Today, I would like to share with you my 3 key takeaways from the military. Being in the Singapore military for 2 years has taught me key lessons and principals that are crucial and important in life. It has shaped my values, personality and the perspectives of life.
In the military, I have learnt to not make decisions based on dollars and cents, but based on the lives of the boys under my hands. Some of the toughest challenges that I have faced are from the military; where my mental, physical and mettle were challenged to the brim of my threshold.
After commissioning as an Officer in the Singapore Armed Forces, I was placed in an Infantry Unit for 1 year to train my boys to be combat ready. Things were not as easy as it seems at the beginning as there were a lot of roughing out to be done, but nonetheless, that 1 year is the most fulfilling year in my life. So here are my 3 key takeaways, enjoy!
- Respect Is Earned, Not Bought
Respect is a heavy word. Respect doesn’t come overnight, neither does it come from the rank you bear on your chest. Yes, having a higher rank allows you to command instructions, but not respect. Even in business, your boss doesn’t immediately gain your respect just because of the hierarchical position he/she has, but it comes from you experiencing first hand, or seeing that he/she has something; a skill or a value that you do not.
Leadership by example; the mother of all foundation to earning respect. Back in the military, I would never be able to develop strong trust and relationships with my boys if I have not led them by example. Imagine, your superior setting an expectation for you that you think is out of this world, but instead of just letting you drown, he/she holds you by the hand, and walk his/her expectations together with you. Wouldn’t you feel that this man/woman is not just an empty vessel wobbling his/her tongue away, but is a person of substance?
This is what I mean – Before you set an expectation on someone, be sure that firstly, it is achievable because you have tried it, and secondly, walk the journey with them showing them how it’s done. This is how you earn the respect from the people around you.
- You’re Not A Superman
Yes you see that right, you are not a superman. You can’t do life or achieve your dreams alone. At some point in time, you’ll require help. Either from a mentor or a subordinate, you’ll require assistance at one point or another. What am I getting at? 2 points:
Firstly, never be afraid to delegate or ask for help. In an organization, you’ll never see a person achieving great things alone. There will always be a team. A friend once told me this: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Secondly, always offer your help. What goes around comes around. When you offer your help, people will offer it back to you! Never shun away from something that is within your reach to help. You’ll be surprise how far a simple gesture of service can go!
So to sum it up, learn to ask for help whenever you need and help others in return. Drop that self-righteous front and humble yourself. As the saying goes, “Even superman bleeds”
- For the Mission and the Men
The motto of Bravo Company is “For the Mission and the Men”. This speaks volume of the focus and priority of our company.
The Mission – the goal we have in mind, the objective we want to achieve, the challenge we want to overcome. In everything we do, we have an end goal in mind. Just like 101 Success Hacks, my mission is to empower you to succeed in whatever you set your mind on; to provide daily motivation as we root for your success. Achieving mission success is important, but the Men are just as important.
The Men – Our subordinates, our employees, our followers, our children. One of the gravest mistakes leaders make is to focus solely on the mission, and neglecting the men. We have to always keep in mind that the men are the ones helping us achieve mission success, and we MUST NOT neglect them. Take care of their well-being, mental emotions and physical needs. Fight as hard as you can for them, and when the time comes, they will fight just as hard for you.
I believe that these key points can be applied not only in the military, but also in business or in life. I trust that you have taken away bits of golden nuggets from my military journey.
Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!