A week back, while I was working on a leadership module for a level II executive batch of middle management & senior executives, I thought of another story from Indian mythology to back my content. Like I always maintain, stories enable a total recall. Stories not only evoke our brain cells but they also summon up the lessons. To explain, let me share an incident from Ramayana–
Ravan abducted Mata Sita, Lord Ram’s wife, and took her to his capital, Lanka. Lord Ram searched for his wife all over and reached Rishyamukha where he met Hanuman and Sugrive and their Vanar Sena (Army). Lord Ram helped Sugrive regain his honor and reunite with his wife, who was abducted by his brother Bali.
Hanuman and his Vanar Sena pledged to help Lord Ram and find Mata Sita. Lord Ram gave his ring which was to be shown to Mata Sita to establish their identity that they were sent by Lord Ram. The Vanars lead by Angad spread all across and started searching for Mata Sita. They reached the southern end of the land and ahead was a vast ocean. Crossing the ocean was a great challenge and they were sure that they won’t return without finding Mata Sita and decided that they will fast unto death. There they met, Sampati , a vulture and brother of Jatayu, who tells them that Mata Sita is in cruel shackles of Ravan and is sitting under a tree in his palace in Lanka. Sampati asks them to use their strength and skills to cross the ocean and reach Lanka.
Like any new assignment, conflict or situation in our jobs/everyday life, they did their SWOT analysis. While they discussed their strengths and calculated how far they can go in the ocean- they realized that it won’t come close to crossing the ocean. Listening to all this, Hanuman got discouraged and separates himself from the group. He was getting into a stressful pressure cooker situation – he had the pressure to perform and accomplish the task at hand.
Noticing him standing alone and discouraged, Jambavanth who was older than all the Vanars, goes to him and tells him about his strengths and tells him that he’s the only one who can cross the ocean. And all Vanars starts praising Hanuman. This is how a good boss, a leader influences the team and like most of the times – few could realize their inner strength and true potential. Jambavanth kept on telling –
- You are as powerful as the wind
- You are intelligent, illustrious & an inventor.
- There is nothing in this world that’s too difficult for you.
- You possess the ability to rule against every obstacle.
As per Ramayana, Hanuman was cursed by a sage during childhood that he will forget his strengths and would be unaware of the extent of his capability & potential until he’s reminded by someone. Like in the modern age, we are surrounded by so many distractions, attractions, aspirations, opportunities, ill-focus and peer pressure that we start worrying about the problem so much that we eventually forget about our own inner strengths and we end up thinking about the problem so much that we do not even think about the solution. Remember, the capability to achieve things from our own inner strength lies inside, we only need to realize it and attempt.
As Hanuman became aware of his strengths, his stature became giant and he collected his inner strength, tall enough to cross the ocean he jumped the ocean to in search of Mata Sita. [You can watch the relevant video from Ramayana here]
Knowing ones strengths is most important for anyone who wants to be successful in his life. A true leader knows the art of exploring the strengths of his team member and motivates them to work on their strength to reach a common objective. Circumstances, Situations, Peer pressure, People Conflict are all external factors but one’s own strength lies within.
Your success lies inside you. Realize and succeed.