In the Arena

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal growth, about courage, and about people who Dare to Lead lately.

It’s been on my mind because I’ve witnessed it and benefited from it. It’s also been on my mind because it’s something I aspire to, and something I hope I have inspired others to do.

In turn, this week I decided to revisit Dare to Lead by Brene Brown, this time via audio book. In the first few chapters she speaks of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech, and although it was certainly not the first time I’ve heard it, it stopped me in my tracks.

Sometimes we are inspired by words and it’s all about timing, about what is going on in our minds, and what we are experiencing at work and in life.

It made me think about people who took a chance on me, who didn’t let me back away from a challenge, from an opportunity to learn, from an opportunity to grow. I thought about how that story has played out over and over again in my life.

More importantly, it made me think about the people I coach, who I mentor, the amazing souls I call family, friends, and colleagues; the quiet heroes doing good works every day.

And it made me want to share “Man in the Arena” with you, in case it found you in a similar state, a moment perhaps, where it inspires you to dare to lead yourself, or someone you know.

The Man in the Arena:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, April 23 1910

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