I recently saw Steven’s Spielberg’s latest movie, “Lincoln.” It’s an Academy Award-winning film waiting to happen. This captivating drama plays out as Abraham Lincoln brings the full measure of his presidency, his passion and his humanity to a defining battle against overwhelming odds and extreme public and personal pressure.
The movie captures the intensity of President Lincoln’s moral fortitude as he, not only seeks to end the devastating Civil War, but more importantly, fights to pass the 13th Amendment—permanently abolishing slavery. It’s the story of a true historical act of national daring that became Lincoln’s ultimate legacy.
Here are several take-aways for me:
Leadership is a Dance – President Lincoln showed masterful leadership skills. He was an eloquent statesman, a shrewd commander, a fierce power broker, and yet a playful story-teller. He knew when to lead the dance and when to follow. He even knew how to step on toes. Lincoln guided our country through its worst moments and allowed the ideals of American democracy to survive and assure the end of slavery.
Thaddeus Stevens, another colorful leader in the story-line was excellent on his feet while doing the leadership dance. He knew how to use both silence and words to change hearts. His blend of fiery wit and sarcasm were both effective weapons in the fight for leading what was right.
Balance the Personal and Professional – Lincoln didn’t always get the perfect balance of these two. Sometimes the tension between family responsibilities and the pressure of his role as president was unimaginably difficult. The scene of the president picking up his young sleeping son off the floor and tucking him into bed is one memorable moment in this balancing act. Reading and playing with his son while waiting on news of the vote that would define his legacy is another indelibly etched scene on my mind as I reflect on Lincoln’s battle to find the near perfect fulcrum point of success both at home and at work.
Battle With All Your Might for What Will Define You – The “Lincoln” movie only covers the final four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life. But the battle for what Lincoln passionately believed was right, motivated him to grapple with his government of opposite persuasions. The movie reveals that flawed, complicated human beings can accomplish the incredible when they have a core conviction that some values are non-negotiable. The fight to pass the 13th Amendment on the floor of the House of Representatives was more than monumental. Lincoln knew this battle would alter the course and actions of generations to come. It’s what mattered most to him. It’s what ultimately defined him.
History shows us that Lincoln’s very silhouette has morphed into a global symbol of the hope that power can be wielded judiciously. Subsequently, someone wrote, “Abraham Lincoln has long existed on the razor’s edge between myth and flesh-and-blood man.” He’s a legend because he battled with all his heart, soul, mind and strength for belief in the equality and freedom of all men and women.
What will define your life? It’s not too late to think about. Remember, Lincoln’s footprint on the entire world is pretty much defined by the battle he fought and won during the final four months of his life.
QUESTION: What is one thing you want to be remembered for? Share it with us in the comment section below.