Community & Government

Prioritize What's Important

George W. Bush

Lesson time 13:26 min

Driving home his philosophy, President Bush shares how having a key set of values can help you set clear expectations and stay balanced.

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Topics include: President Bush talks consistently about values and priorities. In this lesson he drives it home, teaching us that defining a key set of values for oneself helps keep expectations clear and one's life in balance.


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Life requires prioritization, whether you're president, or whether you're the CEO of a company, or whether you're running some organization, it's essential to have priorities. To me, the most important priorities was my faith and my family and my friends. That may sound corny to some, but in setting those kinds of priorities, it helps you reorganize the rest of your life. People often ask, you were so busy as president, how could you possibly be a good father or a good friend? And I set that as a priority. I wanted to make sure my daughters knew that I loved them more than I loved what I was doing on a daily basis, which meant that was a priority. And so how do you set priorities? You figure out what's important to you. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think that part of being a leader is to develop self confidence, but not to the point of arrogance. A CEO of a company needs to understand that power affects people. They look at power, and sometimes it is a plus or a negative. The idea of a CEO lording power over somebody-- I'm powerful, you're not, you do it my way or else-- sends all kinds of terrible signals throughout an organization. Therefore, there's a key component of being a leader, and that is humility. Even though you're a powerful person, be humble enough to recognize that you've got plenty of weaknesses yourself, and be humble enough to be able to talk on the same level as people with whom you're interfacing. I think you've got to have a pretty big ego to run for president. I mean, only me out of 350 million of you, but the key thing is to keep your life in balance. I happen to believe religion helps keeping a sense of humility in your heart. I also know that power can corrupt. Not only is it corrupt when it comes to financial matters, for example, but it can corrupt vision. I am powerful, therefore, I am important. And the more important you think you are, the less important other people think you are. You know, I was fortunate. I was raised by people who were powerful people, who were strong willed people, but who were plenty humble. And during my presidency, there was always a governor on me, whether it be my mother or my wife. If I got too big for my britches, my mother would say, you're too big for your britches, boy. And Laura was very good about helping me keep the right balance between humility and arrogance. Donnie Evans was another person who comes to mind-- my long time friend who was capable of walking in and giving me an honest appraisal. I don't remember this, but he tells me that during the 2000 campaign I was getting unnecessarily irritable, and snapped at people. And somebody on the campaign said, we've got to find somebody to talk to George W. And my friend Evans flew to St. Louis and sat me down. He said, hey, man, if you're going to win this thing, you've got to be a little more thoughtful. And it was a case of a friend who I trusted telling me what's what. It's r...

About the Instructor

Step inside the Oval Office with the newest instructor in our White House series, President George W. Bush. With insight from former First Lady Laura Bush, the former commander in chief opens up about the tough calls and life lessons that shaped his career. Develop and own a leadership style that’s true to you and learn to lead by connecting personally with everyone in the room.

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