Abraham Lincoln turns 200 today, and leaves a legacy that few will ever attain.  He is one of my favorite heroes – an exemplary leader.

He led and persuaded others with grand ideals, acted on his beliefs and most importantly, stayed the course.  Many people I meet today seem more caught up in the get it done, put out the fire, I don’t have time to think beyond today attitude.

He left us with legacy and demonstrated many firsts:  first republican president, first presidential assasination in U.S. history, the first and only president to hold a U.S. patent, and the first U.S. president to lie in state at the Capital Rotunda.  With each year that passes, his legacy and presidency become larger than life.

He accomplished results on the most significant issues, with conflict close by his side.  He took on huge inequities with rivals on his team, and not only accomplished what he set out to do, but in the process, transformed his enemies into his most trusted colleagues.  We remember him more today than yesterday, more tomorrow than today.

He was a man of principle and character.  He stood for what he believed in, not because it was popular, but because it was right.  He used wit and intellect to turn others into believers – not violence.

He was a man of eloquent words and stirring images.  Not only did he rally those close to him with his wit and words, but through speeches such as The Gettysburg Address, politicians and plain folk alike.

For many years, I have asked workshop participants who their heroes were, and what qualities they demonstrated.  Lincoln’s name sometimes came up.  Upon hearing that I’d smile and nod in agreement.

What can we still learn from President Lincoln?  Dream big.  Work harder.  Understand others.  Invite strong opinions.  Live simply.  Stay true to your ideals.  Speak the truth.  All timeless words of advice.

Happy 200th President Lincoln!