In the Battle of Thermopylae, made famous in modern society by the movie 300, King Leonidas marches with 300 of his most fierce warriors from Sparta to the Thermopylae – also know as the Hot Gates. The march for Leonidas and his warriors was an attempt to stall the pressing and massive forces of the Persian King Xerxes.
The Hot Gates, a narrow pass in the mountains, would be the only path to Sparta on which King Xerxes could move his considerable forces. It was here that the Spartans would make a stand.
But, it’s not the battle that caught my attention, so much the march from Sparta to Thermopylae (approximately 240 miles). And, the 300 Spartans (with support elements) would make that march in eight days – averaging nearly 31 miles per day. What would create such a powerful urgency in these men to rush to their deaths? The answer is…family, freedom, and unity. By delaying King Xerxes, the Spartans would allow the Greek City States time to unify and muster their forces to defeat the Persians. History tells us the sacrifice that Leonidas and his 300 made did just that.
So, when I approached the eight-day, 240-mile march, I elected to complete the work on an elliptical – saving the pounding on an arthritic knee. But in the hours leading up to the trek, I realized that I needed something to march towards also. It wasn’t certain death or an impending battle, so what was it? The Spartans marched to protect their loved ones and to show up in an ultimate and powerful way for their freedom and way of life. What was I doing?
After some contemplation, I realized I needed to show up more powerfully for those that I hold most dear, and for those values I hold most sacred. So I decided to create an opportunity to meditate on how do that for my children, my wife, my purpose, my ETHOS, and my roles in this life. The results were nothing short of incredible. I had insights I’ve never uncovered before, and I came away with tangible and intentional concepts that will allow me to show up more powerfully for those around me. In the end, the march served as a vehicle to something much more important. And, for that, I’m thankful. Warrior leadership is, by definition, service. Who do you lead? How will you serve them powerfully?