Join Bill George for an in-depth discussion in this video Consider your crucibles, part of Bill George on Self Awareness, Authenticity, and Leadership.
- You know crucible is a difficult thing, because a lot of people don't want to deal with it. I had a colleague named Pedro Algorta come to my classroom. Very interesting guy. Pedro was with his rugby team, and he's from Uruguay, and his plane crashed in the Andes mountains. 35, 40 years ago. And this became a very famous story, the story Alive, by Pierce Paul Reid, a movie by that name. He came to my classroom, and you could've heard a hush over the class. 'Cause these guys lived in the mountains for 70 days with no food, no water, and just their street clothes, 'cause they weren't prepared for that.
And, 16 out of the 120 people on that airplane eventually walked away alive. And he said, "There's three ways to deal "with a searing crucible like this in your life." By the way, few of us will ever have a crucible like Pedro did, but still, his principles are really important. The first is to carry it with you all your life, and say live an angry life looking backward. Why did that happen to me? Why was I born this way? Why was my plane going down, your plane didn't go down. Why did I get faced with that kind of test? And he said, "That's a pretty bad way to live." The second is more common, that we cut ourselves off at the neck.
He said, "That's what I did. "I went for 35 years and never told "anyone, other than my wife about this experience. "Until I read your book True North, "and this started to come bubbling up. "I even went to Stanford business school," he said, "for two years and never told a soul "about the experience." So he stuffed it, and he said, "Eventually it always comes out." In his case it did. 35 years later. But he wasn't leading a whole life. He was kind of leading a partial life. So there's a third way, go back and explore that crucible, and think of it, like how a pearl is formed.
You know there's an oyster shell on the shore, and the waves keep washing over it. And it's very irritating to that shell, because the sand and the salt water keeps washing against it. So it forms a substance called nacre, which is mother of pearl. That's not the pearl itself, but inside of that is a beautiful pearl. Where's the pearl in your life? Go back to your lifeline, look for that deep point, can you find the pearl in your life that really captures your essence of who you are, when you were faced with the most challenging times of life? You know you got through.
Did you have a childhood illness you had to get through? Did you lose a parent? Did you see your parents get divorced? Did you get rejected like I did? Those are the things that you carry forward, and sometimes they hold you back. When we're facing difficult times in life, a crucible for instance, you learn who in your life really matters. And it's important to understand that in advance, and to build those relationships, with people, who really count. You need to know who you can count on. What if you got thrown in jail? Who would be there to visit you, and help get you out? And there are many places we're in jail, in life, not just a literal prison, but we place ourselves in our own jails.
Who's gonna help you get outta that? So take a few minutes, and write down on a piece of paper, who are those people in your life, that really count? Is it a parent? A sibling? A relative of some other sort? A coach, a mentor, a former teacher? A close friend, who's gonna be there for you? You know what, bad things happen in life, a lot of people abandon. A lot of people, when you have an important job they come around you, and they think, "Man this person's really important. "I'm gonna be there." And you lose your job, you get fired from your work.
Or things don't go your way, or you go through a divorce, or a difficult time, a lot of people will abandon you. And you need to know who are the people that count. Who can you count on in your life? By the way, who can count on you? 'Cause it's a two way street. And if you know that those are the relationships you wanna nurture and build. You're not gonna be friends with everyone in the world. You're not gonna have the respect of everyone. But if you have the respect, and caring of people close to you, you can get through the most difficult times in life. And those are the people that you'll be there for, and they'll be there for you when it matters most.
- Understanding your desires and fears
- Knowing and owning your life story
- Seeking feedback
- Accepting yourself