I attended the Mighty Men of Valor Conference earlier this month and walked away with a whole new perspective on the importance of being “Battle-Tested.” The conference had amazing keynotes from Ray Lewis, Michael Irvin and Chris Broussard of ESPN. They each spoke about the battles they had to overcome and the scars that came from those battles.
When I think about the work that I do with millennials and some of the challenges that millennials face, being battle-tested is sometimes the only way to overcome those challenges.
One of the biggest critiques that we hear regarding millennials is “they haven’t paid their dues”. We hear this all the time from Baby Boomers and Gen X as to why they believe their millennial counterparts aren’t ready for certain tasks, roles or responsibilities. They want to know that you’ve been battle-tested.
I agree that being battle-tested is important. It shows that you have the courage, desire and ability to face and overcome the challenges necessary to achieve victory. These are attributes that we all want and need from a comrade, colleague or teammate.
There are 3 things about being battle-tested that I want my millennial crew to understand…
1. Choose your battles wisely - Being battle-tested should not be about proving yourself; it should always be about improving yourself. The battles that you fight should be because it is something that needs to be conquered for you to grow and develop personally and/or professionally. It should not be because you feel compelled to prove something to someone else.
2. Don’t run from your battles – Being battle-tested not only lets others know that you are ready for the next level, it lets you know that you are ready. The whole purpose of a test is to gauge your preparedness to move on to the next level. Facing your battles is the only way you’ll conquer your battles and ensure that you are prepared to handle what’s next.
3. Don’t be ashamed of your scars – When you do battle, you’ll end up with some scars. Most people want to hide their scars due to shame or embarrassment. Your scars are a badge of honor that serves as a testament to your courage, resilience and accomplishment. Your scars also show others that you’ve endured some pain to get to where you are and serve as a source of inspiration for them to do the same. It’s usually through your hurt that you are best able to help.
"Being battle-tested is not about proving yourself; it's about improving yourself." ~ Tru Pettigrew