One More Leadership Lesson from a Chilean Miner

Posted 11.04.2011

One of the greatest leadership feel good stories in recent memory ended just over a year ago when 33 Chilean copper miners were rescued from their mine 70 days after they were trapped inside.  Their survival and rescue were triumphs of leadership, courage and ingenuity.  While they were still underground, I wrote a post called What We Can Learn About Leadership from the Chilean Miners.  It was one of the most read and commented upon posts I’ve written.  There were three basic lessons in that article:

  • Leaders share the role.
  • Leaders leverage their gifts.
  • Leaders keep the whole person in mind.

You might remember the story about the miner, Edison Pena, who ran three to six miles through the tunnels every day to keep himself sane and fit while trapped.  Just a few weeks after the rescue, he came to the U.S. to run the New York City Marathon.  He appeared on Letterman and sang Elvis songs (his favorite singer).  It was a challenge, but he finished the race a few days later in under six hours.

As the New York Times reports, Edison is back in New York this year to run the marathon again.  It’s been a tough year since the last race.  The stress of captivity got to him and he dealt with through drinking and drugs.  He checked himself in for help and feels like he’s back on track now.  As he said in a brief press conference in New York this week, “I’m here despite the fact that I’ve fallen down to show that I’ve risen up.”

So, we have at least one more lesson in leadership from a Chilean miner. When we fall down, as we inevitably will,  we can seek the help we need to get back up.

Good luck with the race this weekend Edison.  I hope you beat last year’s time.