Guest Article by Fleetwood
A few weeks ago, Private Fleetwood submitted this answer to a Rank 2 Warrior assignment, “Describe Yourself.” This was intended as one of the easier assignments – Pick five keywords that describe yourself, then discuss how they fit you and what they mean for your future. Fleetwood turned it into something much more, and we thought it deserved a wider audience. Here is the story of one Warrior Hero. We hope it will inspire others as it inspired us. – Corey and Lori
Noun – What Am I?
- I am a Leader. I am bold and brave and take action when it is needed.
- I am a Listener, seeking to understand.
- I am a Teacher and want to help others learn.
- I am a Follower if you can show me a better way.
- I am a Friend and will be there when you need me.
- I am a Free Spirit and seek my own way.
- I am a Loner and need time to myself.
- I am a Student, always ready to learn.
- I am a Lover and will Fight for what I love.
- I am a Gamer and love to play.
- I am a Writer and need to create.
- I am an Artist and want everything perfect.
- I am an Innovator, seeking new things, new ways, and new ideas.
- I am a Slacker when I’ve lost inspiration.
- I am a Provider and bring home the bacon.
- I am an Explorer and want to look around and see.
- I am all of these things.
This was by far the most difficult assignment that I’ve had. I’ve been coming back to it and pushing it off again for the better part of the year. It all boiled down to the fact that I could not describe myself using only on noun. I thought about it and finally, after much soul searching, sat down and started to choose one. But I realized that I could not pick simply one. In the past I have received praise for changing the nature of the assignment and doing what is right for me. While in school I was often penalized for such actions, the Way of the Warrior has encouraged me to follow my own path. So that is what I ultimately decided to do for this assignment.
Adjective – What Drives Me?
The Adjective that best describes me is Curious. I love learning and understanding how things work. This is the fuel for my desire for Adventure and Exploration. I am a warrior and not a wizard, however, because I like to do things with my knowledge, and because I have a broad, rather than deep and focused, range of skills and interests. This is why I decided against a Ph.D., and a career in research. I had to pick one part of one topic and spend my time doing research. I wanted to learn a wide variety of things that would be useful in everyday life.
My Greatest Skill
By far, my greatest skill is my resourcefulness. I am a problem solver by nature, and I get my greatest joy by solving problems, especially those problems that can help others. When faced with a problem, my mind, almost automatically, begins to think of ways to tackle it. I get great pleasure in figuring out and then implementing solutions. This is one of the reasons I am thinking of not pursuing a career in management consulting. Too much time spent on analysis and recommendation, and not enough time spent on implementation and execution.
My Greatest Fears
When I was younger, I never would have believed that I would sort out as a warrior. As a child, I would have thought I would have been a wizard. As a teen, definitely a paladin. But as an adult, I am not surprised that I sorted as a warrior. Leadership is very important to me, but more important than that is the struggle I face to be honest with myself and maintain my integrity. I have fears, that as a boy I would have thought would have excluded me from the ranks of the warrior class: fear of confrontation and fear of success. But as a man, I have come to realize that it is not your fears that define you; it is how you deal with your fear.
Despite being a warrior, I am afraid of confrontations and I tend to avoid them. This fear has caused me great hardship in the past, as I avoided breaking up with girls I did not like, avoided talking to my parents and avoided situations where I would have been much better served to act with boldness and integrity. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to value the importance and necessity of confrontation, but I still get nervous before a difficult conversation. And every once in a while, I put one off longer than I need to. Luckily, my internal integrity/guilt regulator comes on and pushes me to do the right thing.
Unlike many people, I am not really afraid of failure. I am not afraid of making mistakes, nor do I fear failing. I understand that we learn best through failure, and I have gained most of my life experience through doing things incorrectly. Being willing to take some risks and accepting that failing is a normal and natural part of life has pushed me and shaped my character in ways I can’t even imagine. I know that as long as you keep trying, you haven’t really failed. What I do fear, however, is success. For whatever reason, I am unwilling or unable to let myself be really successful. Time after time after time, I get to a level of success, only to self-sabotage myself and fall back down to nothing. This cycle has repeated itself over and over during the course of my lifetime. But each time it happens, I allow myself more success than I did the last time. Each time I see that I am capable of success and I am capable of achievement. Each time I learn skills on how to deal emotionally with success and how to manage the fruits of my success. This past year was quite difficult for me emotionally, but I believe I am back on the upswing. On my last cycle, I achieved more success than I ever thought possible, only to realize that I had based some of my personal philosophies on unsubstantial things. This time through, I think I am on a more solid base and I have a partner to tackle the journey (my fiancee). I am going to try again to get a career in the space industry and see how it goes. I don’t know if I have quite gotten over my fear of success, but I am definitely not as afraid as I used to be.
