I went to the 5×15 stories event this week. It was the most inspiring evening I’ve been to in a long time.
Karren Brady, former MD of Birmingham Football Club and current Vice-Chairperson of West Ham spoke about leadership. She spoke about being a woman in a man’s world, and turning around a business (Birmingham) that went from debt to being sold for £82 million in a little over 10 years. The six characteristics of leadership she mentioned are worth remembering: leadership (which is about inspiring people and shouldn’t be confused with management), ambition (a personal desire to do your best all the time), determination, attitude (‘if you can, change it. If you can’t, change your attitude), direction (everyone needs to understand what is expected of them) and being positive (hanging on when everyone has let go). She quoted Martin Luther King:
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
I was very excited to see Mick Ebeling because I think Project Daniel is brilliant. He spoke about that of course but also about the idea of impossible. He mentioned Roger Bannister and the 4-minute mile, saying that it had never been broken till he did, and then after that, it was broken multiple times in a very short span of time. So,
Impossible isn’t about impossible, it’s about permission.
Pam Warhurst spoke about Incredible Edible Todmorden, and
Believing in the power of small actions
Mike Goody, a former RAF soldier who lost a leg in Afghanistan and is an incredible sportsman nevertheless, spoke about his journeys, his mental strength and the Invictus Games. He quoted the poem ‘Invictus‘ by William Ernest Henley. It’s a moving poem, but I will always remember the last two lines that Mike read out:
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul
Hearing Ranulph Fiennes speak is knowing you are in the presence of a legend. He is the only man alive to have ever travelled the earth’s circumpolar circumference, and his expeditions and adventures are truly jaw-dropping. Videos of him on the North Face of the Eiger (as someone who has fears heights) and sailing from South to North Pole at a time when there was no modern gadgetry: GPS, phones, etc. were as inspiring as they were nerve-racking.
So, yes, after all that if I can’t and won’t do anything, I have only myself to blame.