without question. Selfless service. Duty. Loyalty. Personal Courage.
One of my brothers served for many years and eventually retired from the Navy. The Navy’s values are Honor, Courage and Commitment. Our parents retired to Florida after leaving Michigan in the mid-1970’s. They ended up moving near my brother outside of Tampa, Florida, as his last billet in the Navy was as a recruiter in that area. Prior to this assignment, he served on ships in many parts of the world as a Chief Petty Officer and electronics specialist in charge of radar, weapon systems and fire control. Courage. Commitment.
This same brother and his wife always welcomed family and extended family members into their home when we came to Florida to visit our parents and his family. He is the one who watched over our parents as they aged and was always there for them as they needed more medical care and attention. Honor. Commitment.
The values instilled in my other siblings and myself were shaped by our experiences and this helped determine the careers we chose. One sister became a nurse in the VA health care system, the other a legal secretary and my oldest brother served as a police officer.
The armed forces of America secure our freedom. Members of the armed forces are shaped by their experiences and their values become clearer to them as a result. These veterans in turn help instill important values in the lives of their families and loved ones.
This Veterans Day, let’s honor not only their service to America, but also all they have done for us throughout our lives.
How can coaching help you connect to your values so you can become the best leader you can be?
Lance Hazzard, CPCC, ACC, is a certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach helping people and organizations successfully achieve what’s next. He is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. Lance and Eric T. Hicks, Ph.D., co-authored the book, Accelerating Leadership, published in June 2019. More information can be found on the book, Lance and Oppnå® Coaching at the links below: