Welcome to the last post in my A Few Unexpected Heroes series.
In this series, I write about the 4 different kinds of heroes you may not have heard me talk about before. So far, I’ve introduced you to Edna Mode, Bugs Bunny, and Audrey Hepburn (Part One & Part Two). Click on each to get all the goodies about these special “mentors.”
I’ve saved the best for last.
He’s a hero on my website because I need a mentor like this in my life. He was someone who was called to a great destiny at a very early age, and he knew it. In spite of his unhappy childhood, he never wavered with this tremendous responsibility and he was relentless in his pursuit to realize it – and he did so while keeping his mind focused, his wit sharp and his heart soft.
Yes, I call on Sir Winston Churchill when I know it’s time to win step in and do the impossible, even when everyone around me doesn’t want to believe me – or like me.
There are many, many fabulous books about this amazing man, and I’ve had the joy of reading quite a few of them.
Since this is a blog and not a research paper (or another book) :), through painstaking effort, I had to choose only a few of the innumerable lessons I learned from him. Even so (and even though I only lightly touch on a few key points), there is so much great material that this blog will need to be divided into 3 different parts.
And the only way I can fathom even writing this blog in a way that would do justice to this great leader is to start by using his own words. It would be presumptuous of me to do otherwise.
So, here’s Part 1. May you be inspired, encouraged and emboldened by this amazing man and his life.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill
“We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow worm.”
I wanted to start with this quote because this is one of the most powerful statements I have ever read written by a leader about himself, especially a great leader! I don’t even know how to unpack the profundity of this sentence without writing dozens of pages about it. But alas, this is a blog, so here goes.
In a tiny nutshell: this statement is so compelling because you can immediately see his heart, brilliance, wisdom, character, revelation, humility, breadth, depth, wit, mastery of language, and calling.
- He acknowledges the simplicity, frailty and foolishness of man, but simultaneously, also our uniqueness, complexity, and rarity.
- He reminds us we too can be a rare light for others.
- He knows his own limitations, and how insignificant he is, but he also knows the largeness of his destiny.
- He is keenly aware there is something special about his life, and he doesn’t apologize for it. This is HUGE and something we can learn all learn from.
- He uses the word He didn’t say, “think,” “wonder,” “suppose,” or any other suppositional verbs. He not only believes he is special, he knows it.
“The first quality that is needed is audacity.”
Winston Churchill had a very unhappy childhood. He was unloved by his parents, sent away (albeit to school, but he was essentially discarded), ignored, and ridiculed often – by his parents.
- Anyone would use these circumstances as a case for self-pity and wear it proudly as a badge, but he had better things to do. He had a great destiny to fulfill. Listening to small minded people who could not grasp big vision was not going to get him to where he was going. Little did he know that his rightful honorary badges would come later.
- Regardless of his many attempts to build a relationship with his parents, none was to be had. Instead of wallowing in victimhood, he drew strength from it. He knew the calling on his life from an early age, and he used this “knowing” to fuel him through every circumstance.
- He knew his More, owned his More and lived his More, AUDACIOUSLY!
- It’s not enough to be called a leader. If you’re going to take on this role, then be a GREAT leader! (As a side note – we are ALL leaders. You are leading people all the time by what you say and do.). Great leaders need not only confidence, they also need a tender heart, guarded well by a steel backbone and a steel-trap mind.
- Were it not for Winston Churchill, we would not be living in the free world right now. He had to be audacious because his enemies – and his frenemies – were many. They were loud, they were determined, and they were dangerous.
- My corollary to this point is another one of his quotes that I love:
“Courage is rightly esteemed as the first of human qualities…
because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”
- We can be audacious, but if we don’t have the courage to execute, then our audacity is just pompous impudence.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
- Because Winston Churchill was a courageous leader, he was a leader of “world courage.” When he spoke, not only did his own nation listen, nations around the world listened. And when they listened, they had hope. By gripping tightly to his courage, they found their own to do the seemingly impossible – to defeat Hitler and his seemingly undefeatable military.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
If you’ve lived one day on this planet, you know that difficult times come. The problem for some is when these times come, they make camp there – or live there.
- Winston Churchill reminds us to keep putting one foot in front of the other – to keep looking ahead…to fail forward.
- My corollary to this point is another one of his quotes:
“I never worry about action, but only about inaction.”
- Do something. Keep trying. Don’t settle and certainly don’t stop and camp in passivity, doing-nothingness, pessimism, or self-defeating thoughts. You’ll only dig yourself deeper into a rut, which will only be harder to climb out of.
- Action requires momentum. It’s harder to move forward from a dead stop (inertia). It’s easier to turn a car when it’s moving.
I hope you’re beginning to notice why Sir Winston Churchill was such a great leader, and like him, how our simple, unremarkable, and even difficult early beginnings can be used to launch us into a greater future.
Our stories can all be great stories. Just stay in action!
See you next week for part 2!
In joyful loving service,
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