General Rebecca Halstead is a leader of immense accomplishment, integrity, tenacity and selflessness. Becky is the first female graduate of West Point Academy to be promoted to General Officer, she spent 27 years in the United States Army, founded her own leadership company, and authored 24/7: The First Person You Must Lead Is YOU.
With all of these accolades, it’s no wonder her nickname in the army was “the energizer bunny.” And in today’s episode, she has a lot to share with you about how she got to where she is.
Being a prominent female member of the United States Army, Becky said she did face many challenges, some due to her sex. But along the way, she reminded herself that as long as she was staying true to her core values, and seeking to earn others’ respect, she couldn’t go wrong. Even when they refused to give it to her.
“At some point, you have to figure out not to invest your time, and most importantly your energy, in trying to change someone who’s not willing to change themselves.”
While quarantined at home, as most of us were during the coronavirus outbreak, Becky had time to go through the many files she saved from West Point. And in one, she found a note from a ‘57 graduate of West Point, commending her for a speech of hers that he attended. He said after hearing her talk, he completely changed his views on having women in the armed forces. It reminded Becky how just one person can be the catalyst for change in another’s life.
“When you’re going through fear, it seems like the worst fear you’ve ever had,” Becky said. “The current fear is to prepare you for the future fear. Because there’s always going to be more fear, unfortunately.”
She thought back on her days as a cadet, when she was being constantly screamed at. She was terrified. Then, something in her brain switched. She realized, “this is a game.”
It wasn’t as if she didn’t have bad days. In fact, looking back at her old steno pads, she said most of the earlier entries had “I hate it here. I want to go home,” scrawled across the page. But she knew she couldn’t let down her friends, family, or herself. And she persevered.
Faith as Fuel
Becky’s nickname in the army was “the energizer bunny.” How does she keep herself going at such a rapid pace? She said it’s all about the strength of her belief system and her faith.
“I’m very vocal about the fact that faith is my foundation. It has been my whole life.”
In fact, etched on Becky’s Dog tags is Joshua 1:9 – Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
“Growing up in a farming community, going to church five times a week, everything was about serving others. Before you can begin to lead you have to serve.”
It’s a mantra Becky has emulated in all aspects of her career, and life, and especially with the Steadfast system she developed for her leadership company:
TRUST AND TENACITY
ENCOURAGE AND EMBRACE
ATTITUDE AND APPROACHABILITY
FAMILY, FRIENDS AND FAITH
Becky took those roots with her throughout her career, ensuring she was involving those she led, at all levels, in discussions that would affect their jobs. Though it was sometimes unconventional to do so in the army, she felt it was a form of servant leadership.
Connect with Becky
Becky recommends you read: John Maxwell’s Leadership Bible