Leadership Lessons From India’s Paralympian Star – Deepa Malik

When a spinal tumour paralysed her from the waist down, it was Deepa Malik’s passion that enabled her to kept her held high. Even three intensive surgeries could not dampen her zeal for life. Today, she is a proud silver medalist who created history by becoming the first Indian woman to bag a medal at the Paralympics. She continues to inspire millions worldwide with not just her unprecedented achievement as a paralympian, but also with her victory over unimaginable It’s a story of living your passion beyond challenges.

Here are the three powerful lessons we can draw out from the iron woman Deepa Malik on living beyond your fears –

1. Learn to take tough calls

Deepa Malik experienced her first paralytic shock at the age of 8 and then once again at the age of 26. The doctors diagnosed a tumor in her spinal column and she was left with limited options. Either to get the tumour removed and risk paralysis; or let the tumor grow and face certain death.

She chose a life filled with unforeseen challenges over certain death. Leaders too, often face high risk situations, both in business and life. In the book, Decide and Deliver by Marcia W. Blenko, the authors mention that leaders must be quick to identify critical decisions which make or break the business. This is because such decisions affect the profitability and growth of the organisation, in the long run. Instead of hiding behind ignorance, leaders need to take such challenges head on.

2. Optimism matters

Deepa prepared herself for the life post-surgery. She made the necessary changes to her home, and seemed help from her friends and family. These preparations provided some, if not complete, relief to her life post-surgery. However, she didn’t stop there. She worked at making herself strong and get back on her feet, once back home. She took up swimming to build up core strength.

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Similarly, leaders also need to plan ahead. Nokia failed to plan for the future, and they failed miserably. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Prepare well, but when life throws a throw ball, as it always will, learn to adapt.

3. Lead by example

Deepa didn’t let her disability stop her from learning new things. Even a spastic paraplegia (paralysis below chest level) early in her life couldn’t stop her from taking life by its horns. She achieved success not just as an athlete, a businesswoman, a rally car driver, but also a swimmer. She believes in spreading her message of hope all throughout the country.

Her optimism continues to inspire people to get up, and get going. She reflects authenticity because she is leading by example. In business circles, leaders are called authentic when they live their message. Leaders must not expect a development plan from the organisation; instead they should take the team forward with their vision and actions.

Just like artists who work on their craft day in and day out, leaders must work on themselves consistently. There are many shining examples of fearless and resilient real-life heroes like Deepa in the world. Let FocusU carry the message of leadership to your team. We would love to serve you and your team and help you reach the next level in your business through our leadership offerings.

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Source: Deepa Malik: Mettle path to a silver medal

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