(Fifty Nifty Years in the United States Series)
Paul Cary – I have met many skilled and talented people in my travels. I have only met one lifeguard, lifeguard trainer, WSI, EMT, Eagle Scout, Counselor, Math teacher, program director, master schedule builder, Challenge Course Manager, mountain bike instructor, ropes facilitator who makes great camp-out donuts, LIT skill builder, rivals Chuck Norris in the number of great things that are said about him by other camp staff and LITs, Super Star Leadership, plays several instruments, travel camp leading, volunteer fireman, only person who was employee of the year twice, (author takes a breath) makes peach cobbler in a Dutch oven, and has the best campout nights, always brings dessert or some such baked good item, has had his own Face Book Fan Page, foster parent, who can lead a rendition of “Duke of York” like it’s nobody’s business – (PAUL CARY. Like Patty Hart, one has to say the first and last together.)
I’d like to say I discovered him. However, he was already at the camp when I arrived. I know that there are at least a dozen more things to add to this list and I have already added 7 more since I started writing this sentence. Paul Cary is the kind of person that you find once a decade and has the uncanny knack to make you want to be better as a leader just so you can aspire to the level of leadership that he thrives in.
I know I will never ascertain that level and yet I still push to grow and be the kind of leader that John Wooden talked about. “The first few days of basketball practice,” he explained, “I would observe the players shooting the ball from various places on the court. When I determined the place they made the best percentage of shots, ‘their spot,’ I would take them to that place and say, ‘This is where I want you to shoot the ball. I will design plays to make sure that happens.”
Paul has helped so many find their spot and to excel. Samuel Johnson said, "Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess." One of Paul's strengths is that he seeks out what folks are doing well and helps them develop that skill.
Needless to say and if you can tell from my list, I have yet to find a place that Paul Cary can stand and not sink it. In that I am inspired. I have lived long enough to know that no one person is perfect or great at all things. It is that quiet ambition that Paul exemplifies. I do not even believe that it is intention.
I gained a great lesson from Paul and exemplified from these John Maxwell questions:
"• Is someone else doing what I am doing?
• Are they doing it well?
• Are they doing it better than I am?
• Can I become better than they are?
• If I do become better, what will be the result?
• If I don’t become better, what will be the result?"
I discovered that if I got out of his way, he made our entire team better and I gained that Wooden success reality in myself.
He lives by honor and a code that he
demonstrates in all that he does. That determined ambition is what I admire and
aspire to emulate. I believe that leaders find greatness in groups, as JohnMaxwell contends, and then helps the members find it in themselves. Paul
inspires that greatness through his deeds. The second part of that particular
of John Maxwell’s rule is that, “a leaders potential is determined by those
closest to them. “
This is the gift that I get from Paul as I have spent the last 50 plus years in these United States. I am grateful for being close to Paul and for his quiet ambition that helps me want to be a better leader, follower, and human. And I am happy to call him my good friend.
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Post Script - I previously wrote about PC's leadership style in my 40 Summers 40 Lessons series