Expect the Greater Reward (4 of 5)

by Stephen T. Messenger

March 2, 2021

We finally got a dog.  After many years of deflecting the pressure from our kids, my wife and I allowed a four-legged tornado into our house.  Puppies, no matter how innocent they look, are a lot of work.  They require constant attention, aren’t potty trained, eat everything in sight, and turn a simple family outing into a complicated planning cycle to care for the needed pup.  Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea…

However, we also knew of the potential benefits for our family.  We looked beyond the messes on the floor, cold walks in the rain, and eaten socks, and we imagined the immense possibilities to build responsibility in our kids and increase the joy in our house.  We believed good would come out of this. 

Expecting the greater reward is the fourth attribute of the RALE+1 Leadership Philosophy.  Great leaders are experts in optimistic leadership, encouraging themselves and the teams they lead to fulfill the maximum standard.  However, expecting a greater reward is more than being an optimist.  It is about accomplishing tasks to pursue a bigger objective.  Leaders inspire, motivate, and help others to do more than they can possibly ask or imagine.  They lead with an eye towards potential, not performance.  They see the larger picture and expect positive impact outside their assigned responsibilities—a greater reward.

In a quote often linked to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting, “Optimism is the essence of every fighter; the belief that no matter what you’ll find a way to win.”  Randy Couture exemplified this quote throughout his fighting career.  A former soldier, he began Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) at 33 years old and after an amazingly successful run, retired nine years later.  In one of the greatest fights of all time, Couture came out of retirement in 2007 to battle Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight Title. 

Couture was seven inches shorter, weighted 40 pounds less, hadn’t fought in 13 months, and was 11 years older at 43.  He shouldn’t have won this fight, but he believed he could and came out swinging, literally.  His initial volley put Sylvia on his heels, and Couture won by decision.  Couture’s attitude got him in the cage in the first place, and his hard work earned him a victory. 

This fight perpetuated his MMA legendary status.  In all, Couture had six UFC title reigns across two weight classes and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Today, he has his own gym chain and clothing line.  But more importantly, he runs the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation, raising awareness and financial support to wounded veterans.  His fighting led to bigger things.

Expecting the greater reward is about believing in a better future.  Organizations demand a leader who can move through uncertain times with confidence and link an individual’s task with corporate goals.  Followers need to be reminded of how their individual hard work creates both short- and long-term successes.  Leaders build confidence in the team and remind them of how great their impact resonates far beyond personal gain. 

Leaders who expect the greater reward should:

1. Imagine larger possibilities.  Couture returned from retirement because he felt he could still be the best heavyweight in the world.  His optimism led to victory which eventually led to a larger purpose beyond his personal championships.  Now he’s helping hundreds of veterans.  Find the bigger picture and go after it through small wins.  

2. Speak life into organizations.  Your followers need encouragement.  Everyone struggles to see their own potential.  They need you to reintroduce them to their best self.  Leaders find out what motivates individuals and teams… then say it.  You also need to surround yourself with people who breathe the same life into you.

3. Expect to win.  Randy Couture walked into the octagon and stared seven inches up into Tim Sylvia’s eyes.  Couture never once doubted he would slay the giant.  Leaders imagine victory before it happens, and they come out swinging.  Leaders complete the mission.   

4. Work hard.  Positive talk is good, but leaders must roll up their sleeves and get to work.  Nothing is accomplished through hope and happy talk.  Communicate the vision and build deliberate plans to focus effort and activity towards success.  Work relentlessly and accomplish much.

After many accidents on the carpet and many non-edible things consumed (to include drywall at times), our dog is now (mostly) under control.  He’s housetrained, the kids adore him, and he’s a well-adjusted member of the family.  Knowing it would be hard work, we saw beyond the challenges and focused on the potential.  He has helped the kids become more responsible and brought our family joy in a way we never would have had realized without him.

Expecting the greater reward imagines the possibilities and extends beyond just the task at hand.  Walking with faith creates exponential impact that reaches far beyond your sphere of influence.  They need you to see what they cannot and exude confidence that it will happen. 

RALE+1 Leadership Philosophy Introduction Article

Reject Passivity (1 of 5)

Accept Responsibility (2 of 5)

Lead Boldly and Courageously (3 of 5)

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