By Kevin O'Keefe

We Want to Live, and We Want to Be Victorious

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“We want to live, and we want to be victorious.”

The words of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, addressing the Canadian Parliament this morning.

Merriam-Webster defines hero a few ways.

  • A mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
  • An illustrious warrior
  • A person admired for achievements and noble qualities
  • One who shows great courage

We have the hero of our lifetimes in President Volodymyr Zelensky.

On Sunday, President Zelensky was out walking the streets of Kyiv as a show that he’s still among the people – even though the capital is under constant bombardment and he is target number for the Russians.

From there he headed to the hospitals to visit with wounded Ukrainian soldiers.

Never in my lifetime have I seen a national leader in army green holding an iPhone to take a selfie with a soldier in a hospital bed.

Imagine how the soldier’s family felt when they received the picture by text a few seconds later.

One of the most well known phrases in leadership is to “walk the talk.”

The leader’s behavior and day-to-day actions have to match the aspirations they have for their colleagues and the organization.

Any doubt that President Zelensky walks the talk was removed when President Biden called President Zelensky a couple weeks ago to discuss his exit to live in another country.

The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride,” the President responded.

We go to conferences. We sit on Zoom calls. We discuss HR issues where individuals place their interests above the team’s.

All seem so petty when we look at the assault on the Ukraine, all of its people being killed, the refuges that may never be reunited with family and much of Ukraine’s history being wiped from the face of the land.

All I can personally do for the people of the Ukraine is to pray for them and provide financial support in small ways.

Perhaps what I can do even more is learn from President Volodymyr Zelensky.

  • That I am stronger than I might give my self credit for.
  • The interests of others are more important than my own.
  • With faith and belief, its possible to overcome the impossible.
  • There is a role for the underdog in this world.
  • Seek help from your friends, but be ready to go it alone if you don’t get what you need.

I have seen tough times in starting a law firm and founding a couple legal tech companies. Many moments when I thought there was no way out.

I went through the toughest time ever in losing my partner of forty-five years. Any number of days that I wanted to just chuck it all away and lead a life of some recluse.

These were pre-Zelensky days.

No matter the outcome of the war – and Zelensky’s going to win it for the people of Ukraine – I will always have this hero in mind when I begin to think times are tough.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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