The Rocky films teach us great leadership lessons on passion, perseverance, and humility.
Rocky was passionate about boxing. However, he spent most of his life struggling with balancing boxing and family. His wife, Adrian, never liked the idea of Rocky getting beat up every fight. And Rocky seemed to hold back because of Adrian’s wishes. This became his “what could have been” demon. It is here where the last movie in the saga starts and delivers the best leadership lessons.
3 Scenes come to mind.
I’ll address the first one with this blog.
Rocky vs. “The Board”
Rocky, in his late 50s and hunted by this “beast”, wants a last chance to prove to himself he’s worth something. He goes before the boxing federation board to ask for a boxing license. He passes the tests but ends up getting rejected because “they were looking out for his best interest.” Here’s an excerpt of Rocky’s response,
“I appreciate that, but maybe you’re looking out for your interests just a little bit more…
I mean maybe you’re doing your job but why you gotta stop me from doing mine? Cause if you’re willing to go through all the battling you got to go through to get where you want to get, who’s got the right to stop you?…
Who’s got the right to tell you that, who? Nobody! It’s your right to listen to your gut, it ain’t nobody’s right to say no after you earned the right to be where you want to be and do what you want to do!…”
The leadership lesson: if you are willing to invest the energy and time to follow your passions, no one has the right to stop you. Dream big, drive your bus, invite others, and keep moving forward.
What other lessons can you get from Rocky’s statement? What are your demons? Who are your naysayers? What are you willing to pay for your dreams?
I’ve learned that, for the most part, extraordinary people are simply ordinary people doing extraordinary things that matter to them. They relentlessly align all the elements of their life to support their pursuit of what has deep meaning to them. – Stedman Graham, Identity: Passport to Success