Robert Swan, OBE is a polar explorer, environmental leader and the first person ever to have walked to the North and South poles. He is an exceptionally gifted communicator and is regarded as one of the world’s top motivational speakers. And…today he shared his story and himself with us at the IABC World Conference 2009.
While recounting his adventures, he dolled out leadership lessons with a seasoned communicator’s theatrical style. He suggested that diversity is strength – saying, “don’t choose easy people for your teams”, remember to laugh, trust and commitment will take you far, negativity will not, sometimes you have to go on in spite of the odds, always be proud and celebrate your successes no matter how small, and remember in teams problems are “ours” not “theirs”.
I think the audience was inspired by his fortitude, entertained and motivated by his words and awed by his achievements thus far. But, he’s not stopping. He also announced his Antarctica 2041 initiative which will see him going back to the South Pole in 2012 - at 50+ years of age this is his next quest to save the earth’s last wilderness and he’s looking for people to join him.
I was moved to tears today – perhaps because of delicate nature of our planet and our ignorance around it, perhaps because I felt guilty for some of my own indulgent behaviours (especially in response to the carbon footprint questions he asked all of us), or perhaps because I wasn’t doing something, anything to be part of the solution.
So, I decided I would do something. I don’t know quite what yet, but I started with taking the stairs not the escalator, using the coffee mugs and not paper cups, offering communication, PR and social media support to Robert remotely or when he’s in Australia and writing this blog post to share his message with others.
I urge you to support his cause in whatever way you can, share his message and do what you can to preserve Antartica and our planet as a whole. Do something. And do it now – not tomorrow, not next week…today…now. Then please share your actions and ideas with others to continue the chain of sustainable inspiration!
Robert continues the conversation with conference delegates