Updated: Jan 26
Good leaders, great leaders, and high-octane leaders always go the extra mile. They always go above and beyond the call of duty. They don’t mind working long hours and committing themselves to doing things others might deem as crazy, strange, or eccentric. They’re committed, and as a result of their commitment, they always end up capturing the attention of a few haters and a few others who believe they’re crazy, and a few admirers who are motivated and inspired by everything they do. It’s imperative for the very few who seek to follow you – you must become a high-octane leader who motivates others.
You see, you have to be just a little crazy to be great, and in my book, all high-octane leaders are on the road to being just a little crazy and phenomenal. You have to finish the journey and refuse to quit – no matter how insane or challenging the mission might get.
High-octane leaders have an exceptional tenacity and determination to persist and keep going.
Their tenacity and determination reminds me of the time I set out on a short jog through the backwoods of Fort Polk, Louisiana. Little did I know that jog would become a long trek through heavy winds, thunderstorms, and torrential downpours. Common sense told me to stop, give up, take a break or quit, but the high-octane leader in my mind said heck no, push through and see this to the end.
I was determined not to give up.
I departed The Tiger Land training area at Fort Polk around 7:30 pm. I hadn’t been running a good two minutes before I felt the first drizzle. I shrugged and thought, oh well, a little rain never killed no-body. I ran a little bit further down towards the railhead – the place where they unload the tanks and military vehicles. The hills got steeper, and the winds began to pick up. I thought to myself: the intelligent thing to do here would be to turn back or seek shelter, but the leader in me, that crazy little high-octane leader in me, said no – let's keep going.
Before you know it, I’d run up and down two of the steepest hills I’d ever seen. I started to question my sanity and ask myself, why would anyone run in this weather. The rains kept getting heavier and heavier. Part of me was hoping I didn't get hit by some military vehicle – another part was thinking maybe someone will stop and take me back to Tiger Land.
Neither happened, so I just kept running. And by that time, the rain was so thick I was hoping I wouldn't drown. It always reminds me of the jungle scene from The Movie Forest Gump where Forest says, one day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months. Forest said they had little itty-bitty stinging rain, big-ole fat rain, and rain that flew in sideways, but they never stopped going. They never gave up. They didn't quit, and just like ole Forest Gump, I just kept running. My internal leader, that little crazy high-octane leader inside of me, wouldn’t allow me to give up. It wouldn't let me give in. Even when it seemed the sensible thing to do would have been to just stop, hunker down, and seek shelter, that little leader wouldn’t let me stop. It demanded that I continued going the extra mile.
Eighteen miles later, at 10:30 pm, I arrived back at Tiger Land, soaking wet. As I walked to my Hut, I recalled a lesson I learned while studying the great military leaders of the past.
One such leader was the Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes, who landed on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico many moons ago in search of riches, wealth, and greatness. In those days, the Aztecs were the dominant fighting force of the land, and anyone standing in their path was sure to be beheaded, carved up, or sacrificed.
Cortez knew this. He knew that once he and his men disembarked the ships, the outcome would be death or victory. The intelligent thing to do – the logical and sensible thing to do would have been to advance slowly and maintain a way of retreat to ensure they could escape and live to fight another day. But ole Cortez was a leader like no other.
After giving a brief motivational talk to his men, he directed them to burn their ships. There was some resistance, but as a high-octane leader, Cortez knew he had to motivate himself, motivate his men, and be willing to sacrifice everything to bring home the win.
With approximately five-hundred men and eleven ships burning, Cortez sacrificed his life and bought home the victory. As a result, he got the girl, got the win, and Spanish has been the dominant language of the Yucatan and Mexico ever since.
You see, as a leader, you must always be willing to go above and beyond.
You must be prepared to go the extra mile. You must be mentally, physically, and spiritually fit to serve your purpose in life.
Cortez was so mentally, physically, and spiritually fit that a few natives thought he was inspired by God. Some even likened him to God. Like Cortez, you must be inspired. You must be willing to do things other people deem as crazy, strange, or eccentric. You must be prepared to chart your course and lead others without fear. You must be willing to keep going, persevere, and not give up.
You can and must commit yourself to being a high-octane leader.
You can do it, just don’t give up.
If you’d like to see that Forest Gump clip, it’s available here on YouTube. Enjoy!
About the Author: Ernie Davis is a master coach, motivational teacher, orator, educator, combat veteran, numerologist, and Myers-Briggs practitioner on a mission to help 1 Million men and women achieve extraordinary levels of success, share their stories, and attain financial freedom and independence while creating and enjoying the fulfilling lives they desire. You can learn more about Ernie Davis, The People’s Coach, here.