by Dcn. Michael Hyatt
From November 2008!
Thankfully, the election is over. We now have clarity about who is going to lead our country for the next four years. I have never personally witnessed such excitement and hopefulness following an election (though I acknowledge that not everyone shared that sentiment).
However, the problems still remain. The stock market fell precipitously yesterday. In fact, it was the biggest post-election decline in history. I am not sure that this is so much a response to President Obama as it is a reflection of the fact that the economic environment is still enormously turbulent.
So is the glass half empty or half full? The truth is, both.
In times like these, leaders must do two things simultaneously:
- Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.
- Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties.
This is what author Jim Collins refers to as “The Stockdale Paradox.” In his book, Good to Great, he tells the story of Admiral James Stockdale, who was a prisoner of war for eight years during the Vietnam War.
Great leaders simultaneously embrace these twin truths of their current reality and their ultimate triumph.
After his release, a reporter asked Admiral Stockdale,
“How in the world did you survive eight years in a prisoner of war camp?”
“I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that we would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event in my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”
The reporter then asked,
“Who didn’t make it out?”