By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea that will inspire you to prevail in tough times.
Woe is me! You hear that lament a lot these days. The Pity Party is alive and well and threatens to rob you and me of our spirit, our conviction, our hope –in essence our leadership.
Not so fast Pity Mouth! Let’s scan the history books to recall how other leaders prevailed in tough circumstances, in times of illness or injury. Let’s rekindle our fortitude in frustrating times.
Whenever I’m tempted to attend the Pity Party, I think of Patty Duke playing Helen Keller in the Broadway play and later in the movie The Miracle Worker. What an amazing portrayal on screen and on the Broadway stage of a truly inspiring life. Helen Keller turned her personal adversity into a personal triumph. Consider the facts:
- As a two-year-old, Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing.
- By age seven, Helen Keller could not see, hear or speak.
- By age 25, Helen Keller spoke English, French and German. She read Latin and Greek and she graduated with honors from Radcliffe College (in four years).
- Still blind and deaf, Helen Keller became the first woman to earn at Honorary degree at Harvard University.
- Helen Keller went on to write 12 books.
- Helen Keller became an accomplished public speaker for nearly 50 years.
And all of that success thanks to the leadership of Anne Sullivan, the tutor who helped Helen break through her dark and silent world with sheer persistence–even defiance —against the odds. Consider this scene between Helen’s father and Annie, the tutor.
Giving Up is The Original Sin
Father : “I think you ask too much of her (Helen Keller) and yourself. God may not have meant Helen to have the eyes you speak of.”
Tutor: “I mean her to.”
Father: “Sometime or later we all give up, don’t we?
Tutor: “Maybe you do. But it’s my idea of The Original Sin.”
Father: “What is?”
Tutor: “Giving Up.”
Ann Bancroft who played the tutor in the play and the movie, echoes the don’t-give-up mantra of all leaders. I try to recall that scene in my mind every time I feel like giving up. Then I say to myself: Forget the Pity Party, just like:
Replacing Insight for Eye Sight
- Samuel Johnson who was blind in one eye yet spent nine years writing the first modern English dictionary.
- John Turnbull who had only one eye yet the artist became the creator of historic painting including the Declaration of Independence.
Overcoming Paralysis for Outstanding Performance
- Louis Pasteur whose left leg and arm were paralyzed yet he discovered the cure for rabies.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was stricken with polio at age 39 and yet he became president of the United States.
- Itzhak Perlman who was paralyzed with polio at the age of four yet he became a famous violinist.
Strive against the odds to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
You might also like these previous Leadership Mints on prevailing over Adversity.
Turning Your Weakness Into Your Strength
Adversity Can Spark Exemplary Performance
Keep Hope Alive No Matter The Score
Hope: A 4-Letter Word To Swear By
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