I got this email from my friend Mark when I wrote last year's post about Veterans Day. I thought it’d make the perfect post for this year. Thanks, Mark! This post will write itself!
"Thank you Rinda, it was a perfect reading for me none of us do this looking for appreciation. You met me after I had already served 3 years in the Marines, but I remember at Lima Senior looking around after Graduation wondering what do I do now? The Marines found me and kept hounding me for months I’m Thankful I listened, and earned the rights to be called a Marine. The most important life skill I learned was self-esteem trust me before than I lacked that, but becoming a Marine I learned these 14 Marine Corps Leadership Traits that I used throughout my lifetime:"
Definition: Justice is defined as the practice of being fair and consistent. A just person gives consideration to each side of a situation and bases rewards or punishments on merit.
Suggestions for Improvement: Be honest with yourself about why you make a particular decision. Avoid favoritism. Try to be fair at all times and treat all things and people in an equal manner.
FYI- Lady Justice is an ancient symbol that goes back to Greek and Roman mythology. She’s pictured blindfolded to show she’s fair and impartial. She holds a scale to show that she balances the strengths and weaknesses of a case. Finally she carries a sword to show her authority, and to show that justice should be swift and final.
Definition: Judgment is your ability to think about things clearly, calmly, and in an orderly fashion so that you can make good decisions.
Suggestions for Improvement: You can improve your judgment if you avoid making rash decisions. Approach problems with a common-sense attitude.
FYI- You don’t have to be a judge to make good decisions. If you don’t want to make rash decisions, slow down! Breathe. Sleep on it. Talk to friends and family. Do any or all of these, and you’ll make better decisions. Don’t worry. If you do your best, that’s enough. There is no more, plus, you can learn from your mistakes.
Definition: Dependability means that you can be relied upon to perform your duties properly. It means that you can be trusted to complete a job. It is the willing and voluntary support of the policies and orders of the chain of command. Dependability also means consistently putting forth your best effort in an attempt to achieve the highest standards of performance.
Suggestions for Improvement: You can increase your dependability by forming the habit of being where you're supposed to be on time, by not making excuses and by carrying out every task to the best of your ability regardless of whether you like it or agree with it.
FYI- If you’re dependable, you're like solid gold. You will never be the weakest link.
Definition: Initiative is taking action even though you haven't been given orders. It means meeting new and unexpected situations with prompt action. It includes using resourcefulness to get something done without the normal material or methods being available to you.
Suggestions for Improvement: To improve your initiative, work on staying mentally and physically alert. Be aware of things that need to be done and then to do them without having to be told.
FYI- When you take the initiative, you could be raising your hand or sharing an idea. You’re being brave because you’re daring to be wrong. Think about this...you’ll never be right unless you dare to be wrong.
Definition: Decisiveness means that you are able to make good decisions without delay. Get all the facts and weight them against each other. By acting calmly and quickly, you should arrive at a sound decision. You announce your decisions in a clear, firm, professional manner.
Suggestions for Improvement: Practice being positive in your actions instead of acting half-heartedly or changing your mind on an issue.
FYI- Sometimes it’s hard to make a decision. When that happens, I write down the pluses and minuses. Then I decide, and I give it time. If it’s a bad decision, no problem! I look at the new facts and make a better one. The worst decision...is no decision. Then life will choose for you. Decide! Be brave!
Definition: Tact means that you can deal with people in a manner that will maintain good relations and avoid problems. It means that you are polite, calm, and firm.
Suggestions for Improvement: Begin to develop your tact by trying to be courteous and cheerful at all times. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
FYI- It’s hard to say that just right thing, especially if you’re angry. Don’t be afraid to take your time to breathe, to think, to plan. Sometimes in tricky situations I even write down what I want to say. It’s worth taking the time to keep a friend.
Definition: Integrity means that you are honest and truthful in what you say or do. You put honesty, sense of duty, and sound moral principles above all else.
Suggestions for Improvement: Be absolutely honest and truthful at all times. Stand up for what you believe to be right.
FYI- This Venn Diagram explains it perfectly. If your beliefs, words, and actions match, you have integrity. It’s something to hang onto. If I had to lose everything, but could keep only 1 thing, I’d keep my integrity. I hope you do too.
