The Orange Revolution – Understanding Influence in Leadership

In the year 2004 Victor Yushchenko stood for the presidency of the Ukraine- a large country in Eastern Europe known for its mainstream churches, Black Sea coastline and forested mountains. Passionately opposed by the ruling party Yushchenko’s face was disfigured and he almost lost his life when he was mysteriously poisoned. This was not enough to deter him from standing for the presidency. On the day of the election Yushchenko was comfortably in the lead. It is said that the ruling party tampered with the results to retain power and governance.

Making The Choice

When the state run television station reported that Victor Yushchenko had lost elections, a brave woman who was providing translation for the deaf on the right hand corner of the screen by the name of Natalia Dmitruk refused to translate. She translated a powerful message that gave rise to a movement against the regime of the time. “ I’m addressing all the deaf citizens of Ukraine” she signed. “They are lying and I’m ashamed to translate those lies. Yushchenko is our president.”

The Impact of Decisive Leadership

The deaf community sprang into gear and informed friends about the fraudulent result . As news spread of Dmitruk’s act of defiance , increasing numbers of journalists were inspired to likewise tell the truth.

If you believe that a job title or position is what gives you power to influence and inspire others, you're holding yourself back and restricting your growth. Influence is rooted in convictions and beliefs.

Over the coming weeks the “Orange Revolution” occurred as a million people wearing orange made their way to the capital city of Kiev demanding a new election.

The government was forced to meet their demands and a new election was held which led to Victor Yushchenko becomingpresident.

The story of the Orange Revolution is one of how an insignificant, unpopular Natalia Dmitruk influenced millions by just being true to who she was. Leadership is never about popularism, fame and glory. In most cases, like Natalias one; it is about choosing to go left when the whole world is going right. It is about setting your own course and path through remaining true to your beliefs, convictions and ultimately to truth. “One shall chase a thousand and two ten thousand.” This is true influence and power. Those who often possess it never plan to have it. It is a result of a consistent way of living a disciplined life.

The story is also a great depiction of how powerful one simple act can be. It is a commanding analogy of authentic leadership and authority. Influence does not start with how much money you have, although those that often have lot of money consequently have great influence. Natalia Dmitruk (born 1957) was not even a news anchor, she was just a sign language translator who translated what the news anchor was saying. Years later, her story of courage is still impacting many across the world.

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