Leadership Lessons from Joe Biden’s Mom


At the Democratic National Convention this summer, Joe Biden told us some of the great lessons he learned growing up.  He shared that his dad told him, “Champ, when you get knocked down — get up!”  And as leaders we know that there are many times in business growth where we get knocked down.  It’s part of the game, right?  So, too, in rainmaking.  A big part of business development is the numbers game of it all, and there are many times when we’ll get knocked down, rejected, or otherwise not get the deal, but we just need to get back up and move on.  That’s all well and good, but the real wisdom for us as leaders came from Joe’s Mama:  Catherine Eugenia Finnigan Biden.

She taught him:

  • You are defined by your sense of honor and you are redeemed by your loyalty
  • Bravery lives in every heart, and it will be summoned
  • Failure at some point is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable
  • When you get knocked down by guys bigger than you, Bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day
  • God sends no cross that you cannot bear
  • When you triumph it is because of others
  • No one is better than you, everyone is your equal and everyone is equal to you
  • Live your faith and treasure your family
  • Dignity of work; American dream is anyone can make it if you try hard enough
As leaders, we don’t have to accept a situation we cannot bear, we simply have to remember that we have the power to change it.  We have the power of choice.

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