You must act according to your lights;
there is no way to escape your moral dilemma
through pretending to exist on a higher plane
of spiritual or moral detachment.
~ Bhagavad Gita
We began our exploration of The Art of Warrior Leadership and its principles last week. If you missed the last edition go here:
The Gita is one of the greatest philosophical classics ever written in my experience. I’ve read it at least 25 times.
It’s a book on war.
But not just any war though, the greatest war of all time.
Written somewhere between 400 BCE and 200 CE, it’s still as true today as it ever was.
It’s the battle to wrestle and overcome our own demons, internal resistance, and limiting thought processes. It’s the greatest battle we’ll ever fight; and it never ends.
In the above statement Krishna (the Lord of Discipline), coaches Arjuna (the Warrior), that he has a battle to fight; and he can’t step back on his spiritual high horse and use the bullshit we so often hear coming from so-called “spiritual circles” as an excuse not to act.
Arjuna must fight!
And so must you.
So let us continue with the principles to help us fight on in The Art of Warrior Leadership:
4. Empowerment and Ownership
In today’s world speed is king. We no longer have the luxury of waiting for the sole dictator to make all decisions.
In today’s world speed is king.
We no longer have the luxury of waiting for the sole dictator,
who calls himself a leader, to make all the decisions.
That’s archaic thinking; and not leadership.
All team members must be empowered to decide and to act.
In my business consulting practice I’ve found this old model to be one of the greatest limitations and bottlenecks to super-productivity.
Old leadership is like a football game. With one coach and one quarterback making all the plays and calls.
Warrior leadership is more like basketball, hockey, or war. Unlike football, things are moving way too fast for one person to be making all the calls. Even two people can’t do it.
Herein lies the art. For art is intuitive, quick and spontaneous. Oh yes, there is science and strategy for sure.
But if it’s to be powerful, it’s fueled by art.
Each person has to know the ultimate objective and why. He has to know his part in its achievement; and he must have the latitude to make decisions accordingly. He must be empowered to act in accordance with his best knowledge.
There are no excuses, nor the time, to wait for guidance.
5. Loyalty to Comrades
Never shall I fail my comrades.
I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight.
I will shoulder more than my share of the task, whatever it may be.
One hundred percent and then some.
Surrender is not a ranger word.
~ Army Ranger Creed
Warrior Leadership understands that none of us wins unless we all win.
We don’t fight for ourselves alone.
We cannot retreat to a Himalayan cave.
Our responsibility is to do what we can to bring value to the market; to advance and improve human evolution.
This begins with us facilitating our own advancement and evolution.
Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what this world needs is people who have come alive.
~ Howard Thurman
One of the greatest Warrior Leaders of all times was Alexander the Great.
At one occasion Alexander and his troops had been on crusade for months; and they’d been trekking for days upon end without water. Alexander’s scout returned and brought with him a mere helmet full of water. He immediately gave it to Alexander.
Alexander turned and faced his famished troops and poured the entire helmet on the ground stating, “If we all don’t drink, no one drinks.”
A thunderous cheer and renewed inspiration rose from the troops. How could they not follow a leader who cared this much?
It’s important to share the hardships and the danger
to show your men that you understand; and you care.
~ General Stanley McChrystal
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall.
~ Nelson Mandela
Let’s face it. Life and business are hard.
According to Bloomberg 80% of all small businesses fail and go out of business within the first 18 months or less.
But it’s not just small business.
Just a few years ago the average lifespan of a Fortune 500 company was 75 years. Now it’s less than 15 years and sharply declining according to Forbes Magazine.
Resilience may be one of the most important skills and arts of the Warrior Leader. The skills to adapt; and the art to keep mind focused and in the game, irrespective of the challenges faced.
To take hits. To analyze what’s learned, to make the adjustments necessary, and to act boldly once again. To get back up and into the arena.
Those with grit are willing to pay the price for their prize; and they do whatever it takes.
Grit is more than perseverance, for grit is grounded in purpose and calling versus just a career. Grit precedes perseverance; and it’s the foundation upon which perseverance and persistence are built.
Those with grit welcome challenge and adversity. Not to say it’s always enjoyable. It’s not.
Yet, the payoff for a life of adversity and challenge is a life of freedom. No longer are we a whiny little sack of ailments needing circumstances to be this way and that.
No longer are we a self-important little baby thinking the entire universe revolves around us; and that God must do our bidding.
Come what may, we’re strong, and ready, and grateful for the opportunity life affords.
We have the mental toughness and grit; and we are truly free!
Free to fight our own battle till the end of our days.
Free to bring our own greatness and purpose to the world; and thereby make our own dent in the universe.
We’re here to put a dent in the universe.
Otherwise, why else even be here?
~ Steve Jobs
Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic!