“Ruthlessly Focused On The Objective”

There’s a great scene in one of the original Star Wars’ movies where old Yoda tells young Skywalker to raise his X-Wing fighter out of the swamp using the Force. Luke sighs and says, “All right. I’ll give it a try.”

“No,” says Yoda. “Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”

Growing up on the farm, I often felt overwhelmed by the responsibility and tasks my father expected of me. His philosophy was, “Can’t never could”. I admit that is not a very positive viewpoint, but it sure prevented me using “I can’t” as an excuse to not do something.

Effective leaders know when to bring the gift of challenge. When people hit a wall, they are able to help them look beyond the fear, exhaustion and limitation. Leaders show their people what they might become or achieve by pushing through the fatigue, frustration and the consuming desire to quit.

Gene Kranz, of Apollo 13 fame, explained that the magic to saving Apollo 13 was keeping his Mission Control team at NASA “ruthlessly focused on the objective.” He explained, “If you’re thinking about the what ifs you’re wasting time.”

Everyone has limitations in their ability, both real and imagined. The power to rise higher comes from being able to distinguish between the two.


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