Deliberate Development

Professional Development for the Military Leader


Career Success

Daily Deliberation: 16 January 2019

We typically instigate all sorts of trouble that could be left alone. When we really listen to others speak to us harshly, it is often them venting about a situation and not us as individuals. However, when we fire back at them they interpret that as the first shot. Basically, be sure your being fired at before returning fire.


Daily Deliberation: 14 January 2019

When I see this I first wonder if those who worked with Einstein would agree. Then I think about whether or not I am treating everyone in the same way. More importantly, how am I treating others? Am I adding value to their lives or subtracting it?

Daily Deliberation: 12 January 2019

I hate when I do this. I do my best to surround myself with smart and interesting people and then I look for ways to enter the conversation instead of just going along with the ride.

2019: The Year of the Naysayer

Haters, folks with forever condescending remarks, you know… the naysayers. You’ve seen em’, you’ve met em’, you may even be one of these folks. Recently, I had a pretty serious conversation with someone who reached out for assistance. And it got me thinking of past years. Dangerous I know.

” You can’t do that”, “That’s not possible”, “This job isn’t good for you”, “You don’t deserve this, you’re too junior”, “You’re not in touch, you’re too old”, “You don’t have enough experience”, “No”, “It won’t work”, ‘Step in line”, “Shut up and color”, “It’s never been done”, “It hasn’t worked yet, what makes you think you can fix it”, “You don’t have what it takes”, “You’re not strong enough”, “Sorry, you can’t”, “You won’t make a difference”, “No one cares that much” and my favorite: “You don’t have what it takes, you can’t do it”.

During my time as an adult, I’ve heard all of these. To others, to me and to those that I support. I have just this small piece of advice to give, and it’s not from me, but from someone I trust.

Make a game plan. Set goals. Always try, even if the odds are not in your favor if you believe in it. Achieve goals and be true to yourself. What has worked for others may not work for you. And expectations levied upon you sometimes comes from the experience others have… experienced. However, advice from a naysayer is limited from their own perspective and successes, and it’s just that, advice. Make your own success. Set a new bar. Create new standards and use negativity as fuel for achieving your vision. Don’t burn bridges. Network. Seek assistance from everyone. Share everything you know. Take calculated risks! Innovation doesn’t come from the repeat of scenarios. You have to introduce new ideas and different angles to see a different picture. Believe in yourself.

But you have to have goals. So make a plan. And be true to yourself no matter what. Success is a mindset, start thinking you’re a winner and the end result will surprise you. The Naysayers won’t know what hit em’. Good luck!

Daily Deliberation: 4 January 2019

I see this all the time. People are not happy with the opportunities they are given or upset about something else that is “holding them back.” However, when I ask them where they are going, they don’t have a real direction. They just know they want to be successful. If we are not sure where our finish line is, we can’t ever expect to cross it. Define your path and then seek the opportunities that add to your mission.

Daily Deliberation: 3 January 2019

This has been my method of learning something new for as long as I can remember. I wonder if I learned this from studying Bruce Lee or somewhere else, but it is a very effective model. When learning something new, look at what is working and what will work for you. Get rid of the extra steps and then find a way to make it your own. You will create routines and systems that work for you.

Daily Deliberation: 2 January 2019

I have told my children about the importance of learning since day one. There is nothing more important in life than to learn how to learn. You can’t better your relationships with others, help others, make dinner, or do anything without learning. We all are so eager to learn until we think we have it all figured out. We never have it all figured out…keep learning!

New Year, New Perspective

This time of year brings forth a lot of discussion about change. We see the start of a new year as a reason to set new goals and right some of the wrongs from the previous year. Although, I am not much of a New Year’s Resolution type of person, I do appreciate taking the time to reflect on the previous year and trying to learn from my experiences. The big lesson I learned this year is about change and seeing some of the things coming down the line in the Air Force, it might be apropos for all of us.

Change happens. No matter what you do or where you live, things change. Even if we try very hard to stop it, the world still evolves. New technology and new thinking makes things obsolete and often it is for the better. I remember my first deployment to Iraq in 2003 and how I was restricted to short phone calls and emails with my loved ones. Then in 2008, we could Skype on our days off. My last deployment, I was able to FaceTime with my family from anywhere on the base. This is an example of how change is good. There weren’t too many people complaining about these changes.

In fact, most changes are not bad. The problem is in the roll out of the changes. For those who PCS often, it is often welcomed change. However, if you sold it to your family as if you were forced to go and this new place is terrible, the whole family will go to this new place wearing negative lenses. They will only be able to see the negative things and completely ignore everything else. For those leading change, the first thing is to create a positive lens for others.

When changes cross the path, we see how so many start the negative talk immediately. They take to social media and trumpet their dislike and look for others who feel the same way. We spread rumors and our fantasies about what “could” happen. We create and buy-in to false narratives. When I was in Crew Chief tech school, we were conditioned in a similar way. We were led to believe that if we weren’t going to the flightline, it was the end. The truth is, no one cared who we were. We were chosen for the hangar or the line based on manning numbers and the needs of the unit. Both environments had important missions and created amazing Crew Chiefs. However, so many students left the school with a negative lens. Ironically, if you asked the same Crew Chiefs to switch places 2 years later, they would refuse.

To create a positive lens, we first have to gain trust as a leader. A perfect example of this is CMSAF Wright. We trust and respect him and would follow him to the ends of the Earth. Every change he pushes is instantly seen through a positive lens by the majority of Airmen, because we trust him. His predecessor was not trusted and his ideas met constant scrutiny. Why? Main reason was communication. Chief Wright is accessible and approachable. He communicates his ideas and is willing to discuss. I can’t remember the exact post on his Facebook page, but there was something going on in our world and Airmen were stressed out. He responded to comments on his personal page into the middle of the night. He is visible, interested and involved. He earned our trust first and now his changes are all seen differently. That is why the advice given to new leaders is to not make changes right away. It should actually be, “Don’t make changes until you earned your team’s trust.”

Things are going to change. Often times, we are the leaders who are charged with making the change happen. It is up to us to put in the work now to earn the trust of our team so when the time comes, we are able to push the change through the positive lenses we have created.

Daily Deliberation: 29 December 2018

I am so fortunate to have had my father in my life. He told me from an early age that there will always be someone better than me. On the surface this sounds very cruel; however, in reality it means that if I want to get into the top tier, I have to earn my way. Not only do I have to earn my way there, I have to ensure I am earning my keep in that role. We constantly have to learn and push ourselves. The moment we stop is the moment another takes our place.

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