Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Death Wish

A Reel Leadership Article

I’ve often wondered what I would do if I was ever put into a situation like Bryan Mills from Taken or, now, Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) in the new Death Wish movie. Would I want to extract revenge for the pain brought upon me or the deaths I had to witness?

Bruce Willis in promotional image from Death Wish

As a man, these questions often flood my mind. And I love watching movies explore this thought process. Death Wish tells the story of Paul Kersey, a doctor whose job it was was to save lives. Only to have his wife brutally murdered and his daughter shot and left in a coma.

What would you do? That’s the question Death Wish gets you thinking about.

And, if you’re intentional, it’ll also get you to think about leadership.

Caution: Death Wish spoilers below.

The Qualities I Admire Most In Other Leaders

Even the best leaders know that they have to follow someone else. Whether that’s the company CEO, shareholders, the church board of directors, or some other person in leadership, we ALL answer to other leaders.

That’s why I love looking at the leaders I enjoy reading and following. Being able to reflect on the reasons I admire these leaders opens my eyes to the qualities of great leadership.

what qualities do you look for in a leader?

When you find a leader worth following, I suggest you latch onto that person. Their leadership qualities can begin to rub off on you.

Examine their lives. See what makes them special. Then emulate those qualities that make them worth following.

Today, I want to look at the lives of a couple of leaders I believe are worth following.

You Can’t Rush Trust

Four years ago, I engaged in a relationship with a new client that held incredible promise. I completed a full insurance proposal to address additional insurance needs and presented the options for diversifying his accounts. If we were able to place these policies, it would represent the largest single transaction in my 10-year history. As I made the presentation, everything went perfectly and the options looked great.

The client didn’t take any of them.

Not a reduced option. Not a different option. None.

For a long time, I thought my efforts had been a huge waste of time.

Still, I maintained a relationship with the client and continued to help them with other, albeit smaller services. About two years later, I got a promising call.

“Matt, can you look into this for us again?”

The Waiting Game

Waiting.

It is not something that I like to do. I, by nature, am a very impatient person. Microwave popcorn just doesn’t seem to pop fast enough for me.

What to do when the microwave isn't fast enough?

Image by Pascal

When I exercise, I don’t lose pounds or inches fast enough. I constantly contemplate quitting the gym.

Have a repairman come late, I am crawling the walls.

I want things done. And I want them done NOW.

But growth, the kind that matters, usually is done very slowly. You can’t literally see a plant grow unless you have a time lapse camera. You can measure it from time to time, but the Jack and the Beanstalk overnight thing is just a fairy tale.

I need to:

Be more patient with others. When I lead others, I need to look at the potential in each of my team members and plant the seeds to have them grow their potential.

Turning Hecklers Into Fans

You and I have heard the advice that we should silence the critics. Ignore what the hecklers are saying. Move onto the next great thing we’re going to do.

Recently, I had this mindset rocked.

A great big reminder was dropped into my lap letting me know that the hecklers still matter. They still count. And we can help turn the hecklers into fans.

Image by Jesus Gorriti

Image by Jesus Gorriti

This rocking of my mindset occurred at a little taco joint during a lunch break with co-workers. We’d been seated by our waiter when he mentions that I looked familiar.

He’d looked familiar to me also but I hadn’t had a chance to say anything. It turns out that he was a former student in our youth group that hadn’t been there in ages.

While he wasn’t a bad kid, per say, he wasn’t a model youth group student. In fact, he was a heckler (his own words).