The life, struggles, and near miraculous accomplishments of Helen Keller have been used over and over to inspire and provide a real life illustration of how one’s will can be a driving force to overcome the most difficult of circumstances. Perhaps, her life and the inspiration provided hold the potential to also illustrate a variety of leadership principles.
Most know that it took Helen three years to learn the alphabet. To understand others she would place her middle finger on the nose of the person talking and then she would place her other three fingers on the speaker’s upper lip and her thumb on their larynx. In this way she could interpret what was being spoken. This says nothing of the difficulty of her learning to speak, and overcoming her lack of sight.
It is in relation to her sight that we can learn a valuable leadership lesson. In the later years of her life and in an interview with a reporter she was asked what she thought was worse than being blind. Her reply, “having eyes to see, but not having vision.”
As a leader, we hold the position and the responsibility, the eyes in Ms Keller’s vision equation. But as she insightfully saw - sight doesn’t equal vision. As leaders we ought to regularly take stock and examine whether we also possess and use our vision. Veldon L. Law, Ed.D.