What are the words embedded in our brains that were can recite at a minutes notice and shock ourselves that we can remember?
The Lord’s Prayer, The Kiddush, The Golden Rule, The Girl Scout Promise, Psalm 316, Mourner’s Kaddish
… you might have more…

I was reminded this week from a post on Linked-in by Angela Ahrendts whom I follow. She said she spent hours in her father’s office rereading a poem on his wall “Desiderata”
I started reading it and realized that it was my father’s mantra too. I remembered every word by heart as he instilled in me these words of wisdom to form my character of how to live my life. I immediately called my sister who reminded me that we did a calligraphy project using this prose. She still has it on the wall of her kitchen. She recited two key phrases that were important in her youth: You are a child of the universe, you have a right to be here. If you compare yourself with others you may become vain and bitter, it is a beautiful world, be cheerful, strive to be happy.

Desiderata” was written by Max Ehrmann in 1927 in Terre Haute, Indiana. It was his Christmas greeting to friends in 1933. Sometime thereafter a Boston psychiatrist discovered the poem and when on active duty in the South Pacific during WWII he wrote to Ehrmann, “I think you should know that nearly every day of my life I use your prose poem “Desiderata” to the soldiers.”

Well my father was a philosopher and thinker and an officer on a ship in the Navy in the South Pacific during WWII. He kept a daily diary of letters that are published in a book that I have to reread. This might be where he discovered the work of Ehrmann. I never connected the dots until now!

Different words resonated with me (than my sister) throughout the years. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans, keep interested in your own career, however humble, many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism. Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Be at peace with God, whatever you perceive Him to be.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann

So what does this have to do with my blog about retail? Every paragraph can be a discussion/conversation about thoughtful leadership and how it applies to building character…inspiration and reflection.

WOMEN IN THE NEWS:
This week I was invited to a political event and learned about this year’s election challenges. Women running for Governor will be a big topic. Today there are 5 women governors…out of 50! Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, S Carolina, and New Hampshire. Four incumbent women are up for reelection Nov 4th with 36 states holding gubernatorial elections. There are likely to be 27 women running to become CEO of there states which is fabulous. This could be a banner year for women Governors, just as 2012 was for women in Congress. Women’s issues and families will be top of mind this year in a bipartisan way and needs support of both men and women to have a balance and get things done in government. The solid words of the above inspiration could guide the competition. Will you get involved?