“Men Wanted: For hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.” – Ernest Shackleton’s ad for crew members
At the turn of the last century, a crew of 27 set sail for Antarctica with illustrious leader and explorer Ernest Shackleton. The First World War was looming and tensions were high. Endurance, their mighty ship set sail to navigate the icy waters. No one would hear from the crew again for almost two years.
Their ship became trapped in ice floes during winter and Shackleton gave the order to wait until summer when the ice would melt. It didn’t. The ice eventually placed so much pressure on the ship it began to slowly sink. With Shackleton at the helm, he gave orders for the crew to take refuge on an ice pack and to setup camp. Despite the harsh conditions, the men began to enjoy their new life on ice. They played games, exchanged stories and became accustomed to their new routine. However, with freezing temperatures and minimal food, the men had to eat penguins, seals and dangerous sea lions they’d caught with their bare hands.
Ploughing through snow at one mile per day, they shifted from ice pack to ice pack in order to survive. They traveled places that had never been crossed; where the world’s most dangerous currents and waves were found. It was one of the most uninhabited places on earth. They sailed in two lifeboats just 22-feet long. In order to find help, Shackleton led a team of 5 across the sea for almost 800 miles in one of these boats. They faced whales, gigantic waves, a leaking boat and soaking wet clothes. But they continued with their goal in mind, to find help. Failure was no option for Shackleton and he had a duty to lead his men to safety.
You may find yourself asking what this has to do with creative, recruitment or careers. It has everything to do with achievements, perseverance and goals and nothing to do with sailing the dangerous seas. We won’t ruin the ending for you but we will share what we took away from this incredible journey.
Artisan Creative’s Founder, Jamie Douraghy shared his thoughts from Shackelton’s story and the value it added to his existing leadership skills:
“Endurance” gave me a new perspective on the importance of the right kind of leadership skills needed to address extreme hardship and to persevere against the odds, especially when others might believe all hope is lost. I learned that unless you focus on the task at hand (no matter how small or insignificant it may seem at the time), you’ll never know the difference it will make until you see it through to the very end.”
Whether you’re choosing to take a leadership role or you’re following your own personal goals in life, take it one step at a time. Had Shackleton took to the boats without careful planning and preparation, he would not have succeeded.
Sometimes we have to take chances, change our course and motivate others. Shackleton spent two years leading and encouraging men who were idle at the best of times, but he also kept spirits high and as he often said, “laughter was in our hearts.”
Laura Pell | Talent Acquisition | Artisan Creative