Thursday, October 17, 2019

Getting the Right Person on Our Side

We don’t have to pretend to be better than we are. Sometimes we need help. Maybe we just need the right person on our side.

A young man barely got into West Point. He made the minimum height requirement by wearing heavy socks. Though he weighed only 120 pounds, he became a brilliant and effective second lieutenant.

Author Fred Herman, who tells the man's story, says that the officer drew as his first command one of the roughest, toughest platoons in the entire Army. He knew he had to win their confidence on day one. Mastering the platoon to attention in front of him, he thought he would put to rest the question about his size, once and for all.

“Men, there are two questions we must settle immediately,” he shouted. “Question number one. Is there anyone in this outfit who thinks he can whip me?”

No one responded. The lieutenant put them at ease and tried again, repeating the question. Finally, the regimental heavyweight champion, who stood six feet, seven inches and weighed 274 lbs. stepped forward.

“I believe I can whip you,” he said confidently.

“Good,” replied the young officer. “You're my first sergeant. Now, question number two. Is there anyone here who thinks he can whip my first sergeant?”

Here’s a guy who knew how to lead. He realized he could not intimidate his platoon. And he believed that his appearance would not help him make the kind of confident first impression he wanted to make. He needed some help - and he found it.

Tennis pro Althea Gibson has said, “No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helped you.” It’s true. If you want to do something important, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is somebody, somewhere, who is waiting for you to ask.

Like I said, sometimes we just need to get the right person on our side.

--Steve Goodier

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