…. a name to remember.”
By D.S. Hansen
What??? As I thought about it, I realized he always achieved almost every goal he set. Of those who know this name, I’ll bet I have a few people thinking? A goal, like anything, is relative, and someone who is a good leader can prioritize and “adjust” them as the situation demands. This is part of a skill called, “Situational Awareness.”
For example, let us look at his goal to have his team be the first to reach the South Pole. I would like to suggest, as a good leader who truly understood goals and achieving them, Shackleton realized that the priorities had changed. In 1908, his team attempted to be the first team to make it to the South Pole. As much as he liked the idea, the fame, glory, etc. that would come from being the first to ever reach the south pole, it would not mean much if he and his team died, or came back severely injured. Even his family motto, which he named his ship after, suggests he was very driven; “By Endurance We Conquer.”
In 1908 Shackleton had passed the closest point anyone had reached, in their attempts to get there. In this case, Robert Scott’s team had made it in 1902. Shackleton continued for almost a month and a half longer towards the South Pole. Shackleton came to within 97 miles of the South Pole, but due to conditions, or the situation, he turned his team around and headed home. Traveling 97-miles, in good conditions, could be made in one day, surely in a few days. Why would he turn them around? No one had ever made the South Pole before. Others had tried quite a few times. Again, Shackleton’s team made it back alive, although pushed very close to the end of their strength and resources.
In 1911, Roald Amundsen’s team was the first to reach the South Pole. Robert Scott’s team, was in a sort-of race with Amundsen’s Team to reach the pole. They made it, about 30 days after Amundsen did had reached it. Unfortunately, they all perished on their way back from reaching the South Pole.
In another situation, Rob Hall’s well-known climber/guide had summitted Mt. Everest several times, and chose to push on and get a client to the summit, despite the fact; they had past their proposed turnaround time. Scott Fisher, another well-known climber/guide, whom we spoke with while preparing for our expedition, remains on the mountain. That day eight people died “trying to pin the Everest feather in their cap.” They put standing on a summit ahead of life itself, of course they did not think it could or would happen…
Shackleton was exceptionally skilled in arctic life, leadership, etc. Even when his Transcontinental Expedition became stuck in an early freeze of the Antarctic ice, he, along with his team, worked together for over two years to continue to survive, fight off the depression, fear, and desperation of what surely must have seemed a hopeless situation. They had a family saying something like, “With Endurance we Succeed.” Since world war I had began, there would not be anyone was coming to rescue them, they had to put together their own rescue. No, he did not cross the Antarctic, nor was he the first to reach the South Pole, but does that mean he and his team were losers?
I think not, quite the contrary, they are winners of the highest degree. They understood and maintained important priorities of life. They all returned alive, to explore another day. It seems our egos, and false pictures lead to wars, poverty, bad feelings, and much more. Maybe it is time we, as “human beings” re-evaluate this concept? Comments like, “Winning is not everything, it is the only thing!” only lead to …?
I would like to suggest Ernest Shackleton, and his team always reached their objectives or goals?
Here is some food for thought: Why be winners? I think in general our overall game of competition should be looked at and reconsidered. I believe:
Special Note: We can still have competition, but it would be on a much higher, more inspiring level, and even enjoyable level . . . (once we this concept works.)