Suzy Cameron

82 REAL-LEADERS.COM / FALL 2021 MENTAL HEALTH H ere’s the tough but ultimately good news: Real leaders are forged in times of crisis. Crucible experiences — those failures and setbacks that are traumatic and tragic — can either break you or make you the leader you were born to be. They can occur in your professional or personal life. They can be your fault or not your fault. The commonality is that the person you are afterward is not the same person you were before. In a survey I commissioned, 49% of business leaders indicated they had “experienced something so traumatic or painful that it fundamentally changed their life.” It’s hard to be human without going through tragedy, but the question for all of us is: How will we respond? I know this from experience. I grew up in a large family media business in Australia. It had been in my family for 150 years, five generations. It had newspapers, television stations, radio By Warwick Fairfax Life is not easy. We are still living with the effects of a global pandemic, economies around the world are fragile, and there seems to be asmuch division in our politics and culture as there has ever been.The pressures on today’s leaders are immense. Howdowe lead amid such uncertainty and stress? FINDING PURPOSE IN TRAGEDY: THE LIFE- ALTERING POWER OF CRUCIBLE EXPERIENCES Warwick Fairfax (above) and his father, Sir Warwick Oswald Fairfax (right). In 1987, following the death of his father, the 27-year-old “young Warwick” successfully took over the then publicly listed John Fairfax Holdings Limited, but on 10 December 1990 the company collapsed and a receiver was appointed. In 2016, he founded Crucible Leadership, citing the lessons he learned from the failed takeover of the family media dynasty to offer “compelling insights for anyone who would like to wake up feeling inspired about their work, but doesn’t.” GETTY IMAGES / EVENING STANDARD