Apologies upfront to some people who might fear death by quotes on Linked In, however there is an interesting & real backstory, so read on …
Another saying, for Nelson Mandela fans, which really resonates with me:
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
I lived in South Africa through the tail-end of apartheid & personally saw many atrocities there in the name of “freedom fighting”. I very narrowly missed being killed by a bomb placed on the bus I was travelling on but was too full so decided to get off again at the next stop. I was also directly held up at gun point at an ATM & had my bank account emptied of all funds; both very distressing occurrences. However, I lived to tell the tale & consciously decided to forgive those who thought it necessary to cause such harm.
I was fortunate enough to witness first-hand how Nelson Mandela played such a pivotal role in changing SA & his personal emergence as an ambassador of peace was incredibly powerful. His ability to lead as well as forgive people taught me valuable lessons. He is quoted as saying “ Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.” It wasn’t easy for me to forgive as I was very angry & frightened at the time, but without gaining that ability to forgive I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
We all have to make conscious decisions on how we react to a situation & Nelson Mandela was the role model for my decision to forgive the violent behaviour against me at the ATM and the passengers killed on that bus. He was also an ardent believer in equal rights and the potential of people of all origins & backgrounds. He possessed an unshakeable belief in the power of empathy, honesty & dialogue, in order to heal. He was committed to building bridges between people & nations & anything that spoke of division, not unity.
He clearly had a very profound effect on me and all the leadership qualities he embodied have shaped my work-life purpose, my own style of leadership & now my practice of coaching leadership skills.
Don’t underestimate how impactful being a great role model can be on other people’s lives. However, in any official leadership position then there is a duty to those within your care to be that great role model for them, so learn the skills and practice great leadership. You don’t know who you might be inspiring!