Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward. ~ Henry Ford
Getting Back In the Saddle
The life of a leader can certainly be challenging sometimes. One minute you feel as though you are totally in control with things going well. And before you know it, you are lying flat on your back wondering what hit you.
The question is not “what knocked you down?,” the question to be answered is “how long will it take you to get back up?“
The Rocky Road
I’m sure most people have seen the boxing movie Rocky. In the fight for the championship, Rocky is badly beaten and is knocked down near the end of a round. Everyone who is rooting for him sees how much pain he is in and they all want it to end…for his sake.
One by one, they begin to yell “stay down Rocky, stay down.” But Rocky refuses to stay down and pulls himself up to a standing position just before the referee ends the match by reaching the count of TEN. Bloody and swollen, Rocky goes on to finish the round.
If you haven’t been knocked down in life, chances are that you eventually will. But rarely will you ever get knocked out.
But once you are knocked down, the count begins.
Here is what a champion does to get back up and win the fight…
“One“…take a few deep breaths…
“Two“… assess your situation…
“Three“….is it really so bad that you can’t continue?…
“Four“…you decide to get up…
“Five“…you hurt, you’re losing confidence, your opponent appears too strong…
“Six“…a few more breaths to clear your mind…
“Seven“…now you’re on one foot…
“Eight“…you put weight on both feet even though you are in a great deal of pain…
“Nine“… wobbling and dizzy you begin to rise.
Then, you are standing on your own two feet….the count stops as you stand up and wave off the referee…you want to continue. Seconds later, the bell rings.
That wasn’t so bad…you’re stronger than you thought. Bring on the next round!
Stretched Beyond Your Limit
Each time something knocks us down, we gain knowledge about our character. Whether in a family, work, or recreational situation, setbacks and challenges mean we have pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone.
We are no longer playing it safe and are stretching beyond our self-imposed limitations. This is when personal growth occurs. This is what effective leaders do.
Challenge yourself and your team members to do something that you each feel is just beyond your ability. Like a weight lifter, only when we push ourselves to our limit can we truly know what we are capable of.
So attempt something bold. You have very little to lose and a lot to gain.
Believe in yourself. If you fail on your first attempt, forget it. Focus on your next attempt and so on. The only way to lose is to quit before you succeed.
Do you model a “never give up” attitude for your employees? Have you ever felt so motivated to complete a task or a challenge that no matter what happened you simply refused to quit? How can we as leaders instill this motivation in our own team members?
Ken Jones, AIA, LEED AP is a Vice President at Grimm + Parker Architects in MD
A service-focused leader, Ken helps create meaningful architecture + client success
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