Dan Rooney is a PGA Golf Professional, F-16 fighter pilot, founder of Folders of Honor, and best-selling author of flying to the wind, how to harness faith and fearlessness on your ascent to greatness. Dan was inspired by Steve Cortright, a golfer and jet pilot himself who he met at 12 years old. He remembers thinking “I’ve never met anyone this cool in my life.” Since that day, Dan knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life and set out to make his dream come true.
Professional golfer? Done. Professional golfer, pilot of an F-16 fighter jet, Founder of Folds of Honor, and best-selling author? Done. It is clear that Dan Rooney wears many hats and wears them well, too. Our dreams can take flight when we use resistance as a form of influence. It can challenge us to identify, develop and use our best talent, to become the best people we can be, through embracing challenges and learning from them.
“You have to give your people permission to fail because that’s when you max perform.” Dan explains that you cannot be in max performance if you’re in fear of failure or fear of mistakes. When mistakes are made, you have to look at yourself as a leader and what went wrong with that mistake. Creating an environment where failure is ok is being vulnerable because it will create solutions to the problems and create a safe space for open communication. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about doing better. Failure truly is your greatest teacher. Your relationship and mindset around failures and setbacks is tied closely to your success in your personal and professional life. They are inevitable so embrace them, acknowledge that you’ll have them, and let them be a valuable part of your journey and development. Teams are built on relationships, and relationships require connection. In order for a connection between people to be strong and have substance it requires trust and authenticity. There is no quicker path to achieve those things than through vulnerability.
Overcoming challenges and creating trust
Everyone knows you cannot control the world around you. Dan Rooney controlled what was happening in his life through eliminating things that were holding him back to overcome certain challenges, and at the end of the day he was satisfied. Being accountable is something else that Dan mentions that is a key attribute of building trust within an organization. By effectively implementing accountability in a positive and principled way, you will see trust return. Greater trust in the workplace should not be the object of your efforts, but rather is an outcome of your approach to creating accountability. If your approach to accountability has a negative impact, then you will certainly see workplace trust deteriorate. Trust is an outcome of greater accountability when it is done the right way—accountability that is consistently exemplified, expected, and followed up on.
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Align with your Quintessence
“Service before self” is something Dan takes seriously. Living in a world that tends to be self-focused, and how there is so much more fulfillment available if you put others before yourself. It’s ok to give yourself permission to slow down and recharge yourself. That way when you’re ready to go, you can go even harder. Lastly, take care of yourself. It’s important to understand how much more effective you can be in all parts of your life when you take care of yourself. Having your priorities aligned with what is important and combining that with a daily routine is essential to being able to filter what is important in your life.
Dan Rooney’s Leadership Lessons
Dan Rooney uses his leadership lessons and tactics of high-pressure combat as extreme but relatable examples of how to face and overcome challenges in reaching your own personal goals. Through passion and commitment, you can define the impossible.
If you listen to the episode, you will learn:
- Volition & the power of choice, The choices that you make each and every day are writing a legacy of your life. Every choice you make follows a logical path.
- There is an unlimited opportunity to evolve, be better, do better.
- The difference between being trusted and reliable
- Making things a priority and important decisions
- Don’t hide your mistakes, own them.
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