When I speak to audiences composed mostly of men, I can be pretty confident that as soon as I start talking about firefights and surviving combat in Iraq, most everybody will be on the edge of his seat. Men love stories of combat and risk, but sometimes I think they love them for reasons that don’t do them any favors. You see, as men we’re fond of talking about “overcoming fear” and “defeating fear,” and when you talk about combat against an enemy who’s trying to kill you and all your men by any means necessary, fear is definitely a factor. [...]
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This is a day I’ve anticipated for a long time: the day my book, The Dot on the Left, officially comes out. As I relish this exciting day—and look forward to a lot of work promoting the book to my readers—I also want to mark the date by answering some important questions. What made me want to write a book? Over the years, I told my “dot on the left” story to a lot of audiences at speaking engagements, and each time I would get asked, "Why isn't that a book?" I would always respond by asking, “Why would anyone want [...]
The moment I became a dot on the left was one of abject humiliation. As I write in my book, The Dot on the Left, I was sitting with my new classmates at the West Point Prep School when the school’s commandant put the classes’ SAT scores on a screen for all to see. There, alone on the far left, was a dot representing my rock-bottom math score: 310 out of 800. My classmates didn’t know that dot was me, but they jeered and chuckled at the intellectual, 98-pound weakling who’d put up such a pathetic score. But the worst part [...]
The dream started back in 2005. That’s how long I’ve been wanting to publish a book about the struggles, victories, and lessons I experienced at West Point, in the Army, and beyond. I started writing and made a lot of progress. But life makes demands on our time and attention, and our “must do” lists wind up as “get to one day” lists. So as 2016 was drawing to a close, the book was partially written but not done, and actual publication seemed remote. So I made a new year’s resolution for 2017: climb Mount Rainier, continue my PhD studies, and [...]
First of all, what is a “dot on the left?” Aside from being the title of my upcoming book, the term refers to someone who, based on the standards set by others, appears to be a sub-par performer but who has the hidden potential to be exceptional. That’s my story in a nutshell: at the United States Military Academy Prep School at West Point, I was the dot on the left—the candidate who stood out only in how consistently I fell short of the performance standards set by my peers. Yet somehow, I rose above my limitations to excel during my [...]
To you true Mountaineers. I salute you. Mt. Ranier is considered a beginning mountain, but let's think about that phrase again. Beginning. Mountain. Hmm, something just doesn't add up for me. Those with experience can shake their heads and whisper, "rookie" if they like and you should, but this was hard for me, much more than anticipated and it seemed like that for everyone in the group that attended with me. About a year ago, my brother admits that it would be "cool" to climb Mt. Ranier. In a calm voice, I responded, "I've been looking for something to do." I [...]
I had the chance (privilege/honor) to be an attendee at the Ogden Speaking Academy in Kansas City these past two days. You are already wondering what that is, so let me tell you-- Ogden Speaking Academy was created with a vision of bringing together individuals who are interested in learning the art of public speaking, self image, brand awareness, as well as the power of networking with like-minded professionals. https://www.ogdenspeakingacademy.com/ Still don't understand? You learn how to not only become a speaker, but build a brand and the most important thing of all, network with some of the finest people who [...]
If you have never run a Ragnar relay, then you really should consider it if you like a challenge. Two days before the race begins, a friend of mine named George Prate asked me to be part of the relay (12 people 200ish miles). I had never heard of it and people train for months to prepare for the race. Two vans of 6 people each and each person completes 3 legs throughout a 30+ hour process. Van 2 (my van) consisted of Tyson (Van Leader), his son Hunter (speed demon), Allan (Ironman), BJ (Laid Back), George (Hustler) and myself. Little [...]
After attending this event this week, I had to share some of the great wisdom that Captain Scott Kelly and Captain Florent Groberg bestowed upon the world of bankers. These two gentleman represent what is great about America and what it should embody. Being former Military myself, I can understand their sacrifices, but the extreme at which their stories took place, are far beyond some people's comprehension. I highly advise reading their stories and being familiar with them. They are continuing to do service to this nation through speaking. Here are some quotes starting with Captain Kelly: "The Sky is not [...]
Let's be honest, this isn't the extensive list of becoming a resilient leader. However, these three items below will be extremely helpful wh Let's be honest, this isn't the extensive list of becoming a resilient leader. However, these three items below will be extremely helpful when it comes to bouncing back as a leader in today's world. In my quest to be short, but tall in value blogger -- let's get to it. 1.Reflection and Processing Emotions - Everyone, I mean everyone doesn't seem to give this section a lot of time after a traumatic action happens to us. Maybe you [...]