Watch our three-minute video on leading through the ups and downs of life, or if you prefer reading, the transcript is below.

Today I want to talk a bit about the ups and downs of life, and what all that’s got to do with leadership.

Six months ago, both of my children were diagnosed with autism and a range of other special needs. And around the same time, my wonderful, wonderful Father-in-law passed away with Covid. Fast forward six months and we’ve relaunched the Jester business. We’ve also had news that my youngest son has been offered a place at a phenomenal specialist school, which we’ve been hoping for for a long time. 

It’s really easy to get sucked into this way of thinking that today’s a good day, today’s a ‘good news’ day. There’s happy staff, positive vibes and the feeling that those days six months ago were bad days, negative days. But think of the amazing words of Kipling and his poem ‘If’.
‘If we can meet triumph and disaster and treat both of those imposters the same.’ 

What does that really mean? For me, it’s all about learning. Whether we’re having a good day, a bad day, whatever is going on externally for us, remember that life is 90% how you react to stuff and 10% about what happens to you. It is so true.

So what’s all this got to do with leadership?

How do you react to stuff as a leader? Are you looking for the learnings? Are you role modelling those amazing behaviours of positivity, self-learning, student-forever mentality, whether there’s tough stuff or good stuff going on around you? Do you feel able to be vulnerable, to be how you feel with the people around you, and in doing so give them permission to do the same?

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a really senior person at a huge global bank a number of years ago. He shared with me that it took him 15 years to tell anyone at work that he had a special needs son.

15 years.

I don’t know about you but that blows my head off.

As a leader, how do you show up in a way that let people know that it’s ok to bring their challenge and bring their bad days? And how well do you role model taking a positive attitude and helping others to learn through some of the challenges that are going on around them?

Have a think about that as a leader. How are you showing up? How are you dealing with challenges? How are you learning yourself every day and helping others to learn around you?

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