Gumption and Golden Leadership Examples

Nobody seems to know the word ‘gumption’ these days let alone use it. It is my personal mission this year to bring it back. Why? Because our world needs courageous leaders with the positive energy that a get-up-and-go attitude can bring to the challenges we are facing in our world. Let me explain…

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘gumption’ as having courage and strength, but a further search found the meaning that I know: ‘the kind of courage and get-up-and-go that makes undertaking difficult things possible’.

Growing up in 1980s Australia, every Friday night I was thrilled by new episodes of programmes like Magnum PI, Knight Rider, and The A Team. Every episode was a 1 hour hero's journey. A baddie would set a challenge that the protagonist didn’t want to take on, then (usually with 15 minutes left in the episode and just before the ad break) you could see it rising - gumption! There was a look in our would-be hero’s eyes that said “I don’t want to, but I know in my heart that it’s the right thing to do… I’m going to have to do something about it.” They would usually shake their head and have a little chuckle at the thought that they would have ever tried to run from the challenge.

Our heroes would then spring into action, creatively using their unique skills to take on the challenge.

This is what I want to see more of in the world, people with a ‘get-up-and-go spirit to take on difficult things’. Yes, we are overwhelmed with news of atrocities and concerns about our future, but this is exactly why we need it. We need that moment everyday when we dig deep, raise our eyes to the sky as we shake our heads and say to ourselves “hard as it is, I’m going to do the right thing.”

This month Reboot the Future wants to introduce you to leaders that we believe have ‘gumption’. Through these 5 audios our leaders will share with you the challenges they realised they couldn’t run from, the moment they felt gumption rising - the ‘hard as it is, I’m going to do the right thing’ moment - and what they did about it.

Golden Leadership Examples

Kim Polman, Reboot’s Co-Founder and Chair, says that along with listening and action, taking courage is necessary to live by the Golden Rule; to treat others and the planet as you’d wish to be treated. She interviewed each of the 5 leaders and was keen for them to identify the moment that they realised they needed to take action. Kim would call this their moment of ‘epiphany’; I think it’s ‘gumption’ that comes next. The interviews took place at the Anthropy National Summit onsite at the Eden Project in Cornwall in November 2023, just as storm Ciaron was hitting the south west coast of the United Kingdom. You might hear wind, the occasional chatter of delegates and birds in the background as the leaders share their inspiring stories. So we suggest that as you listen you imagine yourself outside, as Kim and our leaders were, wrapped in a warm coat, standing by a lush vegetable garden overlooked by towering biomes.

Kim Paykel

Using your gifts and what you love to tackle problems.

What things do you love to do that you’re really good at? 

Richard Dunne

Sharing your message in an authentic and meaningful way.

Do you have a vision of something that you would like to create?

What steps could you take to bring this into being? Who would you ask to support you?

Frieda Gormley

Challenging the status quo and championing purpose in others.

Are there rules that you live by that you would like to change?

What would it mean for you to connect with your heart and bring it into the way you work?

Cecilia Manosa Nyblon

Don’t wait to get started, even if your idea isn't fully formed.

What ideas do you have to help others and the planet that you could explore?

Who could you call in to work with you?

Rich Good

Listen to your inner voice.

Can you make time to stop and really listen to what’s in your heart as to what you need to do to serve the world?

Asking questions like… “What breaks my heart? What do I love and care for? And What activities engross you so much that you forget to eat?”... can help you on your path with this.

You need to listen, take courage and act 

We hope that these stories inspire you to turn to face the challenge that just won’t leave you alone. More than anything we hope that you feel that energy rising inside and have that little chuckle as you step forward to do what you uniquely can offer to do to build a better world.

Kim Polman, Co-Founder and Chair of Reboot the Future, says that you need to do 3 things to live by the Golden Rule, to treat others and the planet as you’d wish to be treated. You need to listen, take courage and act. 

Well, this year I am re-labelling courage ‘gumption’.

Unleash Your Gumption

We've been inspired by incredible leaders with remarkable "gumption" - that get-up-and-go spirit to tackle tough problems. Now, it's your turn!

Introducing the Gumption Game! This interactive game will introduce you to inspiring leaders who embody the spirit of gumption. There are 5 challenges where you'll face thought-provoking questions and get insights from the leaders.

Here's how to play:

Read the challenge.

Read all the following options and choose one leader.

Each leader offers a unique perspective on "gumption."

Choose the one that resonates most and find inspiration to answer the related challenge.

Ready to play? Let's go!