Updated: Aug 23
Originally Published in Today's Parent.
Like many couples, my husband and I chose to write our own wedding vows. Our relationship had been anything but a straight path; rather ‘around the cragged hill’ to crib historian George F. Kennan. After all, I was marrying a motorcycle driving, free-spirited guy who enjoyed living out of a suitcase and flitting from one city to the next across continents. He had even lived atop a hotel in Greece, building a shanty for shelter on rainy nights. No stranger to adventure myself, I had lived and worked in Bangkok, Thailand and traveled around the world solo. I enjoy canyoneering, abseiling and long runs.
In thinking about how to encapsulate my feelings aloud in a few minutes before fifty close family members and friends, I kept humming a childhood favorite, "Bein’ Green" and thought of Kermit the Frog singing that tune in a farm field. I realized the words from the song made me feel as I do with my husband – inspired, confident and ready to take on any challenge. Kermit offers leadership tips that can be translated to success.
Stanza 1: It's not that easy being green; Having to spend each day the color of the leaves When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold, or something much more colorful like that
Just like Kermit, I was always longing for something else. I have curly hair but I always pined for glossy, straight locks. I had to give up my favorite sport, figure skating at the age of 12 because I grew six inches in one summer and my center of gravity and balance shifted. It took my husband and Kermit to make me realize that my sassy waves and long legs don’t define me.
Leadership Trait #1– Leaders are self-aware. They are also self-confident and understand their own strengths and weaknesses. They recognize that character truly distinguishes who you are, not your reflection. Further, they believe they have control over their own destinies and are not threatened or intimidated by opposing viewpoints.
How to translate to success? Do not compare yourself to anyone else. As individuals, each one of us can offer the world our best qualities if we start from within. If you keep making excuses that lead to self-deprecation, you will continuously be caught in a downward spiral. Take a few minutes. Write out the things you love about your own character and how you’re interested in applying those traits to every day. Is it a workshop you have always thought of taking at your local community college? A volunteer training session at your hospital?
Stanza 2: It's not easy being green; It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things, And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water; Or stars in the sky
It is my inherent nature to push the envelope on creativity and want to do everything with a big bang. However, my husband has taught me that you do not always need to move a mountain in a day. And, Kermit, has shown me that ‘flashy’ might be appropriate now and again. Rather, every day, if you make progress on a project, or you are working towards a personal goal, you will achieve either with a combination of perseverance and resilience. Each evening, when my head finally hits the pillow, I take a moment to think about how blessed I am to have a partner who helps me achieve my individual and our collective goals.
Leadership Trait #2: Leaders are ambitious and persistent. They are also very effective planners who base decisions on rational analyses.
How to translate to success? Set incremental goals – Outline what you want to achieve and prioritize. If you want to update your home but only have a small budget, figure out what will make you the happiest – the new kitchen? the second bathroom or a walk in closet? Undertaking too many projects at work or home or getting too bogged down on one often has diminishing results.
Stanza 3: But green's the color of Spring, And green can be cool and friendly-like, And green can be big like an ocean, or important; Like a mountain, or tall like a tree
As Kermit and my husband make me feel, the possibilities seem endless. Life is richer, sweeter and more interesting with my partner.
Leadership Trait #3: Leaders are optimistic. They are also willing to explore new ideas. However, they recognize that a steadfast approach often requires an innate ability to handle criticism and forge forward.
How to translate to success? Dream about all that is possible but make sure to "Live in the Moment" -You have heard of taking a moment to laugh and smell the flowers. Perhaps because I am a native New Yorker, I am guilty of rushing as compared to my husband, born and bred in the deep South. We have probably all heard someone say that if you are so hung up on a mishap from yesterday or something you must do tomorrow, you are simply forgetting about today.
Stanza 4: When green is all there is to be; It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why; Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful, And I think it's what I want to be.
In my career, I have always tried to apply the ‘why’ to approaching a project or a client in a new manner. Sometimes, when all the fundamentals are there, you need to realize that you do shine and you can make an impact on a daily basis. Your tight end on a football team may have at one time wished he was the star quarterback but as we all know, our Super Bowl champions rely on more than the star quarter or running backs…it takes a team.
Leadership Trait #4: A leader makes people feel and believe that they are truly making a contribution. A leader also resolves conflicts and persuades others to collaborate. Finally, a leader encourages questions.
How to translate to success?
Stop worrying that there is something else; realize your role on a team –You are unique and you do make a difference in your It takes a life partner, friend, colleague, staff or town – remember not to isolate yourself.
So, with no turning back in my heart, during the middle of our eclectic wedding ceremony, I read my vows and we danced, smiled and cried among family and friends to "Bein’ Green." As we celebrate seven years of marriage, I take a moment to salute one of the wisest leaders on the planet, Kermit.