Many years ago my colleagues used to call me the “Barefoot Warrior” due to both my involvement in the world of martial arts and my propensity to go everywhere barefoot. But, it is also a great metaphor to distinguish those that walk the path of life shod in comfy shoes, insulated from and unaware of the nature of the path they may be on. Whilst those that walk the path barefoot do so with feeling and awareness. At times walking barefoot may be painful, other times may be blissful, but always with a consciousness of the path one is treading, and the journey one is taking. Being barefoot is also a reflection of both our openness and our openmindedness in our dealings with the external world. Openness in our expression of our true self to others, and openmindedness and accepting of others and their ideas. For openness and openmindedness both require humility, and I do not mean some gushy external display of false humility, but an honest internal understanding of one's true place in the scheme of things.
The path of the true warrior is not one of violence, but one of peace, compassion and understanding. Understanding the heartache, misery and devastation that conflict causes and avoiding it whenever possible. Understanding that real positive change comes from working together towards a common goal, and compassion creates the opportunity for that change. Understanding that the real fight is with oneself, against the uprising of selfishness, greed and arrogance (which history shows is the downfall of all great civilisations, and has been demonstrated so clearly to us in 2008/2009). Understanding that true strength lies in the discipline of humility, one of the major traits of leadership (there is no “I” in “Leader”). A warrior has the courage to go against the flow when necessary and take on the tough challenges.
A warrior’s aim is to develop one’s self and to hone one’s skills, to perfect oneself and one’s art if you will. But this is not done for personal glorification and gain, it is not about what one can get from it, but for what one can give from it. The purpose is to maximise one’s ability to contribute, and if necessary be prepared to sacrifice oneself for the chosen cause or path.
Being a warrior is not just something one does on weekends for fun, as with true adherence to the martial arts, it is a way of life. So too with leadership, it is not something one does, it is something one is.
Ueshiba Morihei, credited as being the founder of the martial art Aikido, “the way of harmony”, had the belief that the intensity and single-minded determination of the warrior must be channelled toward the higher purpose of, “the restoration of harmony, the preservation of peace, and the nurturing of all beings”, and that “Aiki is not an art for defeating others, it is for the unification of the world and the gathering of all races into one family.” The motto of Aikido is Masakatsu Akatsu - “By acting in accordance with the truth we always emerge victorious”. Certainly a set of principles that must be the ultimate aspiration of all leaders.
True martial arts is not about competition, but about self-development. The "target" is not the opponent it is one's self, and the defeat of one's lesser self. So too in the wider world, the era of Competition is a thing of the past, the future is in Collaboration. Great leadership is necessary to make the changes required in the world happen now. Mutual gain and positive relationships are the best form of advancement.
It is my aim as a Barefoot Warrior to encourage the change required in the world in accordance with the principles outlined above, and the best way I can do that is to teach leaders the skills necessary to accomplish that aim.
The first years of Rod's working life were spent with a medical engineering company moving up the ladder to become Finance Director and then Operations Director. After 22 years with this company he then moved on to become Managing Director of an IT company to expand his increasing interest in the world of IT. After making significant developments to that company he turned his skills to business consultancy, becoming a "hired gun" to troubleshoot problem businesses and also providing some specialist management training.
Over his career many colleagues and clients had commented on his effective leadership style and Rod then turned his attention to understanding what made effective leaders, becoming an NLP Practitioner, and subsequently providing leadership coaching and training. He now provides one to one leadership coaching and a comprehensive, fully structured leadership training programme.
He has recently extended that leadership training to combine his knowledge and skills in business, leadership, NLP and website development to teach businesses how copy needs to be written for their websites to both properly attract visitors and turn those visitors into customers.
Another recent addition to the stable of coaching/training provided is the provision of a Workshop on breaking the habit of the Thinking Addiction™, more commonly known as depression.
"If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall" - Nadine Stair (written at age 85)
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."- Anais Nin