A Mirror Is Our Looking Glass

By MG (Ret.) John Gronski

The person we see in the mirror every day could be our biggest ally or our biggest adversary. It depends on how we handle the relationship with that person inside all of us.

 On NOV 15, 2016, Tony Romo, a star quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys for the previous nine seasons, made prepared remarks to the media. Romo suffered a back injury during the preseason and was cleared to return to the field after the tenth game of the season.

In the meantime, backup quarterback Dak Prescott had the Cowboys rolling to a 9 and 1 record. Romo was told he would not return as the Cowboy’s starter; Prescott would remain in that role and Romo would revert to backup duty.

The essence of Romo’s remarks was to voice support for Prescott as the starter and to squash any rumors about a quarterback controversy. After the remarks, Romo was praised by many for showing maturity and for doing what was best for the team rather than what was best for himself.

With that said, I believe the most important element of Romo’s remarks was what he said near the end of his speech. Romo said, “I feel like we all have two battles or two enemies going on. One with the man across from you. The second is with the man inside of you. I think once you control the one inside of you, the one across from you really doesn’t matter. I think that is what we are all trying to do.”

All of us who battle our demons can take strength from Romo’s message as we seek to overcome adversity and become more resilient. It is really the person on the inside of us whom we must conquer to live a fulfilled life. There are three things to consider as we wrestle with our inner being.

 Purpose: We must understand our purpose in life. We must recognize the reason we exist and what we believe in. It is important that we identify our core values and understand what the values are that we will stand for in good times and in rough times. We should factor our core values into our decision-making process.  Once we understand our purpose and have identified our core values, then we must align our behaviors in accordance with both.

 Attitude: One of the only things we have control over is our attitude. We will all face hardships. In most cases, they are out of our control. Life happens. The question is how do we deal with the challenges that come our way? Allowing ourselves to become consumed with bitter emotions such as hate, anger, or blaming others is akin to ingesting poison. No good will come of it. It takes a high degree of maturity and emotional intelligence to maintain a good attitude in the wake of adversity, but it is a sound way to conquer the negative forces inside of us.

 Self-discipline: If purpose is our why and attitude is our how then self-discipline must be what we do to achieve our objectives and goals. Self-discipline is about delaying gratification by doing the hard work necessary to accomplish our objectives. Hard work should precede any reward we want to take as our own. Those who have the self-discipline to do the “right” things such as eat healthy, exercise, be respectful of others, read, study, prepare, and do their job correctly are on the road to success, and this road has no shortcuts. It may sound counterintuitive, but hard work leads to an easier life.

Although rigorous, the good news is that all of us can do these things. No need to tackle the hard work on your own. Find the right people who are willing to be in your support group. And you can offer them your support too. Iron sharpens iron.  

Purpose, attitude, and self-discipline are intertwined. To turn our inner self into an ally rather than an adversary we must focus on those three elements. If we do this, a stronger and more fulfilled self will look back at us from the other side of the mirror.


To read more of John Gronski’s leadership blogs click here.

Continue your leadership journey by ordering a signed copy of Iron-Sharpened Leadership here.

About John Gronski

Major General John L. Gronski (U.S. Army Retired) is the founder and CEO of Leader Grove LLC, a leadership consulting firm. John is the author of two books, Iron-Sharpened Leadership and The Ride of Our Lives and he is an international and Fortune 500 speaker.

A decorated combat Veteran, infantryman, and Ranger School graduate, John is a transformational leader and also has significant experience in business as a management consultant, where he led teams implementing large, complex projects. He now serves as an executive coach, leadership consultant, and trainer.

Learn more about John Gronski at https://johngronski.com/

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