Joseph Lalonde specializes in helping young leaders grow their leadership capacities. He presented me with an analogy that I think is perfect for this discordant time. Here are Joseph’s words:
There’s Nothing “Fishy” about Resilient Leadership
Have you ever watched a movie and a quote stuck with you? That happened to me with a movie released in 2003, Finding Nemo.
In this animated Disney production, a young clownfish named Nemo lives with his father, Marlin, in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Sadly, Nemo has a bum fin which make his father hesitant about letting his son explore the big, beautiful ocean. Marlin is scared he will lose Nemo just like he lost his wife to a barracuda attack. Dory, a royal blue tang, is Nemo’s best friend with whom he confides his desire to leave “home” and explore.
A frenzied shark attack separates Nemo from Marlin and Dory. The young clownfish is scooped up and placed in an aquarium at an Australian dentist's office, leaving Marlin and Dory to set about on a frenzied search for Nemo. (If you’ve ever been a parent, you know the terror of hunting for a missing child.)
The search seems endless and futile. Marlin becomes discouraged, grumpy, and tempted to give up. But Dory has three little words to boost Marlin’s sagging spirits: "Just keep swimming." "Just keep swimming” becomes a repeated mantra for a storybook ending.
What’s this got to do with leadership in discordant times? Everything,
Today, there are days in which anyone in a leadership position might feel tempted to give-up, to turn around, to accept defeat. However, when a leader is moving toward a greater good, toward something more than personal reward, just keep swimming is perfect advice.
Despite setback and frustration, leaders who just keep swimming won’t stop when the going gets tough, when the seas are rough, and sharks threaten.
“Just keep swimming” reminds us that resilience is the ability to grow THROUGH challenge even though success seems a mirage. The world is a tough place. It can be ugly and leading can be hard. BUT, if the end goal is important enough, personal enough, and big enough—like finding a lost son—Dory’s advice is solid:
"Just keep swimming’"
Joseph Lalonde is an award-winning leadership blogger. He helps young leaders understand what it takes to become a leader and not give up. He does this by sharing his own leadership experiences and Reel Leadership lessons (leadership lessons from the movies). You can connect with Joseph on Twitter.