My Talk with Mr. Lincoln

My Talk with Mr. Lincoln

Whelp, I’ll be home in just a few days.  It’s hard to believe that my time in Washington, D.C. is almost up.  I was able to do mostly everything I wanted to in the city, but it’s hard because there really are an endless number of places to go. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned, how much I’ve grown through this experience. It sounds cliché but I really do feel like I’m matured great lengths being here. I now have a clearer vision of the kind of career I want, the field I in which want to work, where I want to live, and the man I want to be. The people I’ve met, publicly known or not, have all affected me in some way or another. Coming here makes me realize that I wouldn’t be who I am without all the people that have been in my life along the way; my mother, father, brother, grandparents, close family, friends, and everyone else.

Our former President and CEO at The Financial Services Roundtable, Steve Bartlett, has become a mentor figure for me.  Whether he knows it or not, he has helped me think independently and clearly about topics that I previously thought I had a grasp I knew like the back of my hand.  He has motivated me to want to be a better person, a civil servant, and a leader.  I look up to him, so obviously I was touched when he told me that he referred me to a future position and internship. I went to thank him, and to my surprise he thanked me. He told me that I’ve helped them to great lengths. He then quickly mentioned, if I did in fact really want to thank him, there was one thing I could do.

With his trademark wink and smile, he said "have a conversation with Mr. Lincoln if you ever need advice Jackson.  If you ever need to make a choice or want to know what to do, go to the monument.  Go after 10 p.m.  He'll guide you the right way, and he’ll never steer you wrong.  It's what I always did."  I told him I would, and that’s exactly what I did.

My roommate Christopher and I hopped in a cab around 10:30 p.m. last Sunday night. It was a misty night, however, not eerily misty. It’s hard to explain the feeling I had walking up those marble steps.  As we neared the statue, much to our surprise, we were the only ones there.  Of the 617,996 people in the DC Metro Area, Christopher, the security guard and I were the only ones in the vicinity.  I’m not really the sentimental, deep type of person, but I have to say going to Lincoln that night was one of the best decisions I’ve made while in Washington.  My roommate and I actually sat there, on the monument steps, and didn’t really speak a word.  We reflected on our experiences here, and thought about our next moves. The words inscribed above Lincoln seemed to pop off the wall. “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.”

This quote makes you realize that there are more problems than what is directly in front of you.  There are so many things that, in the grand scheme of things, really don’t matter.  There are issues that need to be solved, and if time is spent focusing on the little things, the bigger picture will be forgotten.  “If you witness a car accident or a building aflame, are you the one to focus on the tragedy and lend a hand, or will you focus on the shards flying around you, frozen?” – Dan Quiggle.  That quote really hit home for me, when I heard Mr. Quiggle say it during one of his seminars at the Leadership Institute.  I couldn’t think of a more appropriate quote for this blog, and a better sendoff than with Mr. Lincoln.

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