The Storyteller’s Compass – Kjarkur

One of my favorite leadership ideas from the past few years is the term Kjarkur. The word means Courage in English but there is an added level of Viking-like intensity when used in Icelandic. The Nordic understanding of Kjarkur adds a level of “Burn the Ships” mentality, forward movement and not looking back.

Kjarkur is certainly in the big moments of Leadership.

We’ve all heard the great stories of great leaders in great moments. Abraham Lincoln in the United States Civil War is one for me. How about you? Maybe the big promotion at work or the dramatic story in your life of standing up against an injustice.

Kjarkur is also in the small moments of Leadership.

The small, consistent, intentional steps forward each day in our Leadership Life-stories also show Kjarkur.

The Hamstra Homestead is going through some changes this Fall 2023. Mid-August I drove two-hours north to drop off my daughter at the State University for her last year. I then drove four-hours south to drop off my son for his first year at University. For them, a BIG step of courage exploring new places, spaces, people, and ideas that are made up from the small steps forward each day. I’m proud of WHAT these kids are doing but also WHO they are.

Kjarkur in Leadership Life-stories

With the “official” launch of the website and Facebook page for Leadership Life-stories in September, I’m excited about the months forward connecting individuals and organizations for Leadership and Faculty Development. I continue to believe that these steps are important in our personal and professional lives. Leadership Life-stories can help individuals DISCOVER moments of Self-Awareness, DEVELOP their God-given gifts, and then DELIVER stories that authentically serve our families, our communities, and our organizations.

These steps represent a slow, relentless series of positive steps forward in Kjarkur (Courage) over the past 15-years. I continue to wrestle with my courage. Even writing these blog posts my desire is that they offer new thinking and practical steps that are helpful. I was reflecting on these steps recently with my bride Dawnette, I was struck by the slow growth and moments that can only be justified in God’s timing.

Kjarkur – Practical Steps and Encouragement for You

Let me offer encouragement and practical steps as you engage Kjarkur in your Leadership Life-stories.

Personally: Listen well to your family this week to hear their stories. What steps do you need to take to connect with your teenage or adult children, face-to-face to encourage them?

Professionally: What fills you with joy in your work? How can you continue to strengthen these skills and abilities? Who can you connect with this week?

Spiritually: In the midst of a busy schedule, are you spending time in prayer or meditation?

Kjarkur in our Leadership Life-stories are around us all the time. Whether they are the big moments of leadership or the small steps of life each day, open your eyes to see them, listen well to hear them and may you have the courage to engage them this week.

Let's Connect

One of my strongest passions is connecting with others and hearing their stories. Even if we never work together, I’d still love to meet you, learn more about you, and hear some of your unique experiences.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you, future friend. 

Chris Hamstra

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