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How’s your zest for life?

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

With nearly 1,200 men aboard, plying the shark-infested waters of the Philippine Sea, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1945. Twelve minutes later, it sank.

About 900 men survived the initial explosions and fire, but it took five horrible days for all the survivors to be picked up. Some men gathered in teams and, through leadership and sacrifice, fought to keep each other alive. Without food or water, only 317 men lived.

Imagine yourself floating in the middle of the ocean. What assets do you have? Let’s take inventory:
  • How’s your mind? You’ve stored information on survival situations, shipwreck stories, and your ability to swim and protect yourself from the weather. You have decision-making and problem-solving skills, the ability to decide whether to swim or float.
  • Check your grit. You’d need toughness, determination and emotional control.
  • Fit as a fiddle? Or bloated and out of shape?
  • What’s your level of hope? Do you have family and friends who would search for you?
  • What do you have to live for? Have you seen and done it all? Is your mission in life complete? If so, letting go won’t be so hard.
Or do you still have work to do and people who depend on you? If you’re a fighter by nature, this is just one more crazy situation to work your way out of:  something to overcome as a leader.

— Adapted from Operation Excellence: Succeeding in Business and Life the U.S. Military Way, Mark Bender, Amacom.

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