Tough, Tender and Tenacious

"We must stop setting our sights by the light of each passing ship;
instead we must set our course by the stars."

- George Marshall

Here's a healthy approach to life that deserves consideration - be tough on yourself, tender with others and tenacious with priorities.


By being tough on yourself, I don't mean beating yourself up for mistakes, that's unhealthy and discouraging. What I mean is holding yourself to a high standard. Be disciplined. Have high expectations of yourself. Seek to be your best self, all day, every day. If you fail, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back at it. Do what others aren't willing to do. Decide to be exceptional. There is deep internal satisfaction in practicing excellence.


Practice uncommon kindness and patience. It's easy to judge and criticize others. But we don't know what's going on in the lives of others and we see imperfectly. Look for the best in others. Be an encourager. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Exercise grace in relationships. Overlook minor offenses and be quick to forgive. Yes, there are times to have difficult conversations, but those still should be done with the other person's best interest in mind.


Decide what is important to you in life, then attack it with intention and intensity. Live a life of focus, not distraction, diffusion or dabbling. Be committed and passionate about important things. Get after it. No half-hearted measures in areas that count. Develop and hone your God-given strengths. Channel your best energy into things that are most important. Concentrate your efforts on the vital few, not the trivial many. Have a fire in your belly for what matters most.