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Episode 34: The Inspiring Sir Ernest Shackleton
I hope you enjoy episode 34 of my podcast, Sir Ernest Shackleton: An Inspiration. A few weeks ago I was reading the book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It is one of my favorite books and I read it over and over. (You can purchase it from Amazon by clicking on the icon, hint hint, wink wink). In chapter 14, The Sixth Sense is about using your creative imagination. Hill created a mastermind group in his imagination. These were people that he admired, some alive and others long gone. They were people like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Abraham Lincoln. This got me thinking about people who inspire us.
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Hill was inspired by his mastermind group and would even have roundtable council meetings in his mind. During these meetings, he would have imaginary conversations with the members. Each one had a different quality that he admired. By doing this, he opened up his creative mind and came up with ideas on things he could accomplish. I began thinking about different people who I admired and who have inspired me throughout my life. So I decided to write about these inspirational people. They are people who overcame obstacles and were great leaders. I have learned great lessons from them. They have set excellent and inspirational examples for me to follow.
An Inspirational Leader
I will begin with an incredible leader, Sir Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton was born in 1874 in Kildare, Ireland. He was an Antarctic explorer who attempted to reach the South Pole. He joined Robert Scott’s expedition in 1901 and took part in the sledge journey across the Ross Ice Shelf. In January 1908, he led an expedition to Antarctica but was prevented from reaching their intended based site by the ice. On that expedition, he later led a sledging party to within 112 miles (180 km) of the South Pole. Due to their success in claiming the Victoria Land plateau for Britain, he was knighted on his return.
I first heard of Ernest Shackleton when I was given a book titled Endurance. You can also get this book by clicking on the icon to the right. (Another wink). The book, written by Alfred Lansing, is well written and inspirational. It entails the 1914 ill-fated expedition to Antarctica led by Shackleton. They proceeded from England aboard the ship, Endurance. The expedition had planned to make the first crossing of Antarctica. They would travel via the South Pole from the Weddell Sea to McMurdo Sound.
The Endurance became trapped in the ice and drifted for 10 months. Eventually, the ice crushed the powerful ship. Shackleton and his men then drifted for another five months on ice floes. Running low on food and supplies, they escaped in boats to uninhabited Elephant Island.
Knowing their only hope for survival was a dangerous journey across the sea, Shackleton and five men set out in a whaleboat. Their destination was the tiny island of South Georgia. There was a whaling station where they could find help. South Georgia was 800 miles from Elephant Island. The journey took 16 days across a rough and dangerous ocean. Through expert navigation, they landed on the south side of South Georgia.
An Arduous Journey
Although elated to have reached their destination, Shackleton knew their ordeal was not over. The whaling station was on the north side of the island. They would have to cross rugged terrain to reach it. It had been 16 months since the Endurance had become trapped in the ice. The six men set out and eventually reached the whaling station. The whalers couldn’t believe their eyes when these six ragged men walked into their station.
Shackleton never forgot about the men they left behind on Elephant Island. He worried about them every day. Despite his lack of strength he wanted to set sail and rescue them right away. The weather wouldn’t allow for a return trip at that time. Shackleton never gave up. He made four unsuccessful attempts at rescuing his men.
Four months later Shackleton’s perseverance paid off and they successfully arrived at Elephant Island. Shackleton couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw that all his men were alive. They survived despite the lack of food sources and water on this barren island. All his men were loaded onto the ship and they embarked to Chile.
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You can see why I titled this podcast Sir Ernest Shackleton: An Inspiration. Sir Ernest Shackleton displayed extraordinary leadership in saving all his men. He is an inspirational figure in which I admire greatly. His unmatched perseverance is a lesson that we should all learn. Persevering and overcoming all obstacles is the key to success. Shackleton had a definitive purpose, rescuing his men, and nothing was going to stop him. He was dedicated to his men and put their needs before his. This is the definition of a leader.
I hope you enjoyed Sir Ernest Shackleton: An Inspiration. Do you have any particular person who inspires you? Are there people that you admire and help you on your journey? If so, leave a comment below and let me know. Always enjoy reading your comments.