I thoroughly enjoyed archery when I was growing up. It was always exciting to pull the bowstring back, feel the strength manifest, and satisfaction that comes as the arrow left the bow and hit the target. It was also fun just to shoot some to see how far the arrow would go! The bow is both elegant and strong and it can teach us some things about our leadership walk. 

Each bow has a unique fit and purpose

I most often shot a traditional recurve bow but also shot some primitive and compound bows as well. There are more varieties than you may realize. A primitive bow has a few as 5 parts and some of the more complicated compound bows have 23 parts. They also range in size from 54in. to 72in. No matter the differences, they do the exact same thing; they get the arrow downrange. Their uniqueness comes from the archer and the purpose of the shot. 

My mentor once told me about great football coaches. They enjoy and foster a sense of uniqueness in their players as long as they are getting the ball down the field. Some players run it straight down the middle, and others are showier and run all over the place. Celebrate your uniqueness and don’t try to change yourself because you think that’s what others want. In the same sense celebrate the uniqueness of your teammates and co-workers. Despite what makes you different, you are working towards a common goal. 

The tension and stress make things happen

If the bow stayed straight, it would be useless. Its power and use comes after it the bowstring is attached and curves the bow. If you ever have picked up or used a bow, you can feel the power at this point. The tension and strength almost begin to sing. If you see a bow, take a moment to run your hand across it and down the bowstring. You’ll feel its power. 

Our life and leadership abilities are the same way. As much as people run away from stress and tension, there is such a thing as a healthy amount of stress and it does make us stronger people. Use those moments to rise up, and show your full potential. 

Great shots are taken with time

Despite what you see in Avengers as Hawkeye lets arrows fly nearly as fast as bullets, a great and true shot takes time…… but not too much time. You should control your breathing, steady your aim and let go. Taking too much time will wear out the strength in your arm. 

You shouldn’t go through life like Hawkeye constantly firing off arrows everywhere. You’ll seldom hit what you are aiming at. Take a moment in those important moments to slow down, collect your thoughts (and perhaps your breathing) to make a wise and thoughtful decision. 

Be the bow.  Be confident in your unique purpose, maximize stress and tension for success and make sure your shots are purposeful and on target. 

Make a better tomorrow.