Thomas J. Jackson was a lousy physics teacher who walked kinda stiff and couldn’t keep his students attention. He didn’t dress for success and in general his appearance was closer to non-de script. He was mainly overlooked by confederate power mongers when they assigned leadership posts at the start of our country’s great civil war. He had earned more respect than was given and said not a thing. He was appointed as a major in Virginia’s topographical engineers group and was given a desk job when he was one of the few Southerners with experience from the Mexican war of 1848. He said not a thing; he showed up and did his duty. It didn’t take long for his leadership to realize he belonged in the field. Within a month he’s given a team of Virginia volunteers and the rest is history.

Thomas took his team and drilled them into the point of the spear. He eliminated whiskey and in it’s place brought structure, order, and discipline. His team didn’t like him much in the lead up to the first battle test at Manassas; they would love him after. You see, Jackson earned his new name in the first major battle of the Civil War. The rebels were being routed by a superior sized force from the Union until Jackson and his Virginia volunteers greeted them like a stone wall. Jackson stood his ground. As often is the case, his standing was the example his team needed to see.

Few stand. Few believe. Few inspire. And, a few are all it takes to change the course of history and the trajectory of those that follow. The road to Richmond should have been paved at Manassas Junction on July 21, 1862. It was NOT. You see, everything rises and falls on leadership; not size, speed, or strength alone.

Leadership matters. Your leadership matters, friend.

Thomas J. Jackson took a stand. As other teams ran from the field, his team followed their leader. He had a plan. Calmly he instructed them where to assemble for their Thermopylae kinda stand. Actually, they laid down. They waited for the over-confident Union forces to arrive in the woods and when they were within 50 yards, his team greeted them with hot lead, a rebel yell, and the bayonet. The Union forces thought all they had to do was stroll in to Richmond. They ran into a stone wall; Stonewall Jackson, in fact.

Leaders are believers. Leaders belief inspires. Leaders model the way, embrace pain and suffering, and embody truth in love. Leaders stand. Most posers suffer from a failure of nerve when unchosen suffering knocks on their door. Leaders absorb. Leaders regulate themselves and then the team. Leaders love their work and team. Leaders kinda look like a stonewall when the storm arrives. How ’bout you?

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