“A leader is a dealer in hope.” —Napoleon Bonaparte
I know what you are thinking, Napoleon Bonaparte? Seriously? Wasn’t he the tiny Frenchman in the big hat who is always holding his stomach in pictures? Yep! That’s the one! Let me be clear and share that I am not a historian and I can’t promise my recall will be completely accurate here but I do believe Napoleon was small in stature and renowned for his attitude. This is what I always remembered about my history lessons, the person’s character, not the battles they won or the dates that it happened.
Napoleon was given a large army and they were not well equipped for battle. They were weak from lack of supplies and had so many reasons to wave their white flag but Napoleon rode in and refused to let anyone give up. He championed Hope for his men, his country and even his enemies. The enemy saw Napoleon on the outside and took for granted the fierceness of his will as a leader. Napoleon may have seen that his army was at a disadvantage but he didn’t let that get in his way. This attitude, his focus on hope and bettering France won him the battles needed and allowed him to lead people in ways others couldn’t.
Granted, not everything in his life was sunshine and roses (stomach issues and prisoner of war) but Napoleon knew that hope was the secret ingredient to leading France to change that was needed. This is a lesson that the English even took to heart because while Napoleon was their prisoner they still respected his leadership and the way he spread hope through France. Maybe you don’t feel like a leader. Maybe you have someone in your world that doesn’t feel like hope exists.
Do you know someone feeling defeated, waving a white flag? Take a page from Napoleon and spread a little hope around. Remind them that they CAN make it through the battle, despite any lack of supplies. Ride around celebrating little successes so your army builds the hope needed to change their world. Maybe you know a leader who deals in hope already and they’ve made a difference in your life. Take a moment and thank them for being who they are, for dealing hope and for making the world a better place by refusing to wave those white flags of defeat.
Sarah Deats is a Behavioral Health Technician at RI International and the Hope Inc. Stories Inspiration Engineer.