Lead by Example


I remember the “quiet phase” of my lives as though it were yesterday.

It was easy to stand tall and be a role model, preaching about integrity and an uncompromising attitude when things went well. Without adversity it became easy to look at things from a distance far above.

That’s not to say my lives were easy. It was just that I also came through the other side unscathed, always landing on my feet, so to speak. I became stronger, wiser, influencing the destiny of others and watching as others started believing in themselves as I believed in myself, as I believed in them. As I believed in you.

I was put to the test when it all collapsed …

It started with a shoulder injury that became my excuse to not go to the gym as much. I watched all the hard work I had put in over the years begin to atrophy as if it never had been.

My shoulder wasn’t the only excuse I gave myself either. I had been hired by a corporation to come in and make their deployment fleet more efficient, more effective. I was given a mandate of six months to do so.

I succeeded in four.

My staff adored me, learned from me, stood by me as we progressed together towards better things. I should have known better. I should have seen it coming.  I was no stranger to politics yet I allowed all the good work to blind me to the dark undertones that were spreading amongst my peers.

Nobody likes to be exposed or challenged. Everyone says they want change, but nobody likes to actually be changed. That is a valuable lesson I learned.

I can’t even fully blame the political schemings. It’s on me. My lesson learned is that sometimes the strong approach can work against you. Sometimes when you think you’re blazing a trail, you’re only setting up your demise while others watch quietly from the sidelines. In a world of black and white views, never forget others see in grey.

Involve people.

So that was that. Suddenly, my health was diminished. Suddenly, my income was diminished. Suddenly, all the motivational speeches, all the Roc’s Rules, all of what I had worked so very hard to become was on trial.

You weren’t judging me. I was set against myself and as many of you know I am not an enemy that gives up easily.

I allowed myself to wallow, to dwell on my misfortunes. I jokingly called it “This, the day of my depression.” which then turned into a weekend, and then slowly tried to become an entire week.

It was then you reminded me of who I was, who I am.

I started receiving social contact requests from my former staff, and even the staff of my former peers. There wasn’t a one of you that wasn’t shocked by my unexpected termination, that wasn’t saddened by the short-sightedness surrounding it.

You thanked me for my influence on your life. You told me you appreciated my mentorship, whether it was based on our professional skills development, my life lessons, or even my insights on how to improve your physical, mental and emotional health.

It was humbling. It was needed.

It may not seem like much as that chapter of my life only took a week to work through, but as many of you know, a week stuck inside of your own head can seem like an eternity of self-inflicted torment.

The loneliness I put myself through was agonizing. There was nobody to blame for ignoring my incredible support network but me.

I was in denial. I kept expecting them to call me back once they realized the mistake they had made.

I was angry that they couldn’t see value in all we had accomplished together, or at least not enough to move forward with our ideas and my leadership.

I was sad, angry at myself for being so foolish. I felt as though the universe had finally seen me for the fraud I feared myself to be. That I was not deserving of any adoration I had ever been given and that it had all been a sick game that I had lost.

And yet, the communiques kept streaming to me. Appreciation for the things I had done on a very tangible and personal level. You still believed in me.

Finally, I accepted it for what it was – a catalyst to greater things.

I wished them well you know. I knew my team would do even greater things due in part to the lasting influence I had. I would not be forgotten. My lessons had not been in vain.

I learned from it and would not make the same mistake again.

I will not leave you wondering. I will not lie to you. I will continue to be what I have always been, and will do so with all of my might and my ability.

I am Roc and I am excited about what comes next.


5 responses to “Lead by Example

  1. Already wondered what might have happened…
    It is good to see you back and inspiring/informative to read about the experience you made.
    Btw atrophy can be the first stage of (re-) growth ;-).

  2. I am not sure if I should thank you for the example you set, the inspiration you gave me, because a lot collapsed when confronted with my actual reality. There were and are embarrassing failures, causing me to withdraw here, but at the same time I found things, small things, I could get better at. Maybe that’s the Roc-way – it’s not about who can bench-press the most weight, but about finding things you want to be good at, and then working on getting better at it every single day. If that’s the case, I have to thank you after all – but also chide you for bad communication skills. Some of us need small words to understand.

    People are messy, and I am sorry that you had to learn that the hard way. I know I did, luckily at a smaller scale. It’s when I understood the role of good(!) managers. It’s not about what they do; it’s about what they get us grunts to do even if we don’t like it. And even get us to cheer about it afterwards. We grunts may not share your black&white view of the world, but that’s not really the objective, is it? Even getting the job done is not the objective – it’s getting the job done, while already lusting for the next (while demonstratively bemoaning it). It doesn’t always work out that way – a manager I worked for once chose cutting off his career options over compromising his core principles. I’d work for him any time again.

    But there is one thing which concerns me about your post, honest as it was. You talk about what you experienced, what you decided, how you felt, how you recovered, how people from the outside world propped you up.

    Don’t you have an amazing wingman at your side?

    Every combat pilot knows that a wingman quadruples your chances at success – even more-so if they are willing to be ignored by the limelight.

    You will have to tell us, but right now I see either a Roc who is unwilling to give credit where credit is due; or a Roc who is too proud to accept help freely offered in support of his goals.

    As you said: “Involve People”. By your own criteria, neither choice is a Roc I could cheer for.

    • That’s the dilemma sometimes when writing about Roc. I have an amazing wife. She was instrumental in me getting through this.

      Roc does not have a wife and apparently not smart enough to think of the wingman analogy. Well done!

      As for failures and the rest, it’s not about how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you stand back up.

      Don’t compete with others. The only person you have to be better than is who you were yesterday.

      So no, not pride. She is the “you” when I write.

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