Leadership Spotlight

The Will to Lead 

A stock image of a business man looking out the window thinking.

Will is the discipline of the heart and the soul. In my life, nothing challenged my will as much as my time at the U.S. Naval Academy. However, with persistence and tenacity, I graduated, became a Marine Corps officer, and later recruited informants for the FBI.

As a midshipman at the academy, I made many mistakes that caused me to face failure. Only after I humbled myself and surrendered to the truth could I make the best of it. I had to become both resilient and flexible to overcome these obstacles I had created. As the obstacles disappeared, they created opportunities that I could then fully embrace. After my experience at the academy, I faced many humbling moments during my career.

Will sometimes has more to do with surrender than it does with strength. Some may think will is about bluster and ambition, but it is the ability to make the best of the worst. It is the ability to acknowledge the pain that comes with failure and continue on your path. To do this, you must build your inner strength.

This inner strength comes from the humbleness and humility to know that we cannot do this and succeed alone. Everything in life requires relationships. Our inner strength begins with the humility to seek relationships with individuals — including teachers, mentors, and guides — who can show us how to overcome our challenges. Such people validate our strengths and inspire us to go places we previously thought unattainable. Only when we have a calm mind do we discover and tap into our inner strength.

Your inner strength is built upon trust and the healthy relationships you have forged. If you think your disadvantages are permanent, you will atrophy. You must always try your best to lean in, build trust, and nurture relationships. This is the key to achieving success and reaching your potential with your will to lead.

Robin Dreeke, retired FBI special agent and founder of a communication and strategies company, prepared this Leadership Spotlight. He can be reached at Robin@peopleformula.com.