Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?
 
Getting someone to tell you about how they persevered when they felt like they couldn't go on is at the core of our journey…we all have it…and how we move beyond it is something we should remind ourselves regularly because we face it in big and small ways every day.
 
Connection…vulnerability…courage…. the will to go on when you just didn't know if you could find your way forward...and how everyone has a story.
 
I have been very fortunate to collect the stories of so many over the years, stories that have touched me, strengthened me and given me the courage to move forward, even on the days when I felt I was outta gas. I think what we realize when we collect these stories that we are not alone and that despite all that life may throw at us, there are countless others who are grappling with much more than we are in that moment.
 
About 20 years ago, I was facilitating a leadership/strategic planning session and one of the things I gave every participant was a leadership survival kit. I hoped that in the humor and sentiment of the items in the bag that my teammates could look at it on days when their courage was low and smile.
 
A Leader's Little Survival Kit

  • A Stick of Gum to remind you to stick to your values
  • A Candle to light your fire when you're feeling burned out
  • A Pin to remind you to stay sharp
  • Smarties to remind you to surround yourself with smart people
  • Tape so you know you can fix any problem
  • Snickers to remind you to take time to laugh
  • A Penny so you will remember to invest in yourself
  • A Marble for when you lose yours
  • A Rubber Band to remind you to stretch yourself
  • An Eraser to remind you that you can start every day with a clean slate
  • A Battery to give you that extra charge to keep you going…and going
  • A Piece of Rope for when you reach the end of yours
  • A Paper Clip to help keep things together when they seem to be falling apart

 
I know greeting cards and cheesy leadership survival kits can't fix everything but maybe in one of those there is a word or phrase or gesture that bolsters our perseverance! I'm not sure how many of these I have made over the years and handed out at leadership sessions but it always brings me joy to see them tacked up on the wall next to someone's desk.
 
Leadership Questions of the week for YOU:

  • Do you have a recent story of perseverance that you experienced or a story that you collected from another?
  • If so, what are the two to three things you took away from it or that you learned about yourself?
  • From the leadership survival kit – which item is your favorite and why?
  • Are there any items you would add and why?
  • Can you think of someone that could benefit from a "leadership survival kit" on their desk today?

 
Call to Action: Stop by the dollar store on your way home and make a few kits to hand out – I guarantee it will make someone's day!
 
Thanks for reading and remember….YOU make a difference!
 
Be sure to continue the conversation by liking, sharing or commenting on this post! Even better….post pictures of YOUR leadership survival kits on twitter @marciedwhite #leadershipsurvivalkit.