Creative LeadershipEngaging Culture

The King’s Speech And How To Turn Negatives Into Positives

A BBC radio documentary called “Delivering the King’s Speech” told the real story behind the feature film “The King’s Speech” – the broadcast by King George VI about the declaration of war on Germany in 1939. If you saw the Hollywood movie starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, you know that King George was thrust into the spotlight after his brother abdicated the throne. The only problem was that George had a lifelong speech impediment and was horrified of public speaking.

Through extensive training from Lionel Logue (played by Rush), King George was able to overcome his impediment enough to give a moving radio speech to the English people. What stood out for me in the documentary was the fact that scholars today believe that the King’s speech impediment actually turned out to be a positive instead of a negative.

The conclusion is that the impediment allowed regular people to identify with the king, and actually made him more endearing to the English people. It broke down the walls between royalty and the common man, which became critically important during a time of war.

I’m wondering if the negative in your life that you’re fearing could actually be a positive?  Lack of education, training, background, divorce, getting fired, fear of public speaking, or being uncomfortable with crowds.

One popular blogger with Asperger syndrome has turned it into a positive by writing about business and careers from that unique perspective. I was fired from my job at 36, and realized years later it was one of the best things to happen to my career. Many others were able to re-position a potential negative into a positive.

Think about it. What have you been fearful of, or embarrassed about, that could potentially be a great asset?

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  1. I like to say “don’t waste a good crisis”, as most of all the amazing things have have happened in my life came out of dark times. The two biggest were my own homelessness and then losing everything again in this last recession. Homelessness changed me – for the better, and right around 19 months of unemployment I grabbed a camera and started to travel empowering homeless people to share their own stories, which is how Invisible People was started.

  2. I’m fearful that people will figure out my foybulls and embarrassed about the fact that I can’t spell very well. How can they be used as a great asset? (Beat – Wink, Wink) My spalling is so bad sometimes my laptop dims while it tries to figure out what the heck I was trying to say. When it comes back up it usually has some foreign cuss word as a possible suggestion. Not helpful at all. Again I ask, how is that a great asset?!!

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