elegance is refusal

The words of today’s quote have been going around and around in my head as I tried to make sense of why I wanted to use them in today’s Victory Letter.  When I first heard it a few weeks back something inside me said it was a must for this last discussion here in May on the principle of Leadership.  

During the past week the critical importance for each of us to participate in some form of leadership has also been swirling around and around in my head - especially as I travelled through Boston and Concord in Massachusetts with my husband.  

Those areas are rich in the history of the founding of our country and those who first gave their lives for our freedom. This includes all the brave people since that time who have stood up for the belief in freedom that we celebrated yesterday on Memorial Day.  

Going with the flow and status quo is really the easiest thing to do. I couldn’t help but wonder during our trip last week what would have happened if those who saw the injustice did nothing about it and let the British Empire continue to push us around.  

It adds even more of a punch to have today’s words (Elegance is Refusal) coming from Coco Chanel - a woman of elegance who fully lived her beliefs through her darker days.  By doing so she turned her passion for fashion into an empire that runs strong still today even after her passing 45 years ago.   

Bottom line is that for each of us is to fully put on our hats as leaders we have to not only be crystal clear on what want in our life, but also we have to be crystal clear on what we will not tolerate. The way of life that is simply not okay. Period.  

What can be the biggest challenge of all is to swim up river when everyone around us might be telling us in to swim with them the other way.  I know those of you reading this who are entrepreneurs know exactly what I am talking about.  

In other words, believe strong enough in what you desire that you move past the caution warnings and go against the grain. That is when I believe every element of leadership comes into full play. It is for sure a scary place to be at the time, and that is when our fear can bring out the best in us.  

There is a woman I know whom I have had the honor of working with in different capacities over the years and most recently have assisted her to founding a non-profit organization for those afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis.  

While in the Boston area where she lives, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with her.  As we hiked around Walden Pond together on my final day there, she shared with me in a way I had not heard before (I had coached her during the writing of her first book) about life as a climber on Mount Everest. 

As we discussed the turmoil of all that is happening in Nepal, her elegance in sharing her thoughts brought once again to life for me the importance of more and more people knowing about her story and the light she brings to the world.  

Wendy Booker is her name and since the day she was diagnosed with MS nearly 20 years ago she has decided that she would not allow the disease take her life or more importantly her body away from her.  She has climbed the 7 summits of the world, made it to the North and South Poles, and has run 14 marathons. She continues to run first thing in the morning, 6 out of 7 days in the week.  

A few years ago I interviewed Wendy on our radio show. We are releasing the recording now in podcast form for your listening pleasure.  I encourage you – especially if you are facing a challenge in any area of your life (and most of us are in one form or another) to listen to these words of Wendy’s.  Hear how she gained her altitude when she needed it most in her life. 

In the course of this week please take the time to listen to this recording while you are walking, running, driving or just being. Imagine yourself swimming upstream with elegance as you refuse to have both your personal and business lives be other than what you know should be in your heart and soul.  

I would love if you would share your challenge over on the blog page to give courage to others just as Wendy is doing today with her Climb On Foundation (will be sharing more about this in the weeks ahead).

Here’s to a glorious summer of elegance! 

To Your Successes and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus 
Author, Business Growth Coach, 
and Founder of the Victory Circles