I must confess, I am a big Rocky fan!
Not as in rocky road ice cream but Rocky Balboa, the boxer played in the ‘Rocky’ movies by Sylvester Stallone.
The writers of this champion-birthing series crafted Rocky’s journey to make us love him and deeply relate to the personal ups and downs of an undeniable leader in his boxing world.
I was caught up and inspired again by “Creed”, the 7th movie in the ‘Rocky’ series where Sylvester Stallone (Rocky) finds himself training his former rival and friend, Apollo Creed’s son as a young boxer.
In the movie, Rocky is old and out of shape. He is looked on fondly by many as once a great fighter and leader but not anymore.
What he doesn’t realize, at the time, is that though a leader’s body may age, their heart does not.
A leader’s passion for helping, encouraging and dream with those that dream is not affected by the slowness of movement that comes with that salt and pepper hair.
All a true leader’s heart needs, regardless of the body’s age and condition, is the glimpse of an assignment. An assignment that reveals to that leader’s heart what they can do to bring someone up to a better place within themselves or within their purposeful passion.
In the movie, ‘Creed’, we see this unfold before our eyes with Rocky Balboa and Adonis Creed (Apollo’s son). Creed has a passion and a gift but is being held back due to his lack of discipline and deep seeded issues from living in the shadow of his father’s name.
Rocky had thought his time in the boxing world was long behind him, but here was this young boxer, son of the legendary Apollo Creed, seeking out his guidance. Behold – an assignment!
Leader Nugget: Remember that great purpose is often cloaked in issues that make us want to retreat or back away. Try as you may resist, your leader heart will not rest until you accomplish what is needed for that assignment or season. It will continue to call on you even when you least expect it or want it.
3 Lessons on Leadership I Learned from the Movie, ‘Creed’
1.) Assignments will find you, even when you have your eyes closed tight.
The last thing on Rocky’s mind was to train one more fighter; he was done!
Little did he know, he had one more assignment to fulfill that would cause him to arise as a leader once again. This final assignment sought him out, found him, captured him, and held him firm until he embraced it.
Once he finally embraced his assignment, he was able to help a young boxer rise to fame while also prove to himself that he still had the passion and skill to lead in his purpose.
2.) Part of being a leader is checking your ego and being open to shared influence.
As leaders, sometimes we let our egos get in the way. Just because we may be a powerful source of change in the people’s lives we lead, does not mean we have to be the only source in crafting their life. In the movie, Rocky may have been Adonis’ trainer and mentor, but in wisdom, he knew there were things that would not resonate if they came from him.
In this clip, Bianca gives Adonis wise counsel to embrace his father’s last name, ‘Creed’, because that was who he was meant to be.
As leaders, one of the most important roles we have is to help others fully embrace who they are. Rocky led him to accept what he was – an extraordinary boxer. Bianca encouraged him to accept who he was – Adonis Creed, son of the legendary Apollo!
3.) Caring is not controlling.
As leaders, we need to care deeply and hold loosely those that are assigned to our life. A Well-Crafted Life is not done in a cage or confined space. We need to care so deeply for the fulfillment of purpose in our assignment that we give it all, but with open hands. Rocky trained Adonis based on how he knew it had to be for him to fulfill his destiny to be a legendary boxer just like his father. He also made it very clear that the direction of his future has to come from his heart.
Lead with full confidence that your assignments (because you have been given them) can excel in anything you have set out for them to do, but allow them to follow their heart if they want the greatness that is offered to them.
It is my desire to inspire you to be the best leader you can be so that when your assignments find you (and they will), you will be ready and able to rise just like old Rocky, giving of yourself full force, leaving it all on the mat with the Adonis Creed(s) in your life.