It always seems impossible until it is done


By Stephane Leblanc, Founder and CEO, International Centre for Conscious Leadership

It always seems impossible until it's done

I love this quote Nelson Mandela as it seems that for most of my life, I have tried to achieve the impossible.

The reason that this quote is even more inspiring is that it comes from a man who spent 27 years in prison for his beliefs.  He went in at 44 as a anti-appartheid revolutionary and came out at 71 as a wise man.  He was elected as the first  head of state of South Africa and his government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalized racism and fostering racial reconciliation.

I am very inspired by Mandela as he is a role model for conscious leadership and also a man who used his life challenges and suffering to transform himself to become who he needed to become to achieve his vision for South Africa.

As a senior business executive, I feel I have accomplished a lot in my career as I have led many large organizational transformations and delivered great operational results, quarter after quarter, for more than two decades.  I have also developed high performance leadership teams, transformed organizational cultures and helped hundreds of leaders rise to their full potential.  

I was always very resilient and was quite effective at getting things done.  I could overcome significant obstacles and keep the teams focused on the vision because I was able to see the potential when few people did.  Because I believe it was possible, the people I led and our suppliers believed it too. And we achieved it.

I have had great mentors in developing my ability to achieve the impossible. One of the most notable one is now CEO of the Hydro company in our province and I remember vividly the great lesson he thought me several years ago.  We had had significant supply challenges with some parts which resulted in significant delays in delivering the aircraft to the clients.  With only one month left in the fiscal year, we had a quarter of our production to deliver.   Everyone thought it was impossible, including me.

When my boss called a meeting on January 3rd with me and my team, I did not believe this could be done as we had gone from challenges to challenges all year with strong headwind and no luck.  My boss saw that I did not believe it and we went for a walk on the production floor.  As he knew we could never achieve this impossible mission unless I believed in it, he asked me to pretend I did in front of my team and he committed to give me all the support I needed. 

As I did that, I noticed that my team also started to believe in the mission and then miracles started to happen.  Our team was aligned like never before and we started to achieve the impossible and guess what?  We delivered all the aircraft three days before the end of the quarter. We achieved the impossible.

I learned great lessons that day that I have carried with me ever since.  I learned that we can believe we can achieve the impossible even when we have no proof it will happen.  That to achieve the impossible, we often have to become someone else.  We have to become someone that walks, talks and acts with a strong conviction that we can achieve this impossible goal.  And we have to carry the positive energy of this goal being realized with us in the now.

Today, my life mission has shifted as I have left the traditional corporate world to become an entrepreneur and a catalyst for the transformation of leaders and the rise of consciousness in organizations.  I am deeply committed to help create a better world where all living beings can thrive.

Somedays, it seems like an impossible goal as so many leaders live in the old paradigm of performance, results, money and competition.  Somedays it seems that we will never succeed to transform society where everyone can thrive.  Yet, I remain steadfast in my resolve and I am working hard to transform myself so I can become the person I need to be to play my role as a catalyst for transformation. And for me, this means a better balance between being and doing.

I am committed to achieve the impossible.

What about you?