Jim Clemmer: For Pete’s Sake — Learning from the Error of My Ways

Within 10 minutes of Tuesday’s blog being posted (“Changing Seasons, Changing Skills, Habits, and Perspectives”) an alert reader sent me an e-mail entitled “For Pete’s Sake,” pointing out that I’d incorrectly credited Bob Seger as writer of the song, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” from Ecclesiastes. It was actually Pete Seeger. Mia culpa! Sorry Pete! I hope you – and not Bob – gets the royalties from this popular tune that’s been recorded by so many other artists.

Pete SeegerI was corrected by a few other readers in fairly short order. John Eckhart, Quality Management Coordinator, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at The Mayo Clinic wrote that he spotted the error because “‘Turn, turn, turn’ from Ecclesiastes was the basis for the wedding ceremony when we were married way back in 1969. The pastor was upset that it wasn’t an approved wedding sermon but he did a great job. Our 42nd anniversary is June 8.”

John is clearly in the right job: quality management! And the pastor clearly did a great job since he and his wife are together over four decades later. He adds this timeless wisdom: “In over 40 years of marriage one learns the art of compromise, the hazards of judging, and the power of love. All good things.”

Thanks all for your quick corrections! We were able to immediately correct the blog post and yesterday’s June issue of The Leader Letter before it was published.

Yet another reader wrote, “I’ll bet a story on old Pete Seeger would make a good leadership story. He’s still feisty at 92.” He’s absolutely right! The Wikipedia entry on Pete Seeger — now 92 — is extensive and a wonderful review of this iconic American folk singer’s extensive work and life as an activist authentically and boldly living his values. Three years ago he released At 89, an album that earned him the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album.

I am inspired by people like Pete Seeger and Warren Bennis (see my recent review of his new book) who stay fully engaged in life well into their 70s, 80s, 90s — and beyond. Our neighbor’s father learned to read at ninety. Now 104, he’s got a big stack of books to keep him engaged.

I’ve written a few pieces about the energetic elderly who maintain their passion for life. You can read about Jack and Elizabeth versus Howard and Sylvia in Apathy and Cynicism Zap Our Spirit, how we can get old rather, than grow old in Signs of Stagnation, and how Life Accumulates in our Personal Choice Accounts.

What’s in a name? Lots, in this case! Who knew one little name error could open up such rich discussion and learning? It’s a great reminder of how innovation and discovery often comes from drawing lessons from our mistakes.

For over 30 years, Jim Clemmer’s practical leadership approaches have been inspiring action and achieving results. He has delivered thousands of keynote presentations, workshops, and management team retreats to hundreds of organizations around the globe moving his audiences from inspiration to application. He’s listed in the World’s Top 30 Most Influential Leadership Gurus based on research with 22,000 global business people, consultants, academics and MBAs. His website is www.JimClemmer.com.

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