Physical and Emotional Stamina

By | October 17, 2021

[October 17, 2021]  I was breaking in a replacement Flag officer at the end of my tour in South Korea.  The job was demanding and required me to work closely with and live alongside my Korean counterparts. My replacement, however, had difficulty adapting to the new assignment and was eventually sent home early. What did he lack?  He did not have the physical and emotional stamina required for his new assignment.1

Some leaders, we’ve all experienced their conduct, are just a “flash in the pan.”  At first, they’re passionate and focused, but at some point their efforts wane with increased responsibility and the grind that comes with any new leadership position. The tenets of leadership have not changed much over time, but one leader trait we rarely read about is the one that holds back leaders from becoming truly successful.

Stamina means that a leader can take on greater responsibilities and stay the course against inevitable obstacles. Stamina refers to physical strength, but it also has an emotional component that is more important. Stamina refers to endurance against conflict and to withstand predictable and unpredictable changes in their circumstances. I have seen too many leaders fail because they lacked staying power.

One of the ways to improve stamina is to remain as physically fit as possible. It doesn’t mean that we have to be a health-club jock, but regular physical exercise has been proven to help us think better. We can also take on greater responsibilities progressively to slowly build our mental strength. Just as important, we should find ourselves a mentor willing to cheer us on and push us when we need it.

My peers and I learned to laugh and not take everything we did too seriously. Yes, we were persistent, but also we were grateful that we were fortunate enough to have significant responsibilities. As a new lieutenant, we met several recent West Point graduates who thought they were the best leaders in the army. Many of them with those entitlement personalities never made it.

Leaders can be the smartest, fastest, and most socially adept people in the room. However, if they don’t have physical and emotional stamina, they don’t have what it takes to be a great leader.


  1. See Physical Fitness:


Please read my newest book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

16 thoughts on “Physical and Emotional Stamina

  1. Eddie Ray Anderson, Jr.

    Folks don’t have a clue about this because they ASSUME everything will just fall into place. NOT. That won’t happen. Folks, please read Sadako Red’s article today and Gen. Satterfield’s Daily Favorites. A bunch of good reading there.

  2. MrJohn22

    Once again, thanks to those in this leadership forum for their comments and dedication to helping others out on their ideas. Also for a bit of mentoring as well. I come to this website by Gen. Doug Satterfield to get some idea of what is going on in the leadership community and I’m finding it here. I wish I’d discovered this leadership website sooner.

  3. Jeff Blackwater

    Another spot-on article and thanks to Gen. Satterfield, even the overlooked traits of a leader a addressed. I will say we mostly take stamina for granted but you do have to work at it and do so consciously. Otherwise, you start to fall behind and will never catch up with those who are focused on staying strong.

    1. old warrior

      Got that right Jeff and those who believe we owe them some leadership position can pound sand. And take a flying leap off the end of a peer.

      1. Jeremy M. Jones

        Pow, way to go old warrior. You forgot that we can still kick their a$$ to get them going……….

      2. José Luis Rodriguez

        You guys crack me up. Thanks for making my Sunday morning.

  4. Pooch T.

    “Leaders can be the smartest, fastest, and most socially adept people in the room. However, if they don’t have physical and emotional stamina, they don’t have what it takes to be a great leader.” Or any kind of leader, for that matter. If you can’t hang in there when the going gets tough, then you are not really a leader.

  5. Jonnie the Bart

    Hey, Gen. Satterfield, you will be happy to know that I bought a copy of your paperback book off of Amazon (although I don’t like Amazon or its stupid CEO). But I bought it because I wanted to read about what you and your engineers did for us in Iraq. Hard to put the book down. Very very interesting. Not something that I could expect. Keep up the great work you are doing and please write another book.

    1. Cat A Miss

      Jonnie the Bart, yes, I agree. I got my copy of “Our Longest Year in Iraq.” Go and get a copy now. Amazon won’t sell out but get the book now before Amazon increases the price. The prices are always lower in the beginning.

  6. Tom Bushmaster

    IMHO, you can only gain stamina thru adopting responsibility and pilling it on beyond what you think you can handle, and then ask for more. If you stretch your ability daily, you will grow and more so than you could ever expect.

  7. Dale Paul Fox

    Good article. Yes, I agree, stamina is overlooked. That is why so many who are lazy never make it anywhere.

      1. Valkerie

        >>> or the unstable or liberals ….. General Satterfield does us another favor by exposing those who don’t have the cajones to do the job.


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