Ah, the turtle. It’s often dismissed as a creature and I’m sure it’s often ridiculed as a college mascot. They seem so slow!

But while turtles may not win any speed records, they have several characteristics to which we should all aspire. In the farewell address of the University of Maryland President Wallace Loh, he talks about the Terrapin turtle (UMD’s mascot) and points out that it only walks forward. “And how does he do this?” Loh rhetorically asks. “One step at a time by sticking its neck out.”

Think of how your life would be different if you only walked forward. Instead of harboring regret, backtracking, reversing decisions or even standing still you could accomplish so much in your life by persisting one step at a time. You don’t have to be fast; you merely must be consistent.

Take a lesson from the misunderstood reptile. Forward, even slowly, is a great way to get ahead.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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