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Shackleton, Reagan, Leadership, Careers, Challenges...

Shackleton's Way...

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"Determination and Willpower"

"How they survived I dare not imagine. Determination and willpower."
Walter How - Sailmaker, Endurance


Key Lesson: Seek inspiration in enduring wisdom that has comforted or motivated you or others in times of crisis. It will get you through the most physically and emotionally draining times and help you to keep your perspective.


Shackleton sought inspiration in poetry and the Bible. What sources of inspiration do you tap into when facing a challenge?

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Shackleton 101

"There was nothing petty in his own nature. The one thing he demanded was cheerfulness from us all; and what he received from every man serving under him was absolute loyalty."

Leonard D. A. Hussey - Meteorologist, Endurance and Quest

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"The Toughest Trial of His Life"

Jim Lovell

"Capt. Lovell was the same age as Shackleton, forty-two, when he, too, faced the toughest trial of his life. ... With just fifteen minutes of power left for the life-support systems, the men were forced to abandon ship for the tiny lunar module, beginning an intense four-day struggle to survive. The module was designed to sustain only two men for forty-five hours. The Apollo 13 crew, under the direction of Mission Control in Houston, would have to turn it into a lifeboat that would accommodate three men for twice that time."

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"I Was Shipwrecked"

My great, great grandfather's well-thumbed Bible.

He had it with him at the Battle of Vicksburg.

Challenges like Shackleton's and Capt. Lovell's bring to mind 2 Cor 11:25, Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and day in the open sea.

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Another "Successful Failure"

"Houston, we have a problem."

     Capt. James A. Lovell Jr. has something in common with Shackleton, having been the leader of another famous "successful failure" as NASA dubbed the ill-fated Apollo 13 flight. The 1970 mission never landed on the moon as planned, but with the benefit of level-headed leadership, optimism, determination, and the hard work of all involved it returned to Earth without any loss of life, overcoming nearly impossible odds.

      "People like Shackleton and myself are individuals who can take on challenges, challenges that might include the unexpected," Lovell says. "You go in knowing everything is not going to work, and if you can think of things that can go wrong you can 'think ahead.'"    

     The astronaut reflected on his ordeal in space during a trip to the Antarctic in January 2000 to visit the National Science Foundation's station at the South Pole. Beforehand, Capt. Lovell had read about Shackleton and what he calls his "miraculous leadership" he showed in rescuing the crew of the Endurance.

     "I think he took the same attitude we took on Apollo 13. You have to look forward as long as there is a chance," Capt. Lovell says of the Antarctic explorer.

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Celebrating Apollo 11

Gene Kranz, former Flight Director, NASA,

back at Mission Control.


For an author, life doesn't get any better than this...


"Shackleton's Way is filled with gritty examples on the nature of high risk leadership. The characteristics of leadership by example, teambuilding and the spirit needed to overcome great obstacles and sustain a team under stress are well defined in Shackleton's Way. This book would have been required reading for my flight directors and mission controllers."

Gene Kranz, former Flight Director, NASA

Author, NYT bestseller Failure Is Not an Option

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