5 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Our Veterans, In Honor Of Memorial Day

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5 life lessons from our veterans for memorial day

In the blazing sun on May 8th, some dear friends and I braved the heat and enormous crowds on the National Mall to crane our necks skyward as over 50 WWII planes flew between the monuments. I cannot remember the last time I was surrounded by so many people gathered in respect and awe.

Many came to honor the memories of loved ones, some who just love history, a precious few who created that history, and many others with a passion for these massive chunks of metal that seem to miraculously rise into the air. 

In thi s moment, I reflected upon how grateful I for the gifts of our veterans have given us — some less spoken of than others.

Beyond their service, veterans have taught us many valuable life lessons about courage, strength, and honor.

RELATED: 2 Things You Can Do To Help Military Families Every. Single. Day.

This Memorial Day 2018, show gratitude to our veterans by reflecting upon the values they've embodied their service and make an effort to live by these values in your daily life.

Here are 5 life lessons we can learn from veterans:

1. Live by your core civil values.

Veterans remind us that core civil values are the grounding that holds resilience. These values include honor, respect, dignity, and putting someone else’s life ahead of yours – are the grounding that

What are your core values?

2. Have a sense of purpose.

Our veterans prove that a sense of purpose gives you the ability to stay motivated and focused despite conditions.

Use that purpose to tap intrinsic motivation to lead yourself and others with less effort.

3. Remember that there is no "I" in "team".

The way our veterans work together shows us that we can find courage so much better when we are together. 

What times in your life are you better when you are part of a team? 

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4. Be aware that fear is a part of life.

Veterans are proof that courage can co-exist with fear. We live in a fear-full but fear-phobic world.

How can you accept your fear and vulnerability and act with courage?

5. Create rituals.

We need rituals to remind us of the bigger perspective. The Missing Man Formation performed by veterans brings chills and reverence to everyone in attendance. 

Create your own rituals to ground and broaden your life. 

As a physician, I am incredibly grateful for our veterans who have and continue to contribute through their performances, struggles, injuries, and even deaths, to the enormous research that has given modern medicine, psychology, and stress management new knowledge and tools to help us all — body, mind, and spirit.

And as a leadership coach, I am grateful for the role models that are key to peak performance. And of course, there are so many more gifts — reminders that life is precious and freedom should not be taken for granted.

Like Thanksgiving, Memorial day is about pausing for remembrance, reflection, and gratitude. We need more rituals for reflection — they fuel brilliance and resilience! 

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Cynthia Ackrill leads stress and leadership workshops in many settings from coaching and leadership programs to women's conferences. Want to learn more strategies to tackle your stress and put more YOU in your future? Contact her or visit her courses and resources on her website.