My American Journey

The Founder of Inspire Leadership & focuses on unlocking people’s potential by providing them with programs; mentorship and coaching into high performance

By Colin Powell

I have been spending the last three months getting to know more of Colin Powell. There is no better way to do this other than to read his book "My American Journey.

The book tells a powerful story of a life well-lived and well narrated. It also views from the mountain top the political landscape of America at a time when Americans felt disenchanted with their leaders. 

General Powell's passionate views on family, personal responsibility, and in his own words, "the greatness of America and the opportunities it offers" inspire hope and present a blueprint for the future. 

The lessons from the book are not only applicable to Americans but to all of us who care to be better in life.

Learning about and taking the journey of this outstanding man was powerful. Not only are readers taught what Colin Powell had to go through as a child to become the man he transformed into, but they are also taken through the journey with Colin. 

It is inspiring to hear such a success story especially from a boy who was born and raised in the Bronx. Reading the memoirs sometimes can be extremely boring but not for this one. 

This biography is well written and puts up a compelling case for us to unlock our potential and chase our goals irrespective of our past. 

Key takeaways from the book are what is referenced to as Colin Powell's hard-won lessons:

  • Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.
  • Never be without a watch, a pencil, and a notepad.
  • Leadership is solving problems. The day employees stop bringing you their problems is the day it is assumed you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence in you or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.
  • With vision only, you get no follow-through. With enforcers only, the dream is realized but leaves a lot of wreckage. Good chaplains pick up the pieces and put everything together again.
  • The commander in the field is always right, and the rear echelon is wrong unless proved otherwise.
  • Reject the easy path of victimhood. Dare to take the rough road of work and commitment, a road that leads somewhere.

I enjoyed the book, a joy that I would wish you all to experience, as well as the lessons from General Powell's life. He’s frank and honest when he shares the challenges of being away in the military and his babies and children not knowing him, and having to get acquainted. This is truly one of the struggles that we will face as we get higher on the ladder of our careers.

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