I haven’t been completely transparent with you about what I’m up to – thus far, you’ve only seen pieces of what I’ve been working on all these years. Even my last attempt at this in “What I’m Here to Do” muted the deeper level of my journey.
The other day, Pam and I were talking with one of our Lift Offians about the journey she’s on. She has a big vision at the same time that she has the capabilities to actualize it, but she hasn’t shared a lot of it thus far.
Why? Because it’s bigger than the world she knows now. It seems beyond her reach. It’s too bold, too big, and who is she to be the one to do it?
So, instead, she shows tiny pieces of it. Despite the fact that she’s been in the New York Times and is slated to be in some magazines. Despite the fact that everyone she talks to sees that bigger vision in her without articulating it.
While I was giving her counsel, it turns out the counsel that I gave her is the counsel I need to heed myself. (How dare I not have it all figured out! Such blasphemy.)
It wouldn’t be right to not model my message, so here goes:
What I’ve really been doing all these years is helping leaders achieve their full potential and do good in the world.
I’ve been on this journey my whole life.
My dad was an Army sergeant through-and-through and raised his sons to be mentally tough, resourceful, and men of character.
I was in Boy Scouts since I was six and became an Eagle Scout when I was 18.
That same year, I went to West Point (though I didn’t stay) and joined the Army National Guard when was 22. While in the Guard, I became an officer, was activated, and did a tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom leading, training, and serving when I was but 24. I came home and continued to do the same, with a pinnacle experience of commanding a 219-strong high-optempo transportation unit when I was 27. (In hindsight, that’s a lot of responsibility for such a young person.)
My philosophical studies were in ethics and social/political philosophy. My chief areas of exploration were simultaneously systems of justice and the cultivation of virtue and arete in individuals.
My body of work in entrepreneurship and business is largely around how to manifest our vision, principles, and possibilities into change in the world through effective action. Though I use words like “coach,” “consultant”, and “advisor” because they make sense in the marketplace, in my mind, it’s been leadership training the whole time. It just so happens that the domain of leadership has been business and entrepreneurship. To be clear, my meaning of leadership here entails more than market prominence – it includes the moral and human elements of leadership, too.
Many people have suggested and encouraged that I should do more group offers throughout the years and I’ve always resisted it. It turns out that it’s incredibly challenging to help individuals become better leaders; in a group setting, it becomes even more challenging. It requires crafting the right environment, with the right praxis, with the right people, and I’ve yet to see a virtual program that manages to put those together in the right way. (We’ve done that in Lift Off.)
I have a special ability to guide women, minorities, creatives, and thinkers – the people who are usually the quiet leaders getting stuff done out of the spotlight. Many don’t consider themselves leaders or capable of leadership because the models of leadership they’ve seen don’t fit them or because they’ve been told – directly or indirectly through socialization – that they’re not the stuff of leadership. (If this sounds like you, please watch my presentation “Go Big or Go Home – Or Go Deep.“)
Productivity, creativity, business, entrepreneurship, and the rest are just vehicles and gateways to the end goal of flourishing. People read the “productive” part of this website’s name and forget that it’s an qualifier of “flourishing.” That’s not really their fault, though – I haven’t put all of this out there.
p.s. It’s okay if you’ve been hiding, too. Come out in your own time. It took me years of unlearning aspects of my academic miseducation and socialization to get here.