Being a Barefoot Warrior

My Purpose

Rod Tallowin

In all of my working life, I have found that there is nothing more rewarding than providing people and/or their businesses the opportunity to "find their wings and fly".

The new coaching programme and associated workshops - Claiming Your Identity - is the culmination of a lifetime of work in leadership and coaching roles. It is the most efficient method of enabling me to achieve my purpose of elevating the worth of my clients – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially. Taking them to the Next Level and beyond – Stepping up to World-Class.

"What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are."
– Anthony Robbins

Why Barefoot Warrior?

Rod Tallowin

Many years ago my friends used to call me the “Barefoot Warrior” due to both my involvement in the world of martial arts and my propensity to go everywhere barefoot. But, it is also a great metaphor to distinguish those that walk the path of life shod in comfy shoes, insulated from and unaware of the nature of the path they may be on. Whilst those that walk the path barefoot do so with feeling and awareness. At times walking barefoot may be painful, other times may be blissful, but always with a consciousness of the path one is treading, and the journey one is taking.

Our feet are our direct physical connection to the world, and being barefoot is also a reflection of both our openness and our open-mindedness in our dealings with the external world. Openness in our expression of our true self to others, and open-mindedness and accepting of others and their ideas. For openness and open-mindedness both require humility - not some gushy external display of false humility - but the transcendence of ego leading to an honest internal understanding of one’s true place and potential in the scheme of things. Being present, being non-judgemental and accepting of other ideas and other ways of being, acknowledging that we don’t know all of the answers, and possibly never will.

The path of the true warrior is not one of violence, but one of peace, compassion and understanding. Understanding the heartache, misery and devastation that conflict causes - avoiding it whenever possible - and having the courage and commitment to face it head on when necessary. Understanding that real positive change comes from working together towards a common goal, and compassion creates the opportunity for that change. Understanding that the real fight is with oneself, against the uprising of selfishness, greed and arrogance (which history shows is the downfall of all great civilisations, and has been demonstrated so clearly to us in 2008/2009).

Being a warrior is not just something one does on weekends for fun, as with true adherence to the martial arts, it is a way of life. So too with leadership, it is not something one does, it is something one is. Understanding that true strength lies in the strength of our passions, our commitment to follow them, and the discipline of humility - one of the major traits of leadership (there is no “I” in “Leader”). A warrior has the courage to go against the flow when necessary, to take on the tough challenges and to shine the light on the dark recesses of fear, of the unknown.

True martial arts is not about competition, but about self-development. The "target" is not the opponent it is one's self, and the defeat of one's lesser self. So too in the wider world, the era of Competition is a thing of the past, the future is in Collaboration. Great leadership is necessary to make the changes required in the world happen now. Mutual gain and positive relationships are the best form of advancement.

Ueshiba Morihei, credited as being the founder of the martial art Aikido, “the way of harmony”, had the belief that the intensity and single-minded determination of the warrior must be channelled toward the higher purpose of, “the restoration of harmony, the preservation of peace, and the nurturing of all beings”, and that “Aiki is not an art for defeating others, it is for the unification of the world and the gathering of all races into one family.” The motto of Aikido is Masakatsu Akatsu - “By acting in accordance with the truth we always emerge victorious”. Certainly a set of principles that must be the ultimate aspiration of all leaders.

The Tibetan word for Warrior is ‘Pawo’ which literally means “one who is brave”. Also interpreted as not being afraid of yourself, not being afraid of who you are. The warrior has compassion, empathy, wisdom and understanding, and inside the warrior (their “ura”) is a way of life, a journey towards dignity, courage, integrity, respect for oneself and others, a path exemplifying that which is moral, good and beautiful. A warrior’s aim is to develop one’s self and to hone one’s skills, to perfect oneself and one’s art if you will. This is not done for personal glorification and gain, it is not about what one can get from it, but for what one can give from it. The purpose is to maximise one’s resources and the ability to contribute - to become a Provider.

Driven by my passions for clarity, quality, excellence, understanding and organisation - for World-Class - I am continually seeking opportunities for raising standards for myself and others. Opening the eyes, ears, hearts and minds of others, to the opportunities, possibilities and potential before them. Raising standards for all through the tools of leadership, awareness, understanding, education and presentation. Providing the opportunity, for those that wish it, to maximise their potential and their resources, to step up to the Next Level and beyond.

Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was again stung. The other monk asked him, "Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know its nature is to sting?"

"Because," the monk replied, "to save it is my nature."

The Journey of Claiming Your Identity

Rod Tallowin

The year was 2015, the year I turned 60 - a particularly significant milestone in my life. Although my full journey of life started back in 1955, this particular leg of my journey, the work on Claiming Your Identity started back in 2004. It was the year when after many years in senior management and business consultancy that I wanted to put into a definitive form of words my own view of leadership for the new century. This form of words became a full manuscript – “Survival to Thrival – The 12 Principles of 21st Century Leadership”. A book based on my own direct experiences of leadership, both good and bad, as well as my own methods of leadership that I had learnt, practiced and had proven successful over the years. Experiences of leadership that drove my passion for excellence and helping both individuals and businesses “Step up to World-Class”. These experiences were added to by additional research and analysis of successful world leaders both in the worlds of politics and business.

My attempts to compile this tome were hampered by my descent into the world of depression somewhere around 2007 – the exact start and end of it were lost in both the fog of time, and the fog of the experience. Through depression I discovered what it is like to live at the bottom of the deepest, darkest blackest pit with no (apparent) way out and with utter despair and hopelessness as my only companions. I battled to escape from this pit for about a couple of years, eventually surfacing around 2009/2010 (just in time to help my close friend of 48 years through the last few months of his fight against terminal cancer – and help his wife take the full reins of their business).

One of the key elements that helped me pull myself out of the pit of depression (without resort to any medication) was researching, reading and writing about the experience, as well as rediscovering the many life-skills I had acquired over the years that had already played a key part in my physical, mental emotional and spiritual development. By the end of it, I had compiled a new tome – “Depression: The Thinking Addiction – Breaking the Habit”. But, whilst I felt I was mostly there, I was missing the last piece of the puzzle – not just for the book, but also for myself. I continued in my quest to find this last piece through further reading, writing, self-reflection and discovery and probably more importantly - living and practising those very things that I had learnt and written about.

The more I lived and practiced what I had learnt, the more clearly the picture unfolded before me. Finally, in early 2015, that elusive last piece revealed itself to me. I now had all of the pieces of the puzzle, and a new lease of life to live, practice and present them to others. I just now had to work out how to fit them together into a rational, logical progression. My fascination for Haiku and the expression of complex concepts through a defined compact structure led me to condense hundreds of pages of writing into a tightly defined format of mixed media. The result is “Claiming Your Identity”. A complete body of work that I hope will help others to find their way home, no matter where they may lie on this wide spectrum of life.

Rod Tallowin
Barefoot Warrior

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Freeman of the City of Norwich

The Tallowin family have been Freemen of the city of Norwich dating back many centuries. The right to this long-held family tradition is normally bestowed in a ceremony when the men in the family reach the age of 21. My brother and I took up the honour rather later in life in January 2009. Below is a picture of myself (in the middle) flanked by the Mayor of the city (right) and the head of the guild (left) in Norwich city hall.

Becoming a Freeman of the City of Norwich