One way I connect with others is to learn their likes and dislikes. One of my favorite questions is to ask what is their favorite movie, TV show, or book? It is a great way to start a conversation.

Why? Because we all have a book, movie, or TV show that inspires us. Maybe it is a book from your childhood or a show that makes you laugh. So, when I respond to the question, I think about my favorite movie.

So, what is my favorite movie? Well, it is the Matrix. Yes, I am a huge science fiction fan. I recently watched the fourth Matrix film in the series for the third time. So, if one of the Matrix movies is on, I will watch it.

This past weekend, my husband and I watched Rocky IV, one of his favorite movies. But, of course, we have watched all six Rocky movies multiple times over the years.

Why do we watch the same movies and TV shows or read the same book repeatedly? Because they speak to our desire to believe that we can overcome the challenges no matter what. In Rocky IV, Rocky is the underdog who has to overcome an invincible opponent to avenge his friend.

No matter which Rocky film you watch, the format is the same. Rocky takes a beating during the first few rounds; however, when the music starts, you know Rocky is on the comeback trail. In the end, he overcomes and defeats his opponent.

No matter how bad things are going, Rocky never quits! His determination not only wins over the hostile crowd, but he achieves his goal.

But how does he overcome and defeat his opponent? Well, of course, he trains like all athletes. But Rocky also follows a strategy used by great leaders. So, what does he do?

  1. Take ownership – He accepts responsibility for his actions.
  2. Check Your Attitude – He maintains a positive attitude.
  3. Fail Forward – He learns lessons from his experiences and adapts to overcome.

As the movie draws to a conclusion, Rocky overcomes and is victorious. 

Like Rocky, leaders face challenges. However, you can overcome and achieve success.

“Success is usually the culmination of controlling failure.”

-Sylvester Stallone

The road to success is paved with obstacles. But, remember what Rocky said, “Going in one more round when you don’t think you can. That’s what makes all the difference in your life.” So embrace your inter Rocky to overcome and achieve success.

What strategies are you using to overcome setbacks?



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  • Thank you Kim. This is a great reminder. My strategy to overcome personal setbacks: 1. Evaluate – Assess the situation and identify what I need to start, stop, or adjust. Be humble. 2. Seek wisdom 3. Move forward – Don’t let the setback stop me. 4. Focus – Keep my eyes focused on God. He leads me to victory.

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    About the author

    I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.