Last week I began to share tools for you to master aspects of yourself so that you can live a life of joy, celebration, and truth. This week I want to share a few more couples of soft and hard virtues that are guidelines for living your purpose and potential. Staying on target with your unique calling means mastering the following virtues.
- Trust and Respect: Trust is an action. You act out of trust to demonstrate you possess this quality. And the more you respect yourself and others respect you, the more trustworthy you become. At the partner or team levels, this becomes a virtuous loop, cementing a bond that bolsters everyone’s spirit and performance.
- Justice and Peace: You extend your hand in peace, but if someone does something evil in response, you can easily close that hand into a fist. The great Apaches said that the true warrior is the last to pick up a lance, but he’s willing to do so and lay down his life for others to bring justice. Often, people take no action to take a stand. This method doesn’t always work. Cultivate peace, but not to the extent that you let someone trample you.
- Courage and Commitment: Acting with courage reinforces your commitment to your mission or team. It requires courage to leave a bad situation but allows you to commit to something better. As a leader of the SEALs, four-star Admiral Bill McRaven committed ten years to getting Osama Bin Laden. His courage-commitment loop was unbreakable, leading to Bin Laden’s capture.
- Honor and Truth: Honor is seen in action, which comes from directives from your heart intuition, where the soft, unbiased truth lives. When I was in Iraq in 2004, my commanding officer, Captain O’Connell, used to say: “If you’re going to take an action and are uncertain, how would you want to read about this if it showed up in The New York Times on Monday?” This test will determine whether your behavior is honorable.
- Discipline and Joy: Challenging yourself daily to improve, exercise, eat well, sleep well, and speak well. Warriors are disciplined. The challenge of being disciplined, however, goes away with time. That’s the soft side of discipline—joy. Bestselling author and my teammate from SEAL Team 3, Jocko Willink, will tell you in his bestseller, Extreme Ownership, that discipline equals freedom. I really like that. Without discipline, you’re a slave to your lack of ability.
If you don’t feel like you’re on the full integrated path yet, at least keep it at a slow burn in your life. Self-assess periodically and contemplate the eight virtue loops I have shared in these latest blog posts. Step into your possible archetypes daily until you figure out your next calling. It’s better to dive in daily than hope to develop the skills when things fall apart. Otherwise, you’ll be discontent, unfulfilled, and unable to perform at your peak along the way. It will lead to a crisis of confidence. You won’t be able to see your future clearly. You’ll feel like you’re drifting, dying inside, giving up, being left behind, or missing your calling with no mission focus. So, don’t stop now. You have already come so far!