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Leading through a Disaster

Picture 28 haggard, exhausted men standing on an ice-floe. They are hundreds of miles from civilization. There is no hope of rescue. They watch in silence as their shattered ship sinks to the bottom of the sea.

One man described the scene, "It gave one a sickening sensation to see it, for even mast-less and useless as she was, she was still a welcome landmark and a link to civilization. Without her, our destitution seems more acute; our isolation more complete.

It was going to take an extraordinary leader to get them through the ordeal that lay ahead. Fortunately, they had that leader in Shackleton.

That day as the men watched Endurance sink, Shackleton stood slightly apart from the rest. He later confided to Frank Wild, his able second-in-command, that it was the saddest moment of his life.

But when the ship finally disappeared, he turned around and seeing the worried faces of his crew, he said to them. "So, now we'll go home."

In that one short sentence, he gave them a goal and a vision. He redirected their attention away from the painful scene in front of them toward a positive outcome. And, most importantly, he communicated to them his own optimism.

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A "strange contrast"

As the days darken earlier in the northern hemisphere, we can relate to Shackleton's words in South and marvel at the extraordinary cheerfulness of the Endurance crew... "A fine aurora in the evening

"An enjoyable concert..."

Hurley's Journal - November 25, 1915 We have quite an enjoyable concert on our own in the tent this evening. We invited several of our friends, and Hussey's banjo is indispensable. The boss has a sli

Entertainment on the ice

Macklin's Journal - November 24, 1915 (excerpt) Retired to our sleeping-bags replete and very contented. After getting into our bags most of us produce mending materials and do whatever requires to be

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