• Jenny Barnes

Ancient Wisdom which makes modern business sense.

Considering my background in accountancy and coaching, you may be surprised to know that my hobbies include Tae Kwon Do. In fact, I have practised martial arts for many years now and am honoured to wear my black belt as I continue training hard. This foundation in discipline has been a strong ally to me throughout my business life, and the principles that it has taught me have been invaluable.

So, I thought I might share some lessons from the ‘Five Tenets of Tae Kwon Do’ and how you can use them in your business life. Oh, and you might also be interested to know that this has very little to do with fighting!

The five tenets of Tae Kwon Do

1. Courtesy (Ye-Ui):

If you watch The Apprentice, you’ll see that this quality is sadly lacking – yet it is an influential ‘winning’ force in any human relationship. Its power comes from being almost impossible to fake (for very long at least), and the ability to spread similar characteristics among the people it touches. Sharing kindness, humility, good manners, politeness, and respect in business is a true strength.

2. Integrity (Yom-Chi):

This is far deeper than simply being honest and the dictionary definition of ‘integrity’ includes the line ‘the state of being whole and undivided’. It represents your moral soundness, your beliefs, your uprightness, your truthfulness, and embodies who you are to your very roots. To have integrity means that you stand by your true character at all times: in your innermost thoughts and all your external dealings with others. In any business setting, your integrity will stand out like a beacon and speak louder than any words you can say.

3. Perseverance (In-Nae):

An essential element of any entrepreneur’s character, without which it will be impossible for them to achieve their ambitions. A fundamental truth of life and business is that obstacles, difficulties, disappointments and threats will stand in your way from time to time. Only those who have a clear vision of their goal and a passionate belief in achieving it will be able to endure the steadfast pursuit required to reach that destination.

4. Self-Control (Guk-Gi):

In Tae Kwon Do this relates to both the physical and emotional states. It describes a student’s precision of movement, control over strength, and execution of intent. These ‘physical’ attributes could apply to the actions and decisions we take, as business owners: but it is the control of emotions that I think can be most effective as a ‘life skill’. If you can govern your choices by strong and conscious reason instead of fears and feelings, you will be on your way to becoming a true Master of Self: and a far more successful business owner.

5. Indomitable Spirit (Baekjul-Bool Gool):

The definitive goal for any student of Tae Kwon Do. It is perhaps, the embodiment of the other four tenets and is what determines an individual’s true strength. Indomitable spirit means to have an unbreakable will to win and an unquenchable appetite for success. It also means that your beliefs and principles are worth fighting for and that you will never give up on defending those truths. This entrepreneurial inner strength is often the single biggest difference between a business that fails and one that soars.

The actor, Will Smith, summed up indomitable spirit when he said, “If we get on the treadmill together, there are two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple”.

In summary: you can have a brilliant intellect, a wonderful business idea, strong financial backing, and be surrounded by great advice; but if you haven’t got an ‘indomitable spirit’, you will fail. The really good news is that you can learn these skills and attributes and apply them to your business and personal life. You can improve the person who already exists within you and turn them into an unbeatable version of you.

Contact Jenny to see how you can bring more into your life on 01761 231239 or

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