Unique Leaders Axiom: For you and your people, physical health comes first.
One of the criteria used in designing ammunition is lethality. But sometimes munitions designs which will wound rather than kill are more devastating to the enemy. Why? Because caring for the wounded is a logistic burden. Not only is a soldier who is wounded less capable of fighting, but he also is a burden on others who must care for him rather than fight. Wounded soldiers burden their team.
Ever hear the expression “he shot himself in the foot”? Rough translation: The individual’s own action defeated him. If you are a foot soldier, blisters on your feet may be just as bad for your performance and your team as a combat inflicted wound.
- If you do not look out for your own health you are a burden to your team.
- As a member of the military team, you must prevent self-inflicted injury. You must use the timeouts to care for health. Wash and dry your feet. Put on a clean pair of socks.
We have previously mentioned that you must care for your weapons. Survival requires that you maintain yourself as well. Sometimes this means taking time to rest. And sometimes this means making sure that you are in a physical condition to be effective in action.
During World War II, my cousin Benny was in the Navy. While serving on an aircraft carrier he saw a fellow sailor fall overboard. Benny kicked off his shoes and dived in after him. Fortunately, the aircraft carrier was docked at the time. It was possible for Benny to save the other sailor from drowning. Benny did not get a medal. Benny got a court-martial!
Why? Because of the probability of serious injury for Benny. Benny dove from 60 feet above the water. Benny hit the water at about 30 miles an hour. Water is 1000 times denser than air. Hitting the water at that speed could have caused serious injury. Benny had been lucky. He was not injured. But, by risking his own safety, he risked the effectiveness of his team. The impact of an injured sailor on the workload of the crew would have been worse than simply being one sailor short.
It was the responsibility of the sailor to not fall overboard. It was Benny’s responsibility to make sure that he was ready for duty when his shift time started. Benny’s concern for the sailor who fell was in conflict with his duty to his team and his ship mates.
War, like nature, is harsh. But as members of the team, it is our duty to survive. For me as a retired person the survival of my team is the survival of my immediate family. I must maintain my health to ensure the stability of my family.
My wife works as a ballet teacher. Her ability to teach her classes is important for the survival of the school. In addition to her responsibilities to our family, she has responsibilities to the school. And indeed she is careful of her feet. She maintains her health so that her teaching and the school can survive.
Leadership Focus: Evolution has spent eons building the best possible tool. You are that tool. Your team and its home depend upon you to maintain that tool. If first things come first, then your health must be your first priority.
My Take: Caring for your health is not selfishness. It is self-awareness. Without self-awareness you cannot be a part of the team.