Their triumphs and failures can teach us a thing or two about our own careers. Here are some lessons we can learn from former U.S. leaders, courtesy of CareerBuilder.com:
- Lesson #1: Conquer your fears. Franklin D. Roosevelt told the nation in his inaugural speech "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He went on to pull the country out of the Great Depression and was a strong leader during wartime. So, don't be afraid to take risks that could advance your career. Send out that resume and make those phone calls. Most of all - don't let fear of rejection or change keep you from the career of your dreams.
- Lesson #2: Keep your skills current. Abraham Lincoln changed the role of president by expanding the military, freeing the slaves, and spending more money. Some were critical at the time, but he simply told them, "As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew." Lincoln's ability to react to changing times has given him the reputation as one of the greatest U.S. presidents. So, apply his lessons to your own career by taking courses to keep your skills up-to-date.
- Lesson #3: Learn from your mistakes. John F. Kennedy approved an invasion of Cuba to oust Fidel Castro, known as The Bay of Pigs. It was a failure and an embarrassment to his administration, but instead of letting it ruin his career, he took responsibility, and Americans respected him for it. So when you make a mistake, acknowledge it and move on.
- Lesson #4: Stand out in the pack. Can you name the accomplishments of Chester Arthur or James Polk? Hardly anybody can; they're known as the "forgotten presidents." However, the accomplishments of Lincoln, Kennedy and Roosevelt have a permanent place in the hearts and minds of Americans, as well as the history books. The presidents we remember weren't afraid to take a stand and make changes. So, don't be content with being average in your career. Be great, and leave a legacy!