Teddy Roosevelt. You know him as a former US president, in fact the youngest ever to take office prior to John F. Kennedy. He was also the lieutenant colonel who lead the Rough Rider Regiment in the Spanish-American War. He was the guy who loved to say, “Speak softly and carry a big stick…”
He also recognized the strategic need for the Panama Canal and made that happen. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese War. He expanded and protected conservation in the US by creating national parks and forests in the West, reserved lands for public use, and fostered massive irrigation projects.
Teddy understood the relationship between fearlessness and vulnerability. In his 1920 speech he delivered at the Sorbonne, he said:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strived valiantly; who errs, who comes again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
While campaigning in Milwaukee, he was shot in the chest. He recovered and shared this sentiment, “No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way.”
Embrace being vulnerable. It means you are in the game. Whether you win or lose, you are in it for real.