Bringing out your best when it matters most

by | Apr 8, 2021

In the moment. Champion Melbourne skipper Max Gawn examines the #11 on his Melbourne jumper, the number worn by his mentor, the late Jim Stynes. 

If not for ambiguity, we do not need leadership.

Leaders are in the ambiguity business. If we are not doing ambiguity, we are not doing leadership.

And it is not what happens that counts most. It is how we respond.

Bringing out your best when it matters most. Good at ambiguity, most likely good at leadership.

Leadership is a skill. You learn it, you teach it. Highly focused and purposeful. Modelled every day. Mistakes made and owned. Lessons learned and shared. Change and growth.

A ‘get it right’ mindset’ not a ‘being right’ mindset.

Learner vs Knower.

We get to choose.


SH x R = O

Success as a leader is not determined by the situations we experience but our response to those situations.

We do not control the events of our lives, but we have power over our response. It is a daily practice, a learned skill, checking in on what is happening inside you in response to what is happening around you.

Virtual Leadership Masterclass

Hence the formula for leaders:

Situation Happens (SH) x Response (R) = Outcome (O)

Your R is most important when the SH is most challenging, and often it’s when leadership gets personal when your behaviours are being questioned.

Leadership isn’t what you preach; it is what you practice, and often underestimated, what you permit.

Yes, there may be some understanding, albeit fleeting, for what is happening around you.

Perhaps there is some empathy for what is happening inside you by the few who may have this insight.

But as leaders, we are measured by how we show up.

Difficult situations can cause us to drift away from our proclaimed principles and beliefs.

Noisy and weighty, we become distracted and tired. It is so easy to get caught up in blame, criticism and deflection, responses that find friends easily and offer no solution, no way forward.

Leaders must rise above this. Be conscious and thoughtful. Make your R better than any O
that is thrown at you, and it starts with how you talk to yourself.

Find your voice and all of its power to cut through the noise.

It starts with pressing your personal pause button. Quiet the mind. Take out a pen and paper, write down the question:

“What does this situation expect of me?’

Then write three words underneath with some space in between:

  • Brave
  • Calm
  • Humble

 Now write down a sentence next to each of these words related to the context and content of the SH.

 For if nothing else, as a leader, the situation requires you to be calm, humble and brave.

 Poor leaders allow adversity to ruin them, good leaders survive it, the best leaders are better for it.

 And you can learn it.

 Virtual Leadership Masterclass


“What we love reveals who we are.”

From “Give yourself permission to be creative”, Ethan Hawke on TED


Four minutes of Ricky Ponting, coach of the Delhi Capitals in the IPL, trying to bring a team ethos into a group of supremely talented players who will work together for a short time in a pressured, high stakes environment.

He focuses on four simple words:

  • Attitude
  • Effort
  • Commitment
  • Care

With a particular emphasis on care as the differentiator between the great teams he has played and coached.

Care as the prerequisite for performance.

Thanks to Ryan Fairclough for sharing with me.

…and a timeless song lyric:

Breathe – Pink Floyd

A song I never get tired of.

Dark Side of the Moon is still my go-to album whenever I write.

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don’t be afraid to care
Leave but don’t leave me
Look around, choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all your touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be


Cameron Schwab
CEO & Founder


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