From the Dojang to the Corporate World: Life Lessons in Tae Kwon Do
By Miranda Carter
“YAAAAHHHH!” screamed various students as I walked through the doors of the dojang for the very first time. Immediately, without hesitation, I turned around and walked right out. As had become typical when confronted with unusual or new things, I thought to myself “I cannot do this.” Despite the yelling, I was dragged back in by my mom and right then and there I started the most influential physical and mental journey of my life.As you progress to various levels in Tae Kwon Do, you receive a belt. Each belt represents a different learning experience for the student that maximizes his or her journey. These philosophies not only enhance your martial art experience but your personal life as well. Taking it a step further, these lessons can also be applied to your professional life. So listen up grasshopper as I take you through the Tae Kwon Do’s and Don’ts as it applies to business:
- Yellow: Enthusiasm
Say it with excitement! The first thing we learn about in Tae Kwon Do is the importance of enthusiasm. When in the business world, it can be hard to keep the excitement going. Bringing a sense of energy to the workplace is very important to its overall success. Energy and enthusiasm will not only make everyday tasks for yourself more enjoyable but will act as a contagion to those around you, making the entire business more productive.
- Green: Responsibility
Being responsible is something we all learn when growing up. When it comes to taking care of one’s self, however, this meaning is surface level. When practicing Tae Kwon Do, we begin to understand responsibility at a deeper level, relating it to other aspects of our lives. Being responsible in the workplace means having a real obligation to yourself and your work. Whether it’s taking pride in what you’ve done or owning up to a mistake, responsibility is key.
- Blue: Confidence
Confidence is definitely something we all strive to have and can definitely be easier said than done. In Tae Kwon Do, hesitations result in a kick to the head as your sparring partner can sense the uncertainty. Now in the workplace, this of course will not be the scenario. At the same time, however, it can damage the limits of your work. Exerting confidence in what you are doing breaks through the boundaries of what you’re capable of producing. Going into a project with confidence will make the results 100 percent more exceptional. Believe in yourself, you’re only as great as you are in your mind.
- Red: Respect
Respect comes in many forms. Tae Kwon Do teaches us to not only respect your instructors, but yourself as well. In the workplace, having respect means recognizing the achievements and abilities of those around you as well as your own. It’s easy to have negative thoughts about the people you work with, but in order to have growth, you must have positivity. Challenge yourself to see the intelligence in others.
- Black: Leadership
Let’s be honest, this word scares some of us. Many of us believe that some are just meant to lead while others are meant to follow. FALSE! Leadership goes beyond who wears the highest rank. In Tae Kwon Do, we learn we are all leaders of our own lives. Showing initiative in the things you want or don’t want is in fact being a leader. Let your ideas and feelings be heard. Leading yourself will ultimately lead you to your best self.
Being a professional means accepting that there are always new challenges, but recognizing they can be overcome. By implementing enthusiasm, responsibility, confidence, respect, and leadership into your professional life, no challenge is too great. Never again will the words, “I cannot do this” come out of my mouth. And always remember, even the master was once a grasshopper!