Editor’s Note: Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874-1922) was an Irish Antarctic explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. In attempting the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914, disaster struck when Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice and was slowly crushed before the shore parties could be landed. The crew escaped by camping on the sea ice until it disintegrated, then by launching the lifeboats to reach Elephant Island and ultimately South Georgia Island, a stormy ocean voyage of 720 nautical miles and Shackleton’s most famous exploit. 


Ernest Shackleton had one goal. He wanted to reach the South Pole.

He hired a crew, bought a ship, filled it with supplies, drew up plans and set sail.

However, a problem happened.

A crisis landed on Shackleton’s doorstep.

The ship become stuck in ice.

It wasn’t just stuck. The ice was crushing the vessel.

The crew abandoned ship and began living on the ice.

Seal and penguin became their daily diet.


The goal changed.

The mission changed.

Rather than trying to reach the South Pole, the clear goal now was to get everyone home.

One of the first things Shackleton did was take inventory of the situation by asking two questions:

What do we know that is known?

What do we know that is unknown?

Those questions and the answers to them formed parameters around which the plan to get home would be guided.


We’re in a pandemic.

The goal has changed.

How do we keep everyone healthy and safe while trying to fulfill the mission?

What do we know that is known?

What do we know that is unknown?

How do we plan for that?

Working here is no longer about a personal agenda. (Hopefully, it never was.)

But now more than ever, personal agendas and plans must be laid aside.


For the good of all of us.

Just like Shackleton, our situation has changed.

We’re not talking layoffs or pay cuts.

We are healthy.

But what must change because of what we know? How must we pivot because of what we know that we don’t know?

We must be willing to do what is good for the whole, not just individually.

The good of PAR is at stake.

This is where we can learn from Shackleton.

May we embrace his example and make our goal to get everyone “home” safely and healthy. And while doing that, let’s execute the mission and vision with excellence.

Hope will triumph.


– Brian Sanders




Brian Sanders is an author/speaker and Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio. To contact him or for more information about his book, Leadership Endurance, visit www.briansandersauthor.com .