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“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
                                                                                                       Nelson Mandela

Your beliefs govern your choices.

Justin Chadwick’s film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom chronicles Nelson Mandela’s early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President. When Mandela was questioned about the possibility of taking revenge on those who had committed atrocities, he replied:

“I admit I want revenge, but I want something more than that… that is to live without fear and hatred.”

His response “but I want something more” gives us an insight into one of the greatest leaders of his generation. He openly acknowledged his natural human feelings and responses to what had happened, but his overriding desire was for something better. It was his choice.

Your beliefs govern your choices. Your choices, not your situation, determine your character.

Your character as a leader will have a more telling impact upon your organisation, customers and people than your ability to manage the profit and loss, launch your latest product or even pull off a stellar acquisition. Whatever is at the top of an organisation filters down, as sure as water flows down the mountain.

What do you really want? What do you want to be the character of your organisation? Which of your personal characteristics do you want to promote or relegate?

How do you respond to the Mandela challenge? What is the “something more” that you want?

Why not write it down.  Better still, tell a trusted friend or colleague.



This blog has been adapted from Leaders’ Journal: 40 days of self coaching which is now available on Amazon.