Bootstraps

Updated: May 21, 2020

Sometimes in our lives even though we surround ourselves with the best people and do all the right things, in an instant something can strike that tests our inner strength and resolve more than ever imagined. Dennis Waitley said “through complacency often times comes the lull of apathy however through adversity comes the call to greatness.” It is in these moments that you summon an inner strength even you couldn’t have imagined was there.


You’ve heard it before, he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps. We admire people like that don’t we? Why? It implies that these individuals made it through a diffi


cult time, a challenging time, or something where the odds almost seemed insurmountable.

The Marine Corps has a code, Semper Fidelis, it means always faithful. To a Marine it is faith to god, to country, to the Corps, and to their brothers, fellow marines. But in life and in business you also need to be faithful to your cause and yourself, and the people you have chosen to ride the bus in whatever direction you have chosen in pursuit of making your company great. In times of adversity it’s reaching down and pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. Then and only then can you lead others in a way that brings to light another thing a Marine lives for, it’s called Esprit de corps, and means a feeling of pride, loyalty, fellowship, and common loyalty.


What things can we do to demonstrate the pull yourself up by your own bootstrap mentality in a way that builds esprit de corps in our businesses and ultimately brings meaning to the Latin, semper fidelis, always faithful? In other words, employees who are loyal to the cause, vision, and direction of the company.


One of the things that is important is to engage leadership from the executive level to the field  in the decision-making process. Encourage opinions, the thinking out of the box ideas. If you have the right people, they won’t necessarily give you the answers you want to hear and that’s ok. Jim Collins says in Good to Great, “you don’t need a genius with a thousand helpers.” Great strategy lies in the dialogue and shared insights of talented individuals. 


If you are in a leadership position you have made many critical decisions. Indecision is also a decision. Action or inaction is action just the same. Gather the opinions, assess the ideas but at the end of the day the decision is yours. If you have the right people on your bus, they will accept the direction you pointed it in and do everything they can to execute.


If I may use another military analogy, the Marine Corps breaks its recruits down to the lowest common denominator so that at the very base is a cohesive unit that train together, learn together, and get proficient together. The ultimate goal is perfect execution but when the decision is made, they move forward together in

pursuit of the same goal.


All this is true whether you are a salesperson in the field, the team leader, a distributor, or the business owner. Your greatest resources are the good people on your team. Like a Marine, they have been in a real battle with you now and want the health and success of the organization as much as you do.



We are fast approaching a time when businesses in every industry will be trying to regain their composure, assess the real damage, and set sail again yet not in fair winds and following seas. the waters are turbulent. Don’t think of where we are now as a new normal. Think of it as changing and adapting in whatever way is needed to regain momentum.


This is a time to adapt, to improvise and to overcome the challenges facing us. The success of companies, and the health of our economy, are depending on everyone in every position to utilize the resources we have to answer the call to greatness in the face of adversity, and to call on the one thing that every person has, that indomitable human spirit.   


“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. “ ~Winston Churchill

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