16 Mar Act Courageously
At Team Tipton, our partnerships with so many transformational leaders has given us insight into some patterns that seem to hold true across different fields and situations. We wrote about them originally in the post the 5 Essential Behaviors of a Transformational Change Leaders, and we try to live by them in our work:
- Act Courageously
- Demonstrate Authentic Optimism
- Collaborate Through Empathy
- Operate from Principles, Not Polls
- Radiate Passion for Purpose
It’s a challenging time in our nation and world, so we’re going to use our next few blog posts to inspire you with stories of leaders demonstrating these behaviors in amazing ways
On Tuesday, February 13th, 2018, a pair of ice skaters entered the rink in Gangneung, South Korea to skate their short program in front of the Olympic judges. By now, the story arc of an Olympic athlete is fairly well known, though it rarely fails to produce those inspired chills (cue the music): A kid has a dream, a family makes sacrifices, the athlete overcomes, and here they are in front of the world with a shot at making that dream come true. It never gets old. Those stories make us feel with those athletes, all the excitement and pride, and the expectations, pressures and fear that go along with competing on an international stage.
But the challenges faced by Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik as they began their short program took on a whole new dimension. As the only North Koreans competing in the Olympics that earned their place through normal competitive channels, they carried with them the weight of nearly 70 years of bitter conflict between their country and the mostly South Korean audience looking on. Though the South Korean hosts received the North Korean team with warmth, segregation such as the North and South Korean populations experience breeds fear, mistrust, or at the very least, caution. To the global audience watching on our screens, the skaters represented a nation that has come to symbolize isolation, authoritarianism and violence.
Take just a moment to put yourself in Tae-ok’s and Ju-sik’s skates. They entered that rink with all the same emotions as any other athlete, with the added weight of the world’s assumptions and expectations about them and their country. For many people, the fear they faced would be crippling. But that’s not what happened. If you haven’t seen their performance, you should. The pair was the picture of grace, pure joy and profound courage – and they achieved the best scores of their career.
Like Tae-ok and Ju-sik, a transformational leader doesn’t let fear of failure, or fear of what others will think, or fear of not being good enough rule their actions. Rather, a transformational leader accepts that fear is a part of life and works through it.
It is not fear itself that has the power to shut us down and make us smaller than our true potential, it’s our response to it. We all have a choice to give in and let it rule us, or to acknowledge the fear, examine what it has to teach us, and move on. Last month in Gangneung, we saw what doing so can achieve.
Until next time, let’s act courageously…
All our best,