This Easter Sunday, stand tall and be proud of who you are


There is only one Easter Sunday a year, dear readers, and while I promised you all that April would be dedicated to deepening the teachings from a variety of TED Talks, I’ll be taking a break from celebration for today.

Maybe it’s the warm feeling I felt after strolling through Kalemegdan Park amidst tulips and daffodils under a blue sunny sky this morning. Or maybe it’s the startling emotional shock I felt as I watched smiling families take photos of their children climbing onto a display of WWII tanks and guns lined up in front of Kalemegdan Fortress.

The joy of a beautiful spring day combined with an unsettling pain as I contemplated how such weapons could become children’s playground equipment in one country and at the same time be used to kill children in another.

Later, standing on the distant hilltop of the Kalemegdan fortress, the convergence of these thoughts seemed all the more impressive to me as I gazed over the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers flowing through Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.

I spent the past week at a conference there working with several Country Managers and their teams from Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and of course the host country. It was my first personal week facilitating values-based leadership and communication sessions in over two years.

It was also the first time I ever traveled to Serbia, where the Yugoslav wars spanned 10 years during my time as a writer and reporter for CNN.

This triggered a particularly sad memory as I recalled a night shift in the Washington office.

When I reviewed the raw video fed in from the region by Reuters, I was asked to select a 30-second clip to be used for a voice-over news story. But the images of a bombed-out orphanage shook me so much that tears ran down my face.

An editor walked by and when he saw me he called out, “If you don’t get tougher, you’ll never be good at this business.”

I didn’t say anything back to her at the time because I was too busy crying. But to this day I know the correct answer is just the opposite.

If I don’t care anymore, I’m not good for business. For every business.

Belgrade has purposely left a few war-ravaged buildings in its city center, damaged and unrepaired, as a constant reminder of the harm people can do to one another. But the capital, as I mentioned earlier, is also awash with blossoming trees, flowers and sunshine which, like Easter, remind us of the hope of rebirth and renewal.

These contrasting images, like the competing rivers, carry with them a confluence of emotions.

But as I write to you now from my hotel in Belgrade, I’ll rather focus on the positive.

This requires that we do not “harden” ourselves, as I was once admonished, but that we consciously focus on our need to devote ourselves each day to living with purpose.

We are called not only to “be” leaders, but also to “act” as leaders.

In the spirit of positivity I will then share with you the list of affirmations that I have shared with my teams here in Belgrade this Easter week. I encourage you to read them out loud.

I’m proud of myself and everything I’ve achieved

Take a moment and reflect. I know there is something. Don’t get caught saying, “Self praise is not praise.” Stand tall and be proud of what you’ve already been through. From what you have endured. From what you have achieved. You deserve to be proud. Confidence is not cocky.

I know I can keep growing

Use your pride to strengthen your commitment to keep going and growing. As my grandma used to say, “Good, better, best. never let it rest Until good is better and better is best.” (I didn’t like hearing her say that when I was a kid, but now that she’s gone I’d give anything to hear her say it again Listen.)

I’m open to change

Change is not a bad thing, it is part of growth. Being open to change doesn’t mean we’re not holding on to ourselves. We are open to becoming better versions of ourselves. So change is good.

I’m grateful to learn from new experiences, even if I struggle with it

In other words, change doesn’t necessarily come easily.

When we decide to calibrate our communication or leadership style, we may encounter difficulties.

My encouragement here is to first understand that this is normal and ask you to make sure you get additional support from a colleague, a mentor or a coach.

I’m focused and persistent

Most positive trajectories are not exponential. In fact, many of our achievements seem to progress quickly at first, then level off and require more effort, time, and dedication.

take weight loss It’s pretty easy to lose five pounds (or two kilos) in a week or so. But the rest of the weight gets harder to shed.

Keep it up. You can get there.

I’m about to become the best version of myself

Above all, focus on that. To show value, you must first believe in the power of values. This Easter, rededicate yourself to appreciating yourself.

Write to Gina in care of

With corporate clients on five continents, Gina London is a leading expert in communications strategy, structure and execution. She is also a media analyst, author, speaker and former CNN anchor. @TheGinaLondon This Easter Sunday, stand tall and be proud of who you are

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