Definition: Enthusiasm is defined as a sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of your duties. If you are enthusiastic, you are optimistic, cheerful, and willing to accept the challenges.
Suggestions for Improvement: Understanding and belief in your mission will add to your enthusiasm for your job. Try to understand why even uninteresting jobs must be done.
FYI- Be a cheerleader! Find a cheerleader! I did this for my 2nd graders…I cheered them on, but you can be your own cheerleader. Say words that build you up. Do your best because there is no more. Go, go, go!
Definition: Bearing is the way you conduct and carry yourself. Your manner should reflect alertness, competence, confidence, and control.
Suggestions for Improvement: To develop bearing, you should hold yourself to the highest standards of personal conduct. Never be content with meeting only the minimum requirements.
FYI- It’s not about the bear, but look at both pictures. Each girl is telling you something with her body. Here's a tip, if you get up on the wrong side of the bed, put on your favorite outfit. Sometimes when you look good, you'll start to feel good. I always do this on bad days.
Definition: Unselfishness means that you avoid making yourself comfortable at the expense of others. Be considerate of others. Give credit to those who deserve it.
Suggestions for Improvement: Avoid using your position or rank for personal gain, safety, or pleasure at the expensive of others. Be considerate of others.
FYI- This is what you learn in preschool and Kindergarten, how to share, whether it’s snack, a toy, or a game. It’s one of the most important things in life to learn.
Definition: Courage is what allows you to remain calm while recognizing fear. Moral courage means having the inner strength to stand up for what is right and to accept blame when something is your fault. Physical courage means that you can continue to function effectively when there is physical danger present.
Suggestions for Improvement: You can begin to control fear by practicing self-discipline and calmness. If you fear doing certain things required in your daily life, force yourself to do them until you can control your reaction.
FYI- Being brave is hardest when you’re afraid. The first step to more courage, slow down your breathing. Inhale and think ‘I breathe in courage.’ Exhale and think, ‘I exhale fear.’ It helps! Really! Last week I was struggling with self-doubt so I breathed in faith and exhaled hope. It helped me, and it can help you too. Really!
Definition: Knowledge is the understanding of a science or art. Knowledge means that you have acquired information and that you understand people. Your knowledge should be broad, and in addition to knowing your job, you should know your unit's policies and keep up with current events.
Suggestions for Improvement: Increase your knowledge by remaining alert. Listen, observe, and find out about things you don't understand. Study field manuals and other military literature.
FYI- Knowledge is power. The more you listen, observe, read, and discover the world around you, the better you’ll do now, and in the future.
Definition: Loyalty means that you are devoted to your country, the Corps, and to your seniors, peers, and subordinates. The motto of our Corps is Semper Fidelis!, (Always Faithful). You owe unwavering loyalty up and down the chain of command, to seniors, subordinates, and peers.
Suggestions for Improvement: To improve your loyalty you should show your loyalty by never discussing the problems of the Marine Corps or your unit with outsiders. Never talk about seniors unfavorably in front of your subordinates. Once a decision is made and the order is given to execute it, carry out that order willingly as if it were your own.
FYI- This image reminds me of the 3 Musketeers, not the candy bar, but the 3 French soldiers from a classic movie/novel. Their motto…all for one, and one for all. I’m loyal to my friends and family. Who are you loyal to?
Definition: Endurance is the mental and physical stamina that is measured by your ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress, and hardship. For example, enduring pain during a conditioning march in order to improve stamina is crucial in the development of leadership.
Suggestions for Improvement: Develop your endurance by engaging in physical training that will strengthen your body. Finish every task to the best of your ability by forcing yourself to continue when you are physically tired and your mind is sluggish.
FYI- This is a real military training exercise, the Teamwork Log Training Exercise. It looks hard, but if you have endurance, you can lift that log off the ground and move it into position. How do you develop endurance? By training! Each time try to last a minute/half minute longer, and you’ll build endurance.
When Marines recruit, they say “They’re looking for a few good men.” They call themselves, “The few. The proud. The Marines.” When I look at Marine values, I can see why they’re so respected. They build good character.
I also think it’s interesting that those are the same values I tried to instill in my 2nd graders, and that my school guidance counselors worked on with them. Most of my FYI comments came from the things those counselors taught me and my students. I’m not a Marine, but I’m a proud retired elementary teacher of 33 years.
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When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!