“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”
— T. S. Eliot
We just launched a new three part series on Resilience on the Breaking Average Podcast. Have you seen it? The first episode aired recently centers on the concept of Acknowledging the Threats. The next episodes take it even further. This is such a powerful principle. Resilience is a secret untapped strength each of us have, we often just don't know it.
There's an old line from the legendary Japanese Military Strategist that sets the table.
Know thyself, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
What he's saying is spot on. You can't be yourself and face your challenges until you know yourself. That's where it starts. But that's not enough. He's also saying you can't face the enemy and defeat the enemy without knowing the enemy. Both are vital.
There are some battles ahead. Many of them. But there are some major victories in store. If you want to experience victory, take care of knowing yourself and knowing the threats. Both these facets are critical to success.
All the great mentors in life have been in on this. Socrates, Aristotle, I think even Yoda referred to it. It bears repeating, "know thyself!"
Here are some questions to get you started to know yourself.
Take a moment to think through these questions. Speak truth to yourself. Affirm YOU for a moment! Please. Don't be bashful.
If you are struggling, try this little exercise.
Imagine that one day you will have a bad case of amnesia. But there's an easy fix. There's a letter YOU wrote about YOU. It will jog your memory and get you back.
So in this exercise, consider writing yourself a letter to describe who you are today, so that if that ever did happen, you'd remember who you are. What would that letter say? What are your Passions, Strengths, Pursuits and Interests?
Think about it. It would be an accurate description of you, wouldn't it? You are not going to lie to yourself. Remind you of who you are. Look, in the Marvel movies, a superhero can only be a hero, unless they know who they are. The same is for you and me.
This is important, because when you know you, you know your choices. And when you know your choices, you can know your future. Why? Because you'll know the impact you can make.
The actions you take are always centered on the beliefs you make. This is because belief drives behavior. What do you know about you?
Know Thine Enemy
These next set of question might be a little harder. But don't miss it. They are just as important.
This is the next layer of questions to make sure you are keeping it real. Here's what's important though. Don't start with these set of Enemy questions until you've tackled the You questions from earlier. Why? Because if you don't, you likely won't see the value of YOU! And if you don't see the value of you, then you won't see the value of your future -- and other people's future.
So, go back if you haven't and get to know yourself first. Then come right back here, and let's address this one head on.
Are you back?
Okay - let's dive in. What scares you? What are your doubts? What are the internal and the external voices warning you about?
These set of questions are important because you can't really engage the enemy (and take the enemy down), unless you know the enemy. You don't want to fire at the target unless you know where the target it is.
The voice of the enemy often gets between the ears. It's that internal voice that says, "you can't", "you shouldn't", "I wouldn't", "No way!" And then we cognitively look for validators of our alleged weaknesses - looking for proof as to why we can't and won't. But doubt and fear, are always overcome by action. The only weakness is inaction. If we sit too long thinking, then the doubt and apprehension gets bigger. Let's see them for what they really are, by asking yourself a different question.
"Who says that I can't?"
This question has inspired me, moved me, and lifted me more times than not.
For me, it's activated hope and fueled my faith. It's given me the courage to step through the apprehension and discover how I can be resilient. That I am resilient!
It makes me want to create meme's that say something like "It doesn't count unless you can fail."
Here's another way to think of it. When light penetrates the dark, the coach-roach always scurries away. I learned this back in college. If you shine the light on the threat, then you are in position to take action (i.e., get to the sink), because it's going to show a clear path!
Now, I hope that coach-roach imagery didn't scare you. But it's true. The enemy is ready to be slayed. It's ready to flee. They don't know you. Like David versus Goliath, they don't know what's coming. If you shine the light just right, they won't be ready -- but you will. Shine the light! See the threat. Take action!
Know Yourself. Know Your Enemy. A thousand Battles. A thousand Victories!
Sun Tzu couldn't have said it any better.
Tune in for more by watching (or listening) to our recent podcast! This month we feature not only Mike Harbour and Rick Morris, but our good friend Trudy Menke.
Would love to hear from you!
P.S. Shout out to Dave Cornell and Cultivate Courage. Dave is my go to guide for Courage and Resilience. If doubt, fear, frustration, and uncertainty are facing you just a little bit, I encourage you to reach out to Dave today. Let him help you and your team! He's like the real-life Captain Picard of Courage. There's nobody better on this topic.