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XThe letter “x” is the mathematical symbol for the unknown. Those who lead are not intimidated by the unknown. In spite of uncertainty, they move forward into uncharted waters. The unknown did not keep Alexander Graham Bell from pursuing development of the telephone nor did the unknown prevent Thomas Edison from experimenting with the electric light bulb. Nor did it…

Keep Christopher Columbus from sailing in to uncharted waters, or
Ferdinand Magellan from sailing around the globe, or
Numerous other explorers from exploring the New World, or
Lewis & Clark from blazing a trail to the Pacific Ocean, or
Settlers from venturing forth from their lives in the east to settle the west, or
Henry Ford from discovering the internal combustion engine, or
The Wright Brothers from discovering flight, or
Neil Armstrong from setting foot on the Moon.

The list could go on and on. What can we learn from them? What are the leadership lessons?

  • Don’t be afraid of the unknown; even when it looks like you’re coming to the end of the world, forge on. (Columbus)
  • You will experience hardships and nay-sayers, but keep going (Magellan)
  • Unlike many of the explorers, be kind to those who are ahead of you
  • Use native resources, like Sacagawea (Lewis & Clark)
  • Muster all the courage you have to stand against those who would like to drive you from your mission (settlers)
  • If you have an idea and you know it’s sound, keep at it until it succeeds (Ford, Wright Brothers)
  • If you’re going to be the first, make it memorable (“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” Neil Armstrong)