I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

I am the master of my fate

I am the captain of my soul. 

This is an excerpt from ‘Invictus’ - by William Ernest Henley and it’s used in the film Invictus - the inspiring true story of the South African rugby team that won the World Cup (with Nelson Mandela’s avid support).

I got to see it on a recent cross-country flight. I really loved the story and found honest inspiration from Mandela (at least, Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of him), though I really sympathized with Matt Damon’s character, Francoise Pienaar - the captain of the team - trying to lead the South Africans to victory against seemingly impossible odds [among other things, the finale against the ever-intimidating All Blacks (seriously, watch that clip)].

Be it sports, startups, or life in general - great leadership is crucial to success, and it all starts with a single belief in your own ability, much the way Mandela and Pienaar sparked South Africa to a World Cup victory.

But you don’t have to be the president of your country or the captain of your team. You don’t even need followers. Everyone can be a leader.

You just need to be the captain of your soul.