As we reflect on the loss of Nelson Mandela, I can’t help but consider the entirety of his life’s journey and influence. Few people leave a legacy as rich in lessons and timeless in their approach.
He, of course, taught us that there is good in all people and that we must work together to create opportunities for everyone. He also taught us that there is great power in personal conviction and that if we believe in something bigger, each one of us has the ability to accomplish great things.
I’ve been fortunate to visit South Africa a number of times in recent years and have had the opportunity to hear of Mandela’s selfless leadership from those who knew him. The Mandela many knew in prison wasn’t concerned about himself, but rather the change he believed was still possible for his country.
He had a much bigger vision beyond his own suffering and personal anguish. Upon his conviction, Mandela said:
“When my sentence has been completed I will still be moved, as men are always moved, by their consciences. I will still be moved by my dislike of the race discrimination against my people when I come out from serving my sentence to take up again, as best I can, the struggle for the removal of those injustices until they are finally abolished once and for all.”
Mandela’s lessons of inclusion, human kindness and the power of individual leadership continue to inspire people and communities around the world. It’s now the responsibility of all of us to give further lift to his great legacy.