Tomoe_Gozen Artist Depiction by Kikuchi Yosai (1781-1878)
My stomach is so contracted it feels as small and as hard as a nut. My tongue feels swollen and my mouth is dry and cracked. My muscles are wobbly and shake with each step. Stop, Hajime. These sensations are not worthy of a samurai. Just one foot in front of the other, you are almost at the Kyoto city gates and there is bound to be work.
But who will hire me? My clothes are in tatters, my bones jut out of my clothes. My only way is my sword. And it is dead to me now. I am a living ghost.
I hear something, a human voice. It is singing, but like I have never heard before. I hold my breath and stop walking, listening with every fiber of my being. The hair on my arms and the back of my neck prickle and seem to reach to the voice. My body moves towards the voice and my muscles are jolted with adrenaline. I soon pass the city gates and start running on unsteady legs towards the theater and the voice. The door is blocked by a long wooden staff. “You can’t come in here. Buy a ticket.” Read the rest of this entry »
Master Your World
Ileana: Hi Tomoe. Last time you had said you would tell us more about your first leadership principle, which is to master your world and you quoted Einstein. We would like to know more about the first principle.
Tomoe: The first leadership principle rests on the belief that the universe is a friendly place. There is a universal law that works equally for all of us that we don’t have to fight, sweat, bleed or prove our worth for.
Ileana: What do you mean there is a universal law that works equally for all of us?
Tomoe: The great masters of the world have said in so many words that as you believe, so shall it be done to you. You don’t get want you want in life, but you do get what you believe. If you want to believe that life is a struggle, it will be. If you believe that you have to fight for market share, that will be your experience and that is what you will create. On the other hand if you believe that life is joyful, it will be. Our beliefs are self-fulfilling.
Ileana: That’s crazy. Just because I believe something doesn’t make it true. Just because I believe I am a great leader doesn’t make it true. And boy have I seen a lot of examples of that!
Tomoe: Let me start at the beginning.
Ileana: This blog is going to be a series of interviews with Tomoe. She is the last of a line of leaders called Sakusei that started in early Japan. Their leadership skills were of great renown and throughout the centuries they were either revered for creating eras of peace or they had to go into hiding to escape persecution. Tomoe’s namesake was a rare female samurai warrior in the 12th century known for her bravery and strength.
Ileana: Tomoe, tell me what makes this line of leaders special or different?
Tomoe: That is a long answer. The Sakusei first appeared in 17th century Japan, the Edo period when peace reigned for over two centuries. Their leadership skills were the vital force of the Edo period. Because peace reigned the samurai were out of work, their services no longer being required. In fact, they were in poverty.
The first leader of the Sakusei helped the samurai transition from being samurai into being artists. So think about it, they helped warriors become artists. They…
Ileana: I hate to interrupt, but so what? How does a leader who helps samurai become artists have the leadership skills to contribute to 21st century leaders?
Read the rest of this entry »
When implementing a new strategy in which leaders require buy-in from the entire organization, 95% of the time they don ‘t get that buy in. As leaders we fail to remember what we went through to create that strategy. Read the rest of this entry »
The snow covered mountains surrounding Reno remind me of what is hidden on the other side, a 1300 foot deep mountain lake that is one of the world’s wonders. Whenever I gain more skill at a leadership competency I am always blown away by what I couldn’t see on the other side.