Take the Hit

In a boxing match, as in any kind of fight or controversy, it is tempting to focus on your defense. You want to block any punch that may be swung at you or worry about the potential pain of any hit that may come your way. So you tighten up, “put up your dukes” and keep your mind set on avoiding pain.

But in boxing, as in life, focusing on your defense weakens your offense. A great coach will tell you to just “take the hit.” If you see them coming but don’t worry about them, your focus will be on what comes next and what you can do. The result is imminent and eminent. Punches hit harder and more precisely, your reach is wider and further and your speed goes up. You’ve acknowledged that you will be hurt and you’ve moved past it.

The leadership parallel is obvious. Invest your energy in your offense – not your defense. You will be hit on your way through the organization but it’s worth the risk and pride associated with having a plan, focusing on your goals and standing up for what you believe in. Not everyone will agree with you, not everyone will like you, and that is okay. Because you will achieve things that make a difference, things to be proud of. And you will inspire colleagues and employees alike. Courage is an essential part of leadership that we easily forget in corporate corridors and internal politics.

Likewise, when you make mistakes, hurt someone’s feelings or make the wrong decision, “taking the hit” means acknowledging you were wrong, apologizing sincerely and getting over it. Way too many conflicts or misunderstandings escalate and prolong because somebody stayed focus on their defense.

“Taking the hit” is also synonymous for admitting a financial disposition was unsuccessful and taking the losses immediately, as opposed to cover ups or “kicking the can” to next year’s figures because you or someone above you were chasing an inflated quarterly result. Again immense energy is wasted on defense rather than offense.

In short: Take the hit, stay true to your course and fight for what you believe in.