Even George Washington Almost Got Canned Once

Did you know that in 1777, there was an effort to force George Washington to retire from the military service? I didn't -- until I took a look at Mark McNeilly's George Washington and the Art of Business: Leadership Principles of America's First Commander-in-Chief.

The anecdote got me to thinking about the number of people who feel like their jobs are at risk these days. It reminded me that what we do every day before and during a crisis powerfully affects what happens to us when it hits.

General Washington was able to survive the "Conway Cabal." (The Cabal's leader was an officer named Thomas Conway.) As McNeilly writes, "[Washington's] men supported him because they knew his strength of character and his own devotion to the Cause. They also knew that Washington sought their counsel, strove to be fair with them, worked hard to help them build a stronger army, and stood by them despite their own mistakes."

And while his opponents fired off surreptitious, self-important and derisive letters, Washington kept to the high road. He remained professional and controlled - despite obvious personal disdain for the men who sought to remove him and incredible frustration at having his merits called into question.

If you're feeling under fire or nervous about your position, stay cool. Worry about the things you can affect -- particularly what you do and how you treat others. Be proactive and stay positive.

In short, make your own history.




Widely hailed as one of the world’s most “connected” people, Keith Ferrazzi is the author of Never Eat Alone, the international bestselling book about building relationships for success. Ferrazzi is also an acclaimed speaker and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a consulting and professional development firm that helps organizations drive growth through relationships. Earlier in his career, he was chief marketing officer at Deloitte Consulting and the youngest to be tapped for partner in the firm's h...

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