By Gino Blefari
This week my travels find me in San Antonio for Real Living Momentum 2015, an event celebrating Real Living sales professionals from around the country. As I spend time in this Texas town lined by river walks and traditional, Spanish-style architecture, it’s hard not to imagine how the city appeared in the early 19th century, when the west was far wilder and brave frontiersmen and women fought tirelessly to safeguard their land.
I’ve long been fascinated by American history and its notable characters, so being here in San Antonio easily brings to mind thoughts of the Texas Revolution and swashbuckling tales of Davy Crockett, an American hero who died defending the Alamo in 1836. Yet, even before Crockett fought alongside his fellow Texan soldiers in present-day San Antonio, the onetime congressman had been hailed a hero of free-thinking—he famously opposed President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act and much earlier, ran away from home at the age of 13.
However, while no doubt a brave character, historians often wonder what sparked America’s collective imagination to hold Crockett in such high esteem. What was—and is—it about this enigmatic figure that has so deeply fascinated us through countless Crockett-themed movies, TV specials and books? The answer might be found in Crockett’s own words. “Let your tongue speak what your heart thinks,” he once famously said, and in truth, experts do attribute much of his fame to an uncanny ability to articulate thoughts with honesty and ease.
As a study on Crockett conducted by the University of Virginia noted: “Although he was admired for being a strong, hard and heroic frontiersman, the obsessive admiration of Davy Crockett was due in large part to his humor. He was charismatic and possessed the mastery of vernacular coupled with common sense that made him a natural storyteller with the power to enthrall his audience and parody his opponents.”
So, what’s the message? Being a leader means constantly seeking new ways to inspire and motivate. However, while we often look outward to accomplish this—maybe in lessons from others in our industry or to articles written about our field—it’s important to sometimes look inward for answers, and take a cue from Davy Crockett, who was admired nationwide not for his ability to be just like everyone else but for his incomparable tenacity of spirit and mind.