20 Feb Leadership Lessons from a Veteran of WWII, Korea & Viet Nam

To say there aren’t many people like George Callahan is a gross understatement.  George is 90 years old – a living history book as a veteran of WWII, Korea and Viet Nam.

On February 20, 2012, George sat down with me in a 10-minute interview to answer the following five questions:

1. What was the earliest adversity you faced, and how did it affect your life?

2. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?

3. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?

4. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?

5. What advice would you impart for today’s leaders?

George Callahan was my neighbor growing up, and was a decorated combat veteran of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and was a former Army Special Forces soldier. He went through paratrooper and Special Forces training at the unprecedented age of 40.  When he learned that I had enlisted and signed up for Special Forces training, he invited me into his home where he told war stories and showed me military memorabilia and old photographs. George was positive, optimistic, immensely inspiring, and completely encouraging.

One day before I left for boot camp, I eagerly asked my mentor George for advice that would help me in my training. He said he had only two bits of advice: “Choose your friends carefully. You need to work with everyone, but not everyone has to be your friend.”  The other counsel offered was, “Take the bad times day by day. If it’s really bad, take it hour by hour. If it’s really, really bad, take it moment by moment.”  The end of the interview was cut off, but these two bits of advice are what George reiterated once again.

Through his personal example, George Callahan helped me understand the true meaning of determination and perseverance.

2 Comments
  • Geese
    Posted at 10:12h, 23 February Reply

    What a great guy. His advice was so perfect for today’s leaders. Talk about credibility! Wow!

  • Jan Rutherford
    Posted at 10:58h, 23 February Reply

    Thanks, Greg. I feel very fortunate to count him as a friend and mentor all these years!

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