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Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I remember reading a short story as an elementary student about a person who died in a blizzard, only a few yards from their home.  There are many similar accounts of people dying in blizzards, only a short distance from safety.

I can't help but draw an analogy between these literal blizzard-deaths and the figurative ones I've seen befall leaders in organizations.  The typical scenario is that circumstances/crises (i.e., blizzards) envelope these leaders, who end up being overwhelmed in the milieu.  They end up losing their credibility and/or position as a result.

It seems to me that two conditions portend these blizzard-deaths (both the literal kind and the figurative kind):

  1. The person/leader either loses or lets go of their moorings, their bearings.  In the literal deaths, they simply cannot see how close to home/safety they are because of the storm.  In the figurative blizzard-death, the leader loses touch with his/her moral anchors, his/her principles, and becomes "blinded" by the overwhelming crisis.
  2. In almost all these blizzard-death cases (both literal and figurative), the victim was trying to go it alone.  For whatever reason, they found themselves in the midst of an overwhelming storm, without others to help, support, and guide them.
We need not allow ourselves to succumb to those two conditions.  To avoid such tragedy we must 1) constantly renew and revisit our values, as they serve as beacons that guide us in overwhelming circumstances, and 2) cling to those who love, support, and sojourn with us, as they will be the ones to help us find our way through the inevitable storms.

The sun will come out, the warmth will return, but we'll only be there to enjoy both if we insulate ourselves against blizzard-death.

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