Everyone is a leader somewhere in their life.
Someone is always paying attention.
If only yourself.
As a leader it’s our job to grow leaders, including our personal development.
Pay attention to the stories you’re telling yourself and others.
They have the power to change lives.
Shelli Jost Brady, Charles Collie and I will Be offering a workshop Wednesday Oct. 9 on Stories for Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders at The Highpoint in Richmond.
Bold Whisper’s Jennifer Einolf and I will be offering The Tell It Well Intensive on Oct. 10 at Meadpwbrook Country Club in Chesterfield.
Remember: You Matter. Your Stories Matter. Tell Them Well!
The Storytellers Channel
“Leaders initiate and sustain change and grow leaders.”
Every Virginia schoolchild knows the story of Patrick Henry’s speech where he declared, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Americans have told and retold this story since 1775. It’s one of our heroic models. We tell ourselves this story when we feel we’re being oppressed and need to take action to rectify the wrong. Ironically, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Gabriel Prosser and Nathaniel Turner were probably telling themselves and their followers the same story when they rebelled.
Henry’s speech was given at the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775. At the time Richmond was a little backwater with a population of around 800. Fifty or so miles from the Royal Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg; Richmond was chosen because it was in the middle of nowhere. Far enough away from the Governor’s forces that the attendees could be alerted to disperse should soldiers be sent to arrest them. The meeting was held at St. John’s Church, known ten simply at the time as “The Church”, because it was the only building large enough to hold the gathering.
Henry’s speech led to the Convention resolving to raise and arm a militia. Which led to the Royal Governor John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, removing the gunpowder from the Williamsburg magazine.
The attendees weren’t the only ones to hear of the speech.
To one degree or another the press has always been controlled by the people in power. Which historically has meant the people with money. But nothing spreads as fast as word of mouth. There were very few reports of slave insurrections in the American media of the time. And little interest in bringing attention to their occurrence.
When Toussaint L’Ouverture led the slave revolt in 1791 which resulted in the liberation of Haiti, slave owners were horrified. They feared it might happen in the U.S. American foreign policy has made Haiti pay for their audacity ever since. You can bet Haitians had heard of Henry’s speech.
In 1800 when Gabriel Prosser led his revolt in Richmond and in 1831 when Nat Turner led his rebellion in Southampton County, VA, you can bet he was familiar with Henry’s speech.
L’Ouverture’s efforts were successful, he and his fellow Haitians have paid a dear price. Though, not as severe a price as Prosser, Turner and their followers; they all chose Liberty or Death.
Leaders share stories to touch people’s hearts. When responding to attacks, counter insurgents speak of ‘winning the hearts and minds’ of the people.
We do it with story.
People unite behind story. Stories can give people the courage to rise, to fight oppression, to right wrongs.
A well told story can lead people to risk life and limb.
Don’t underestimate the power.
You Matter. Your Stories Matter! Tell Them Well.
DISCLAIMER – The picture above is of my brother-in-law, Kevin McGranahan. He portrays Patrick in the video of the Give Me Liberty or Death speech produced by our local PBS affiliate, WVCE aka Virginia Public Media. For years you could see him live, along with my late Father-in-law, Tom McGranahan, at St. John’s Church on Richmond’s Historic Church Hill. Even though neither are still a part of the cast, it’s worthwhile to drop by the church for the reenactment. It will stir your soul.
I Want to Hear from You
What stories do you use to grow leaders?
As a leader, what stories do you tell yourself?
Til next time,