I met Etienne on a holiday conference call of Flight Free UK, which celebrates what life brings when we enjoy people, culture, cuisine, and so forth around us, not flying all over. The concept would have sounded crazy to me before trying, but the attendees had made that transition.
Etienne spoke joyfully about his working with Extinction Rebellion in the UK, a wonderful contrast with two things. First, his Olympic gold medal, which he overcame a huge deficit to win in front of a home crowd, after an injury months before that left the tiniest window to recover and retrain from. Second, the joy he spoke of getting arrested in civil disobedience acting with XR.
I saw a role model—someone with a prominent voice who acted from internal convictions.
Before talking protest, if you know me, you know I love the parts of sports, athletics, and competition that help us reach our potential—physical, mental, spiritual. I love learning of people surpassing imagined limitations to learn more about ourselves as individuals and humans. So of course I started by asking him about sports and Olympics.
Then we spoke about the passion we share on stewardship and leadership, not just passively watching, nor accepting that it’s hard or
For Etienne to say, as you’ll hear, that he’s doing the most important work of his life after the dedication to reach a global pinnacle of sport reinforces to me how valuable stewardship is in our world now. However many people call what we do extreme, role models like Etienne remind me that helping others is not extreme. It’s just the start.