Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Movie Review: The Gathering Storm

What with our discussion about Churchill recently I rented "The Gathering Storm" to get a view of the big man in his 'wilderness years'. Fascinating, and very well-made.

For such a dialogue-ridden film the two leads (Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave) did a remarkable job. Marie and I were transfixed through what could have been a long tale requiring much concentration.

But to leadership: what did I learn from this man's wilderness years?

Probably the most important lesson is 'be yourself'. Churchill had several mental illness 'issues', the biggest of which was his depression (The Black Dog).

Instead of trying to deny it and be 'normal', he acknowledged it, and lived around it. He realised that, while depression took him to the depths, it also gave him a perspective that helped him in his job. No, make that 'career'. Scratch that - 'destiny'.

In turn, his self-acceptance led to his acceptance of others as they were. On a surface level, he was tetchy and downright annoying to be around. He certainly didn't seem tolerant of others. But he inspired loyalty, even when he was considered an eccentric warmongering has-been.

That stayed with me. When you know who you are, warts and all, and are prepared to work with that, you can work with most anybody.


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