Posts Tagged ‘Support for celiacs’

With Endurance We Conquer… Words of Wisdom for Food Allergic & Celiacs

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Ernest Shackelton was someone I had never heard of until yesterday during a presentation by a luncheon keynote speaker Margo Morrell.

Leadership expert and best selling author of “Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic explorer – Ernest Shackelton”, Morrell explained this gentleman’s model of great leadership and, in particular, a master of guidance in crisis.

Her presentation moved me. By the end of my meal (yes…gluten-free!), I felt as if I could wrap my arms around this man’s model of great leadership style, and embrace his knowledge and passion for excellence, not only in my professional life, but also in my personal life as it pertains to the challenges of living with celiac disease and food allergies.

Sir Ernest Shackelton was an Antarctic Explorer who’s most noted exploration was in 1914 when he and a crew of 27, the largest group he ever lead, set sail for the last unclaimed prize in the history of exploration: the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent.  With less than 90 miles of Antarctica their ship Endurance became trapped and crushed in ice. With no communication to the outside world their long and historical ordeal would last over a year and a half. After his death in 1921, Shackelton was an unknown and little mentioned until the end of the 20th century. Around this time he became a cult-like role model for leadership and became remembered as a leader who always kept his team together in spirit and approach.  

According to Morrell, Shackelton had a certain style of leadership that consisted of four components, all playing together to make him one of the greatest leaders of all times. 

In order to lead a family, new school teachers, friends or extended family with information about newly diagnosed gluten intolerant or food allergic children, these components should be considered and embraced.  They are the components that keep a group together while working toward a common goal, assist in keeping the discontented & frustrated positive, brings regulation and triumph to a chaotic environment and allows hope to be spread throughout each day. These components encourage leaders to go in advance and show the way to others, and more so how to motivate and inspire all others around them. 

1.) Lead by Example: Shackleton never panicked in an emergency situation. He held strong and first thought of the men beneath him. It is easy to panic, when you or your child is first diagnosed with celiac or a food allergy. However, hold strong. Know that there is help and support through friends, family, medical facilities, on-line support groups, and even, grassroots’ community organizations. There are an abundance of information in libraries and on the world wide web. Shackleton believed, “If you’re a leader, a fellow that other fellows look to, you’ve got to keep going.” 

2.) Communicate Effectively: Whenever Shackelton spoke he gathered everyone around him, together in a group, so everyone could hear the same message, at the same time. He spoke simply and calmly. He never lost his optimism. Try this approach with your family when explaining the importance of a gluten free diet or foods that cause allergies and must be avoided in your household. Write a letter explaining the dietary requirements and distribute to not only teachers, but also parents of friends, baby sitters and extended family. Speak simply and optimistically. Everyone in your child life plays a crucial role when it comes to the strict adherence to special diets. The same message must be simply reiterated to everyone.  

3.) Keep up the Morale: Try to stay positive and upbeat. Remember that difficulties are just things to overcome – one day at a time. Let go of the past – don’t waste time or energy regretting past mistakes. Remember who you are fighting for and it is easy to keep up your battle to stay positive. It is also important to schedule “me” time when the times get trying: a pedicure, an hour to read a book on a hammock, a bubbly bath.

4.) Maintain a Positive Attitude: Shackleton just didn’t tell his men not to worry, that things would be alright; but he believed it and held true to that belief each and every long day. Shackelton knew that often a leader has to keep the bad news to them self. There were days that he could have stated that things were “absolutely horrible”, but instead he phrased the situation as; “Things could have gone a bit better.” Keeping a positive attitude when speaking to your child or others about gluten intolerances or food allergies is one of the most important things to always remember.

In trouble, disappointment and danger Shackelton lead by example and communicated through his high spirits and positive attitude. His style motivated his men to follow him and be lead by a wisdom that we can apply to our everyday lives while living with a gluten intolerance or food allergy. Like Shackelton’s family motto: By endurance we conquer.

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