Guest Blog: Remembrance Sunday, Commando Mindset, Reflecting and Remembering
Antony Thompson, Former Royal Marine, shares his thoughts on Remembrance Sunday and lessons learnt on the front line that translate to the workplace.
Having served in the Royal Marines, Remembrance Sunday is a special time, a time for remembering and reflecting. It is a very personal day, shared by many people, remembering friends and those who are no longer with us. It is a reminder of the courage and determination shown by those who defended the values and culture of our country, underpinned by a sense of team, clear purpose and camaraderie. It is a sense of gratitude that I feel. Not just for those who have served our country, but to everyone who stops to reflect and show their respect.
Since leaving the Marines, I have entered the business world, sharing many lessons and experiences with people I work with, but I will never forget.
Like in the Marines, collaboration is critical in business. When done well, collaboration develops a sense of team, underpinned by a common set of values and a strong team purpose. However, this is not always the case and in reality there is sometimes conflict in our workplace in our own teams. We may term it “company politics” which can escalate, affecting teams and individuals. When we try and understand what really happened it is often a break down in team or personal relationships. Wars have been caused by a genuine need to defend our country, but, there have also been instances when wars have been caused by a lack of understanding, poor information and in some cases, personal ego. Sometimes the way we think takes us down the wrong path.
One of the greatest lessons that I have taken from my time in the Marines is the need to build a strong mindset, to be resilient.
At a time of great uncertainty, insecurity or fear, emotion can take over. This can stop us in our tracks, becoming unproductive and engraining many limiting beliefs, and driving unhelpful behaviours and thoughts. In combat this is not an option. At best, you have a moment to compose yourself before going through that door and entering that compound. We trained for that, and whilst we had the odd difference of opinion, we acted as one when needed. We had to be Resilient, think clearly under pressure and navigate the right course of action in the heat of the moment to deliver the mission and bring everyone home safely.
In the Marines we celebrate the Corps birthday every year, part of this is because we like to ‘get boozy’ but the reality is that it is because we are proud of where we have come from and what we have achieved together. Developing our Commando Mindset – “Be the first to understand; the first to adapt and respond; and the first to overcome.” Having a clear purpose and belief in this mantra, built an unwavering sense of resilience to overcome the challenges that lay ahead.
On Sunday, I will reflect.
I will remember how I got here, thinking:
- What went wrong and what went right?
- How did I overcome that?
- What are the learns? and
- How can I apply those lessons today to the changes I need to make in the future?
In the Marines, if this was not engrained in how we worked, how we improved and how we thought, then there may be a lot more of us being remembered this Sunday.
A final thought, please ask yourself this simple question, “When was the last time I reflected and remembered how I got to where I am today?”
It may help define where you go tomorrow.