The black eye smiling back at you

24 12 2015

“If you lose a big fight, it will worry you all your life.  It will plague you – until you get your revenge.” ~ Muhammad Ali

I disagree with “The Greatest” on this point, even though I grew up with Ali as one of my heroes.  Yeah, losing a fight sucks – You may get your “revenge” in the business world, but more likely you’re going to end up with a bunch of new experience (dare I say wisdom?).  It’s not losing a fight that will plague you for the rest of your life: It’s backing down from a fight.  This I know from experience.  I once “turned tail and ran” from a fight in college, and I spend the next 2 years beating myself up about my cowardice.  Know how I fixed it?  I enlisted as a Soldier when Saddam invaded Kuwait, learned how to fight (and some leadership) and I haven’t backed down from a fight since.  Sure, I get beat up sometimes, but the bruises heal, and I can look in the mirror and return the stare (even if it does have a black eye) – something that I couldn’t do for those 2 years in college.

Leaders, pretending that a problem doesn’t exist IS backing down from a fight.  Letting poor employees slack doesn’t make the fight go away…  Being pushed around by vendors just makes them greedier.  Not standing up to your boss when they are unreasonable just means that they’ll push you around even more next time.  Running doesn’t solve it, it just delays it and makes it worse.  What happens is your own self-loathing for not dealing with it will build up, and then when the same employee, vendor or boss does a little tiny thing, you unreasonably blow up!  Measure your response to a confrontation, and fight back with proportional force (plus one – so you win!).  As uncomfortable as it may be, just face the challenge, and fight when you get the chance.  If not, I can almost promise you you’ll regret it.

Speaking of a plague…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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