Leadership Day

And you qualify

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”*

How was your President’s Day yesterday?

I began re-reading William Manchester’s exhaustive 3-volume biography of Winston Churchill. Churchill is one of history’s most unlikely heroes, for many reasons, a few of which I’ve shared previously in this blog.

President’s Day was originally created to honor America’s first President, George Washington, who cared more about the country he had helped create than his own personal power and thus gave America an enduring example that the world still notes with envy and awe.

Over time, President’s Day has also been used to honor Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is on February 12.

So what does the Prime Minister of England during World War II have to do with the American celebration of two of their greatest leaders?

Churchill believed so strongly that his life was meant for a great purpose that he felt he could not be killed before that purpose was realized. He believed a Power greater than his own, or any others’ on earth, would protect him until his destiny was reached.

So did Abraham Lincoln.

Each led their country through an existential threat.

And make no mistake, this leadership was not a small thing; these men were not coincidental accidents of history floating along on the tide of events. Without them, neither England nor America would have survived. They were the pivotal figures in the survival of their nations.

Churchill and Lincoln share another interesting trait: both suffered from severe clinical depression yet still managed to find the will to endure and to inspire and lead millions of their citizens through the darkest days either had known.

Any of us can appear confident and calm when we’re winning, when life is flowing along smoothly.

The test of leadership is finding the inner strength to spread confidence and hope when we’ve just been knocked down and bloodied, when we’ve gotten that terrifying call from our doctor, when someone we’ve loved and upon whom we’ve counted suddenly dies, when the test comes with significant risk to life and reputation.

It’s difficult for me to believe it a coincidence that at every one of the greatest testing points of our form of government, here and across the pond, we have found the most extraordinary — the most unlikely — leaders waiting, willing to step up and lead the charge.

To share their courage and their faith that we will get through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, scarred perhaps, but victors.

I don’t know what is within your heart. No one does, except you.

But, if you hear your heart whispering a story that feels terrifying and inexplicable, don’t falter. Don’t be afraid.


Your destiny, your purpose, may make a difference in the lives of millions, or it may change only one. Who can say that one purpose is greater than the other, especially if that one life becomes a Lincoln or a Churchill?

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”*

You are the only person in the world with your voice and your gifts. That is not accidental.

Use them. Become everything you are meant to be, because as the hero of yesterday’s blog pointed out, “Your job is to awaken possibility in other people.

That is leadership. That is destiny.




* ~ Jack Canfield