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If you haven’t heard, Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight boxing champ, is performing a one-man show in Las Vegas called “Undisputed Truth” and the show is making its way to Broadway, NY in August. From the mid 80s to the late 90s, Mike Tyson was one of the most feared boxers in history and his antics outside of the ring were almost as legendary.  He is most recently known for his cameo appearance in the movie, The Hangover.

I heard an interview with him the other day in promotion of his show and the hosts asked Mike to reflect on the person he was during his boxing heyday. You could almost hear him shudder at the thought before he proclaimed, “I don’t even recognize that guy. If I was in the same room with him, I’d be very uncomfortable.” I was a bit shocked by the answer, and even more when the hosts went on to ask him what he would do differently if he could go back and relive that time and he answered, “Nothing, who I am today is because of the adversity and who I was.”

I think all of us have said words to this effect at some time in our lives, especially as we get older. However, when I heard Mike Tyson say it, it struck me in a different way and I also looked at it through my leadership lens.

I considered the questions:

  • What part of an earlier version of me is virtually unrecognizable to me today?
  • What adversity or self-inflicted nonsense have shaped the person I am today?

I was a cocky young guy and in some cases, even a bully. I can’t believe that was me. When I think about how I treated people in certain instances, I also shudder. I regret my actions but know that I am the person and leader I am today because of them. I strive for a serving style of leadership and teach my clients to do the same. All of this is directly due to that old version of me.

Who are you today? Which parts of the earlier version of you make you shudder?

Why am I asking you to consider all this? By doing so, you can accomplish these three things:

  1. Reflect with gratitude on the transformation you have made
  2. Ground yourself in humility and patience as you mentor and support those you have the opportunity to lead
  3. Realize that change is possible for you and even for the Mike Tysons of the world
Jeff Harmon

Jeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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