The worldwide outpouring of gratitude for the life of Nelson Mandela upon his death is testament not only to his role in leading South Africa out of Apartheid, it speaks to way he lead his life and the legacy he leaves the world. For all of his leadership accomplishments the one that resonates the most with me is his ability to transform “what it” into something better.
Each of us has issues, problems or barriers in our lives that we don’t like. For Mandela they were serious and severe from systematized racial discrimination to nearly three decades of imprisonment, arguably more that most of us will, thankfully, have to face; and yet, despite the hardships he allowed these experiences to compel him upward, to open his heart and to embrace those that created the problem so that everyone could move beyond it.
Leadership at its very best allows the “what is” to serve as the impetus for becoming a better person—and that Mandela did beautifully. His hardships became fodder for his compassion and that inspiration transformed millions. No greater example of leadership—love in action, has graced our world. Thank you Nelson Mandela for the life you lived and led, your example of true leadership will live on.