Fred Rogers: Leading by Listening


“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”

Fred Rogers (1928-2003), The World According to Mr. Rogers (2003)



“But part of Fred Rogers’ genius was knowing that kids have an insatiable desire to make sense of the world. Unlike too many adults who prefer to deal with problems by pretending they don’t exist, children want answers. If answers aren’t available, they at least want their questions taken seriously.” 

–  Dr. Bruce Weinstein, CEO of the Institute for High-Character Leadership

Source text: “How Mister Rogers Can Make You a More Effective Leader” in

For more about Fred Rogers, please see Fred Rogers Productions.

Your path? It’s not what you expect.


“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987), American mythologist and Professor of Literature; author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)









Note — These images were obtained from the Joseph Campbell Foundation website.

“be careful not to quit too soon”



Elizabeth Gilbert (b. 1969), American authorBig Magic

Source text is Big Magic (2015), p. 247

One of my favorite TED talks is Gilbert’s Your elusive creative genius, which was recorded in February 2009. If you possess even a shred of interest in the subject of Elizabeth Gilbertcreativity, you will benefit from watching her 19-minute talk. Elizabeth Gilbert is such a dear, genuine, and inspiring figure. One day I hope to meet her.

Note — This image of Gilbert was obtained from the TED website.

“poet of goodness…of wickedness also”



Walt Whitman (1819-1892), “Song of Myself” (1855 edition), lines 466-467

WhitmanRegardless of your feelings about poetry, I think you can’t help but smile when one of America’s most pioneering literary voices admits that he is not all unicorns and rainbows. In his free-verse epic “Song of Myself,” Whitman readily acknowledges his mischievous dark side, too. The phrase “poet of wickedness” is delightfully sinister.

This photo of the then thirty-five-year-old poet, which was taken in 1854, was obtained from the Library of Congress website.