Change begins from the inside-out

Change begins from the inside-out

Madiba learned through his years in imprisonment to look in the mirror and create within himself that which he most wanted for South Africa: peace, reconciliation, equality, harmony and freedom.

Self-awareness is a good leadership skill. Madiba understood that leading his nation into a peaceful democracy meant that he had to be the change.

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Madiba Leadership: 5 Lessons Nelson Mandela Taught The World About Change

forbes.com

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Expect change to be messy

Innovation and change is rarely a neat path. Pushing for change often leads to sacrifice and difficulty. But just because it is difficult does not mean that what you are working on is not right. 

Mandela was a partner in the only black-run law firm in South Africa. The company was overwhelmed by aggrieved clients demanding compensation for the government's actions against non-whites. Mandela could have created a comfortable life for himself, but instead focused on making a worthwhile change.

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When Mandela was released from prison, former president Bill Clinton of the United States observed the anger and hatred on Mandela's face as he walked from his cellblock to the front of the prison. Then in a moment, Mandela's rage seemed to vanish.

Madiba taught us that at some point in our lives, we are all victims of something. But, we don't have to be victims of our past. We can let go of our bitterness and achieve greatness.

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In marriage, social justice or business, you can focus your energy on being right or ending right. Being right is often about our ego and focuses on the past. Ending right is about the future and what you want to achieve.

Nelson Mandela vehemently fought for what he believed in, but he was not willing to humiliate the opposition. He stated that "no one is more dangerous than one who is humiliated." To be successful in a relationship of any kind requires the ability to let all sides gain.

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The legacy of Nelson Mandela

The legacy of Nelson Mandela lives on in the hearts of global communities, who find inspiration and hope in his way of life and way of leading the country. 

We can reflect on some of the things he taught us about leadership and change.

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When you engage in a noble cause, you become energised and passionate. That passion fuels perseverance.

Opposed to the policies of his country's white minority government, Madiba was instrumental in the action against apartheid in South Africa that caused him to be imprisoned for 27 years. However, he emerged from incarceration and became South Africa's first black president.

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nelson mandela

A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial and uninformed.

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Nelson Mandela

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

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The wisdom of Nelson Mandela: quotes from the most inspiring leader of the 20th century

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A leader's vision may or may not be that different from the next person's; what can set them apart is the vigour with which they pursue that strategy.

Zhou Enlai served as premier of the People's Republic of China and throughout his life relentlessly pursued his moderate and pragmatic agenda while attempting to mitigate the worst effects of Mao's policies.

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How business can learn from great leaders in history

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Throughout history, some individuals got to play bigger roles than others. Among them, Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us that the success of a cause depends directly on the involvement of the people who joined it.

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11 Modern Leadership Lessons from History's Masters

entrepreneur.com