I love that life is full of wisdom in unexpected places! Summer Holidays loom, which include long car-rides that require entertainment deemed acceptable by parents and children alike. This sends us in search of appropriate audio books. With a family who currently range in age from 10 to 18, plus a couple of 50 year olds, finding something of interest to all should be a tall order.
The last time we did really long road trips, they were 5 – 13 and amazingly we find the very same book series is still our top pick! What makes the choice easy is the existence of the remarkable 12-book epic series; “How to Train Your Dragon” by Cressida Cowell, read for audible by David Tenant! If you’re a fan of the movies by Dreamworks, forget everything you think you know and prepare to be entranced. If you’ve never seen the movies or read the books then dive in and enjoy the adventure!
The reason this family oriented book recommendation is making it into a Leadership Academy blog is that every time I re-read them (and I must be on my sixth read through at this stage), I’m reminded of so many key insights that serve me in my work with leaders and in my own leadership.
The saga is, at heart, the story of becoming a hero the hard way. Hiccup (the central character) learns and relearns that heroes are made, not born and the same is true for leadership – it’s what we do that defines our leadership more than any title – the importance of action over position.
In the final book, Cowell neatly summarises the lessons Hiccup learned from each of his nail-biting Viking Quests. I’ve abridged it here into the 10 points he makes and once I stripped out the dragon references, it feels entirely resonant to many aspects of life as I know it so I share it as wisdom from unexpected places:
The education of a King
(Abridged from How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury by Cressida Cowell)
The ten quests for the Kings’ lost things taught Hiccup:
For most of us, our own leadership journey can feel like a series of fairly challenging quests and, if we gave ourselves enough time to reflect, we might very likely come up with a similar set of wisdom:
In the end, it seems to me that wisdom is available in so many places if we are open to receiving it. Whatever you’re reading this Summer – whether for yourself or with your children there will likely be nuggets of wisdom to be found. Even if there aren’t, spending time with family, reading for pure pleasure and allowing ourselves to unwind is a wisdom all its own.
Enjoy the Summer
Carol Conway Carol works as a Freelance Catalyst, assisting individuals and organisations to achieve more of their potential. Learn more at www.freelancecatalyst.com.
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