Ernest Shackleton and the men he was leading on an expedition to cross Antarctica had piled up a breathtaking number of life-threatening crucibles by late 1915. Stuck motionless in polar block ice for months, hundreds of miles off course with no way to communicate their location to anyone who could help, Shackleton and his men were running low on the supplies they had already been forced to ration in miserly fashion when their greatest disaster struck: The ice that had trapped their ship now closed in to crush it, leaving the men fully exposed to the bitter cold with no choice but to traverse the ice floes that surrounded them in desperate search of safety.
Nancy Koehn was on track for an administrative leadership role at Harvard Business School, where she taught the history of leadership to the world’s best and brightest. But a series of personal crucibles — the death of her father, a divorce that came without warning and decimated her finances, a cancer diagnosis — caused the floorboards of her personal and professional lives to crumble beneath her.
Life has not always been easy for Warwick Fairfax. That’s a statement many in his native Australia never would have associated with the fifth-generation heir to arguably the country’s most influential media empire. But then he launched a multi-billion-dollar takeover of the company that failed spectacularly — leaving him with regrets, self-doubt and uncertainty about his future. More than 30 years after the takeover fell apart, the founder of Crucible Leadership and host of BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE will speak in detail for the first time about what motivated his bid to assume control of the company and why he thinks it wasn’t successful in a book from Morgan James Publishing due to be released early next year.
A crisis is the ultimate test of your leadership and your character, in particular in your ability to maintain the cohesion of your team. A crisis can be a bit like a centrifuge, which tends to push people away, and dissipate team unity. Whether the team drifts apart or comes together is largely dependent on you, the leader.
Growing up in Communist East Germany, Cathleen Merkel was taught her value came from doing what others expected of her, working hard and not upsetting the established order of things. Then the Berlin Wall fell, and she grew from a girl into a woman with dreams and passions of living a free and successful life. There was just one problem: the goals she pursued professionally and personally dead-ended a couple of times and didn’t really fulfill her even when they were going well. So she took a deep look at herself, asked close friends to help her see where she’d veered off course and finally discovered who she really was and what vision she wanted to cast for her life.
Tommy Breedlove isn’t one to make excuses. Yes, the physical and emotional violence he endured as a boy led him to become violent himself as a teen, landing him in jail for his 19th birthday. But when he was mentored by a fellow inmate and inspired to avoid another trip behind bars, he took responsibility for his recovery.
Conflict and leadership frequently go hand-in-hand. Add to the mix a global pandemic that comes with stay-at-home orders, shuttered schools and remote working, and millions find themselves living day-to-day in a powder keg of anxiety and stress. How best to navigate this unprecedented confluence of circumstances to minimize its affect on your family relationships and your business’s bottom line? Crucible Leadership founder and BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE host Warwick Fairfax and podcast co-host Gary Schneeberger discuss the indispensable role grace and tolerance play in not just avoiding flare-ups, but encouraging each other at a time when encouragement is more essential than ever.
For 11 harrowing years, Ed Kressy descended deeper and deeper into the madness of methamphetamine addiction. From believing the FBI was trying to pin the 9/11 attacks on him, to not bathing or brushing his teeth for months, to considering himself married to the voices in his head that tormented his thoughts, his grip on reality slipped away a little more each day. It was a far cry from the life he had known, he tells Crucible Leadership founder and BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE host Warwick Fairfax: a college education, a good job, home ownership in San Francisco. But then the alcohol he turned to in his teens to feel like “there was something I was good at” finally caught up to him, fueling his hellish cycle of helplessness and hopelessness. It was only after actually getting arrested by the FBI that he found his way back through the combined power of spirituality, self-improvement and service.
We live in an almost unprecedented time of stress and anxiety with the global pandemic of the coronavirus. We don’t know how long this crisis will last, when there will be approved safe remedies to treat the virus or still less when there will be an approved vaccine. Many have been furloughed from work, unsure how long their businesses will be able to survive and how long they will have jobs, assuming they still have jobs.
She never really had a chance to dream about what her life could be before a tragic car accident at 11 in her native Taiwan left Michelle Kuei with physical and emotional scars that plagued her for 30 years. When her body stopped growing after the crash, her mind started racing with how she would never be “normal.” It wasn’t just that friendships and romance were hard — grocery shopping was near-impossible: she couldn’t grab anything to put in her cart without first discarding her crutches, and items on even the middle shelves were beyond her reach. But everything changed when she set her mind to fighting through the pain and fear and took up hiking, a pursuit that resulted in her ascending the peak of Machu Picchu and learning that she wasn’t just normal, she had extraordinary in her. Finding the diamond inside her rough circumstances, she tells Crucible Leadership founder and BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE host Warwick Fairfax, led her into a rewarding coaching career in which she helps negative self-talkers discover inner strength and beauty by overcoming their fear of judgments. “Each and every one of us,” she explains, “is a gift to this world.”