Beyond the Crucible

Jan 12 2021 49 mins 1

You are more than your failures and setbacks. We share stories of leaders who have moved beyond life’s most difficult moments to lead lives of significance, and insights on how you can do the same. Hosted by Warwick Fairfax.

Nancy Koehn Part 2: Polar Explorer Ernest Shackleton's Unimaginable Series of Crucibles is a Lesson in Always "Facing Forward" -- #26
Jul 07 2020 47 mins  
Ernest Shackleton and the men he was leading on an expedition to cross Antarctica had piled up a breathtaking number of life-threatening crucibles by late 1915. Stuck motionless in polar block ice for months, hundreds of miles off course with no way to communicate their location to anyone who could help, Shackleton and his men were running low on the supplies they had already been forced to ration in miserly fashion when their greatest disaster struck: The ice that had trapped their ship now closed in to crush it, leaving the men fully exposed to the bitter cold with no choice but to traverse the ice floes that surrounded them in desperate search of safety. Shackleton's mission had changed for good from one of discovery to one of survival for himself and his men. On this episode of BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE, Harvard Business School Professor Nancy Koehn, who profiles Shackleton in her Wall Street Journal best-seller Forged in Crisis, explains in detail how the British polar explorer's only hope was to forget the disasters he and his crew had endured and "face forward" with grit, ingenuity, and improvisation. "Crisis leaders get better and better and better," she tells host Warwick Fairfax. "You can see it iteratively if you study them as I do." To learn more about Nancy Koehn, visit To learn more about Crucible Leadership, visit

Tommy Breedlove: Surviving Abuse, Learning to Love Himself and Living a Legendary Life -- #22
Jun 02 2020 56 mins  
Tommy Breedlove isn't one to make excuses. Yes, the physical and emotional violence he endured as a boy led him to become violent himself as a teen, landing him in jail for his 19th birthday. But when he was mentored by a fellow inmate and inspired to avoid another trip behind bars, he took responsibility for his recovery. He toiled at low-wage jobs by day and studied hard at night, landing a position at a prestigious financial services firm just three years later. And yet, while his career skyrocketed -- promotions, pay raises, the respect of his bosses and envy of his colleagues -- the bottom fell out of his life again at 36. Lying in a ditch, unsure how he got there literally and figuratively, he once again had to summon the strength and courage to bounce back. In the aftermath of this second setback, he tells Crucible Leadership founder and BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE host Warwick Fairfax, Breedlove decided to strip himself of all the identify-hiding masks he'd worn on his way up the corporate ladder -- and discovered how to love himself and let others love who he really was. Those breakthroughs have led him to a rewarding career as a best-selling author and in-demand leadership coach and speaker, sharing with clients and audiences his hard-earned insights on discovering their life's purpose and living legendary lives For more information about Tommy Breedlove, visit To learn more about Crucible Leadership, visit

Trent Griffin-Braaf: Dealing Drugs Cost Him His Freedom, Prison Taught Him Humility and the Rewards of Serving Others - #17
Apr 14 2020 54 mins  
His father died when he was 9. Not long after, his mother's drug addiction forced him out of his home to live with his grandparents. Money was tight, school was not his strong suit, and by his late teens Trent Griffin-Braaf was running with the wrong crowd. By 19, he was serving 4-12 years in prison for selling drugs. But he tells Crucible Leadership founder and BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE host Warwick Fairfax that when he had to attend his grandmother's funeral in shackles, unable to hug grieving loved ones because of the chains, he decided he would not allow being locked up to be his legacy. He seized the academic opportunities prison offered, and when he was paroled after three years he dedicated himself to learning all he could to build a life he could be proud of. He landed a job at a hotel cleaning toilets, spent hours soaking up from co-workers the ins-and-outs of their jobs -- and in a few years had become the hotel's general manager. But he had a grander vision -- and risked all he had achieved to launch an airport shuttle serving Schenectady, N.Y.'s hotels. The business took off, and continues to grow: It now serves former inmates in the area not only with assistance in getting to and from work, but helps them find work that will allow them to build their own lives of significance. What has his journey taught him? "I believe in my heart that from doing good you get good," he says. For more information on Trent Griffin-Braaf, visit To learn more about Crucible Leadership, visit

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