Sun Tzu – You must believe you will succeed

As most of you know, I am a huge fan of Sun Tzu & The Art of War. I realize that may sound odd, but if you take the time to read it, you will see that the strategies are in fact how to live and not in fact engage in war with yourself or others.

Suz Tzu is really about the journey from where you are now, to who you can become. It reconciles the ancient truths with the modern realities. The timeless truths, both simple and complex, never go out of style. In addition, quite obviously this can be used as a metaphor for your own healing and/or personal growth.

The concept of warrior (a brave or experienced soldier or fighter, a person engaged in some sort of conflict) is one that has interested me for many years. In recent days we think of warriors as survivors and in some cases, even call those with battle scars “Wounded Warriors”.   For those who have experienced trauma, warrior is an apt name vs. title or label.

My purpose in studying Sun Tzu was to understand the strategies of survival and what has come out of my study, are ways to reconnect to the strengths we may have forgotten or denied we had as well as identifying the strategies we used to survive, so we can learn from them, harness them to use for the future if we need those tools again.

We begin with the assertion that you must believe you will succeed and that victory is your only option and only successful outcome.  Hint: if you are still reading, you are open to this belief.

Now we move on to a lesson we are all familiar with, that in general “men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strength.” Lois Wyse

Men use their strengths to their advantage all the time, without apology and in fact celebrate and are rewarded for their strength. Yet are punished for showing what others determine as a weakness. How can one truly succeed by only being “allowed” to live half a life, to be half of themselves?  How can people truly embrace a strength when part of what fuels that strength are the challenges that resulted in the learning, that are labeled as not acceptable? How on earth can one be whole, when society dictates they are two separate people – one accepted and one not?

Women have for the most part, steered themselves away from their strengths by avoiding conflict, staying in theirs & perhaps others, comfort zones, not asking for what they want, being too timid, not sure of which battles to fight and not being true to themselves, at their own expense. When those few women do however stand up, they are ridiculed behind their backs, called names that undermine their achievements and treated so differently from their male counterparts.

What we need to understand and embrace, is that our unique traits as men & women are what will make sure we are successful – in combination. Each fuels the other.  The challenges fuel the strengths and the strengths give us the confidence to learn from those opportunities. We need to embrace all of ourselves, our intuition, sensitivity, attitude of collaboration, our innate passions, need for independence and ability to be great, build & be part of cohesive teams. These are just some of our strengths and we must engage and empower them in order to fully utilize them.

No one should have to apologize for their weaknesses, their strengths, or for what they have worked hard to achieve. No one should present themselves as less than they are to appease others. With that in mind…

Who are you in your life?  What gifts of yours have you denied, apologized for or put away to be accepted by someone else?  Perhaps its time to step into your own journey to see who you are and who you can become. Who will you be when you no longer apologize for being you? When you are no longer defined by your past or your story?

Are you ready to take that first step, to believe you can succeed? Now what will you do with that belief?



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