Conviction – A Leadership Lesson From Aung San Suu Kyi
Your calling! What is it? Is it just a thought and a dream, or a deep conviction – unshakable and undeterred?
A champion for democracy in Burma, Ang San Suu Kyi was a political prisoner for over 15 years, jailed by a military regime that brought tyranny to their country. She persisted, unshakable in her determination to see her country through this journey to freedom.
Freed in 2010, she came to the US in mid-September of 2012 for an official visit as her country was finally taking the right steps toward a free society.
A magnificent leader and a remarkable human being, I saw her recently being interviewed by my favorite interviewer, Charlie Rose.
I was struck by her depth of character and her clarity of thought. I was inspired by the degree of passion and conviction she had for the cause of democracy in Burma. I watched and took notes! One statement in particular really struck me.
As Charlie was exploring with her how people’s opinions of her have changed and impacted her life, she said,
If you let people’s opinions of yourself, whether favorable or unfavorable, impact your sense of responsibility, then it is not as firm as it ought to be. - Aung San Suu Kyi
She explained how she suffered much but was determined and resolute. She further described how when you have a sense of mission and duty, you should be willing to withstand external pressure. She talked about the great journey she believed in, she was clear about, and she would strongly promote for the rest of her life.
What is the lesson for us?
You are leading your family, your team, your church, your city, or your country. As you are moving forward in your life journey I ask you:
- What is that great place you want to lead your circle of influence (fill in the blank here… friendship, relationship, kids, spouse, team, organization) toward?
- Have you studied and thought, prayed and fought to have clarity of that vision?
- What are you willing to sacrifice to see that through? Unpopularity? Hard work? Prison?
Your world is calling you today, yes you, and saying: “Take us somewhere great! Take us on a great journey!”
Leaders are needed! You are needed to lead! Aung San Suu Kyi is a quiet gentle soul. Leadership does not need a noisy approach or a person of might or wealth.
It does need however a quiet, deeply rooted conviction! Do you have it?
What is that one conviction that your life story will tell?
PS: If you think this blog can benefit a person you know, please consider forwarding this email!
Reading: This week I am reading the book The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.