George VI, becomes king after the sudden abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII. The circumstantial king rises to the occasion, especially, when his country’s eyes and ears are fixated on him. Upon assuming the throne, King George VI, needs to deliver his first ever wartime radio broadcast on Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in 1939. This film is a classic example of overcoming the fear of public speaking. The king hires an unconventional Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush. I highly recommend watching this film.
Here are my 3 learnings from the movie:
Show up everyday: To me, this is golden. Silently clocking the hours is the key to moving forward and breaking those barriers that you once considered herculean. The king goes to practice every single day. He hated it. He wanted to quit. But, there was no other option. He had to deliver his wartime speech. The journey was visibly very frustrating for him and the therapist too. But they stuck together. They did not quit. The king persevered through all the challenges thrown at him. He showed up everyday to fight his battle. He stayed in the game.
Ask for help: The king had reached a point where he had no clue on how to break free from his stammering problem. Upon a recommendation, the Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, was sought for help. Lionel plays the role of a friend, guide and a tough teacher who sees through the struggles of a king and shows him the mirror when he needs to. To top this, the speech therapist had no actual formal qualification to train the king. However, Lionel did have the experience of helping shell-shocked American soldiers that returned from World War I. After the king’s initial reluctance, Lionel turned out to be an ideal choice for him. He believed in his techniques and knew he could help the distressed king. Find the best people who are right for you, and not necessarily amazing on paper. Even a king needs help. You and me, are ordinary individuals.
Authenticity matters: The king knew his limitations or weaknesses if you will. He knew it to the point that he allowed the impediment to crush his confidence. He knew his stuttering problem was a major cause of embarrassment in public. The simple king knew deep within that to connect with his people, he had to be himself. He led with his vulnerability. When you move beyond the need to be liked and approved, there is incredible power in being yourself. Few can hold their ground, the way King George VI did. After all the training and practice, the king still feared making that speech; but he did it anyway and won.