The Rocky series is one of the most powerful and inspiring movie series that I have ever come across. At times, it feels like no matter how much learning you extract from it, there is always some more to go back for. I have personally learnt so much from it. Here are my Top Five Leadership Lessons from Rocky :
1) The Importance of Having a Mentor : The Rocky series is about the greatest heavyweight champion in the world, Rocky. It is about how Rocky fights all odds – poverty, crime, bad circumstances and emerges a champion every single time.
However, without a Mentor, without Mickey, no matter how brilliant Rocky was, he remained a nobody. Mickey coached him to get out of all his excuses and transformed him to become the winner he was born to be. Similarly, in our lives as well, no matter what our talent, what our brilliancy, without direction it leads us nowhere. That is where a mentor comes into place to coach us and direct us into being the best that we can be. Go find your Mickey!
2) Who you are today, is an absolute choice : Who was Rocky when Apollo, the world champion, first challenged him to a match? A small-time boxer who had to work for loan sharks to earn a living. He had never fought in a match that big. What made him think that he could fight a world champion?
Even then, Rocky said yes, he said yes to the match. When all the odds were stacked against him, Rocky chose to say yes and worked his way to be the best. And as everyone who has seen the movie knows, Rocky went the distance and that very match changed his life forever.
In life, we find so many opportunities to say no, so many reasons to not do something, but in those times, it is completely up to us to find that courage and make that choice to say a yes. Who you are today is a result of what you’ve chosen in the past and who you will be in the future depends on the choice you are making today.
3) The greatest of people face failure : By Rocky 3, Rocky was the world champion. He was the best -unbeaten and unbeatable. Rocky had everything that a person leading a successful life has. Unfortunately, he let that get to him and it resulted in one of the most embarrassing losses that Rocky faced. He even lost Mickey in that fight. This loss impacted Rocky so much that somewhere he even lost faith in his ability.
However, he decided that this wasn’t who he was going to be. He trained with Apollo, he did everything he could to get back up on his feet and he fought Clubber again. This time, Rocky won.
It is never about the failures that we face. Everybody faces failure at one or multiple times in life. It is what you do when you are faced with failure that sets you apart. Do you choose to stay put down or get back up?
4) When a Leader says something, he practices it too : Rocky Balboa is the final movie of the Rocky series and traces the life of Rocky after retirement. In the movie, during one of the conversations that Rocky has with his son, he tells him that it isn’t about how hard you hit. Life is about how hard you get hit and still move forward. How much you can take and still keep moving forward.
While it is easy for a person to say that to someone else, my highlight was the fact that at the end of the movie, he remembers his own words and actually puts them into practice. Rocky never just said things to inspire, he actually implemented everything he said to his own life first. That I think is the mark of a true leader. Because, words without a back up of actions to support them eventually fall apart.
5) In the end, faith will pull you through : Rocky had complete faith in who he was. Even though there was a time he lost some of it, he made sure he earns that faith back. Every time Rocky fell down, it was his immense faith in who he was that let him get back up.
Even the story behind how Rocky was made in the first place is so inspiring and full of faith. It had to take all the faith that Sylvester Stallone had in himself and his abilities, to refuse to sell the rights of his movie despite the absolute poverty that he was facing at that time.
No matter what life throws at you, it is your belief in yourself that will always get you back up.
And in Rocky’s words “Going in one more round when you don’t think you can – that’s what makes all the difference in your life.”
Shiksha K. Sharma