My greatest weakness is procrastination. I push things off that I think are going to be uncomfortable. It is a very bad weakness, the contrary force to that great warrior trait, initiative.
I have, however, been able to overcome procrastination to a certain extent. I’ve found that motivation seems to be one of the key drivers to help me overcome procrastination, as do reminders from my fiancée about things that need to be done. However, it seems that the best way for me to overcome my procrastination, is to just do it and not think about it.
Motivation and Goals
Goals have been a great way to overcome my procrastination. Stating clear goals and them breaking them down into manageable chunks (a skill I learned in MBA) makes it easier to take care of business. Indeed, one thing I realized during this assignment is that if I turn my goals into problems, I can think of creative ways to solve them. I did this recently when I was trying to help a friend work on her resume. I really had no idea how to even begin. Then I thought about the problem as an opportunity for creative problem solving. I turned the problem into a “creative problem” and thought about what steps I had to do to solve it. I came up with a good plan and worked it until completion. Since I started this assignment, I’ve been thinking of all of my tasks, as mini-projects. I’ve been doing a fair job of getting things done, but I still see that there are tasks I’ve been avoiding. After reviewing this section, I’ll try again to think of my tasks as problems that need to be solved.
Confidence from my MBA
One of the best things that I learned during my MBA was how to work. There was always far too much to be done, but you still had to do it. During the last week of the first quarter, I had three exams and two essays due in 5 days. After that week, I realized that I can just sit and work and get things done.
That skill/feeling/knowledge has helped me out time and time again, not just during the rest of my MBA career, but every time I have a difficult project to accomplish. If it wasn’t for the discipline I learned at school, it is doubtful if I would have advanced as far in the School for Heroes as I have. I am very grateful for the pain that I suffered, because it has made me a better warrior.
Slicing and Dicing
One reason I tend to put things off, is because the job seems too hard or difficult. That’s when cutting it up helps. If I can’t do the whole thing, I slice a piece of it off and do that. I am in the middle of a project that I figure is 3 hours – calling back leads. In order to apply some motivation, I pulled out the best leads and made a mini project out of it. I still have the bulk to call, but at least the most important ones have been taken care of. I’m in the middle of another project now, also callbacks, and its really dragging. Its only an hour project, but maybe I will apply the same logic, and cut it down into two or three mini projects to help me get it done.
Reminders from My Fiancée
Nothing helps like a friendly reminder from my beloved. She helps me keep on course. I love her very much.
Just do it!
Nike said it best. Sometimes, the best thing to do is just do it. I pinch my nose, and just dive right in. I often find that just by starting a difficult or uncomfortable assignment, I become motivated to continue. I try this now when I wake up in the morning. Instead of deciding whether or not I want to wake up, I just get out of bed. Instead of spending time feeling how difficult it will be to call people on my list or deciding what to say, I just dial the number and put the phone to my ear. Once they pick up, I start talking. I just do it.
I think what this means is that I have problems and difficulties, but I have the means to overcome them. I have never taken a systematic analysis of myself in this light. In school, we would often conduct SWAT analysis of companies – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, but this is the first time I’ve ever done it to myself. I see now that the problems I have are actually quite common in most people. Weakness and fear usually hide in the dark places of our mind, but airing them out in the light lets us see them for what they really are.
In truth, I didn’t realize that I could use my skills to deal with my weakness. Part of my procrastination is due to the fact that I think I can’t do something because it is too hard (lack of confidence), or because it seems too painful (fear of confrontation). But through completing this assignment, I realize that I have far more personal resources and personal strenght than I ever though possible. I think that I will be okay from here on in.
I have been working on this one assignment in some form or another, for almost exactly one year. It was the first Private assignment I started, and the last one I completed. I began actively working on this assignment about a month ago, and in that short time I have experienced a personal revival. Thinking about my strengths and weaknesses together has allowed me to use my strengths to combat my weakness. In the last month I have accomplished a great deal, both at work and in my private life. I’ve turned all of my tasks into problems that needed to be solved. Instead of worrying about what a bad planner I am, I turn plans into problems to be solved, and then solve them. I had the answer all along. I just had to be willing to find my own way.