Quotes & Leadership Lessons From Rocky IV

A Reel Leadership Article

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Yeah, it’s been 35 years since Sly Stallone’s most iconic character went to Russia and achieved the unthinkable. But like millions of people, I dig the boxset out once a year for a gripping seven-part (sorry Rocky V) binge. 

New and younger audiences continue to discover and fall in love with Rocky. So, it should come as no surprise that many of the lessons ring true today – not least in relation to leadership. Here are some that will give you another excuse to watch Balboa v Drago once more.

Hesitation Can Be Deadly

Rocky wanted to throw the towel on behalf of Apollo Creed. The Italian Stallion hesitated. Seconds later, Ivan Drago is saying his infamous “if he dies, he dies” line.

It’s an extreme depiction of hesitation causing disastrous results but does emphasize the need to trust your guts. Understanding your mission is a key lesson in other films involving bulked up lead actors, like My Spy. This vision should be supported by working with conviction at all times.

Crucially, you must adapt to situations and realize that you are allowed to abandon the plan to protect your business. If Rocky had done it, Apollo might have lived to tell that tale.

“No pain, no pain”

The Rocky montages are probably the most iconic montages in cinema history. In Rocky IV, Balboa has to push himself harder than ever before in preparation for the fight of his life.

The line “no pain, no pain” is uttered by several characters throughout the scenes. The harsh reality of business is that there will be tough moments. Resilience and hard work are the only way to overcome the challenges. If you expect things to run smoothly at all times, you’re in the wrong game.

Rocky’s montage scenes also highlight the need to surround yourself with a great team. Assembling the best group is arguably the most important challenge any leader ever faces.

Simplicity Is King

While Drago prepares for the title fight with the futuristic (for the time) setting of the sports camp and science center, Rocky resists. He also proves that there are no shortcuts.

There’s no need to put yourself up in a log cabin or climb a mountain. Technology will play a big role in your business. However, coworking hot desking setups are often the best solution. They offer convenience, cost-efficiency, and versatility.

When you find the most effective ways to utilize the available resources to their full potential, you can be like Rocky too. Minus the physique.

“I just gotta do what I gotta do”

Running a business isn’t for everyone. For many people, taking the easier route of traditional employment is better. If you have that urge to be a leader, though, you must give it 100%.

This may include making tough decisions at times. It also involves leading others into battle and staying focused on your end goals. Shooting for the top is the only way to gain success, and no stone can be left unturned. Your approach to business must be relentless.

As Rocky says: “going in one more round when you don’t think you can – that’s what makes all the difference in your life.” 

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