It was during Leadership training I recently attended that someone shared the ‘A Message to Garcia’ story.‘A true story of a young lieutenant during the Spanish-American War. The lieutenant, Andrew Summers Rowan, was sent to Cuba alone with an extremely important mission: to carry a message to Garcia.’
Garcia was the leader of the Cuban insurgents – and the president of the United States at the time, William McKinley, needed Garcia’s help for the war effort.
‘Not knowing how to win over the insurgent, it was suggested that someone deliver a message to Garcia personally …
Rowan was the individual suggested to deliver the important message.’It is the choice of the individual bestowed with the responsibility to deliver the message that caught my attention.
Immediately I asked myself, ‘Why did they specifically choose Rowen to deliver this all-important message?’, because the story further tells us that the messenger: Could not be provided with Garcia’s exact location – the advisors only knew that Garcia was stationed ‘somewhere in the Cuban mountains.’ He had to journey alone during wartime. He was faced with having to travel by sea, tracking through jungles and conquering mountains. So, I started pondering…
Did their choosing Rowen have anything to do with things such as his rank, his age, his experience, or his skills and knowledge?
It turns out that the answer to this is simply, ‘None of the above!’
Learning more about Rowen’s character and values, unlock the secret to him being the choice messenger:
– Displaying sheer determination and seemingly superhero drive to complete his mission no matter the cost.
– Knowing the value of hard work and not shrinking from the task, despite his youth and the uncertainties he had to face.
– Applying initiative to overcome challenges.
– Displaying a hard-sought leadership quality, namely his willingness to also be a hardworking follower!
So often, we discount ourselves and deprive ourselves of the belief that we are and can be the ‘right one’ to accomplish a task or to carry out a vision. (Imagine if Rowen had to act in disbelief in being the right choice as messenger!)
Self-doubt often creeps in as we are ‘blinded’ by the value that society places on things such as your professional title, education, experience, age, economic status, previous accomplishments, etc.
Next time this happens, let us remind ourselves of the story of Rowen and how he carried the message to Garcia … and then TAKE COURAGE!
Connect to the greater cause behind your task or action.Pay attention to the duty and initiative you should take.Put in the hard work to carry out the mission without hesitating! Learn more about the ‘Message to Garcia’ story here.
You can click here to watch Simon Sinek: “The best leaders are the best followers.”