Deliberate Development

Professional Development for the Military Leader

Daily Deliberation: 12 February 2019

I think it is a shame that we idolize celebrities as much as we do. Not because they are necessarily bad people, but because we admire their lifestyle and luxuries they possess. Again, it is not bad to admire success; however, we want what they have without doing the work they did to get there. All the lessons they learned to be successful and the appreciation they gained for their amassed wealth is because of what they experienced during the climb.


Want to Succeed: Solve Problems

Not too long ago my daughter, who loves art, asked me about what she could do when she grew up. She wants to do something artistic, but is realistic enough to know she can’t draw pictures all day aimlessly. My advice was simple: you really can do things you’re passionate about as long as you solve someone’s problem. Looking back, this is the best advice I was ever offered.

Think about the times your boss appreciated you the most or when you appreciated a teammate the most. It was when a problem was solved. Most people in the shop will go down the endless lists of things to do for the day and check off the next task. However, if that list is not obvious, they await guidance. Although, every supervisor on the face of this planet appreciates those who get things done; there is an innate love for those who solve problems.

Let me explain with a story. Everyday, I would come to work, get acquainted with what was going on and then share the daily priorities with my team. Most of the time, I arrived earlier than them so I could create the plan and they wouldn’t be wasting their days waiting for me. One day multiple fires popped up all over the place and I was way behind on the “planning phase”. I was grabbing random people and orchestrating how they could put out each fire by assigning tasks. As I walked up to the next fire on the list, there was a young Senior Airman who was already engaged in what needed to be done. AND his plan was much better than my half-cocked idea. I sat down with him for a minute to hear out his process and plan and he said, “I saw there was a problem and fixed what I could.” He solved a problem.

This seems so obvious, but so few solve the problems we see. We wait to take the actions another directs us to take. Once this made sense to me, I started to share this with others. Most people just need to know they are “allowed” to solve the problems they encounter. How often do you go through the daily routine with someone on your team and see issues they face? They might not have a tool they need or maybe they are tracking the same information in multiple locations. When asked about this problem, they have grown numb to it, didn’t think they could do anything about it, or didn’t want to complain. My advice was always the same: solve the problems you face and if you are not able to, ask for help.

Daily Deliberation: 10 February 2019

I love this thought. We can’t control most of what happens to us, but we have complete control over how we react to it. When someone throws a branch in our way, we choose what happens next. Are we going to stumble over it, jump over it, move it for those coming behind or go around? You have the power to choose.

Daily Deliberation: 9 February 2019

The hardest thing to do sometimes is realize that we are not equipped to help everyone. Sometimes our personalities clash, sometimes we have mutual histories that are difficult to overcome. It is in these moments that we need to find someone else who can add value to them and mentor them. We should never write anyone off; rather, seek others they can connect with.

Daily Deliberation: 8 February 2019

I was once doing some computer work in a common area of my unit. There was a group of individuals who were telling war stories about all of the tough tasks they had done in the past. Later when asked to go out to a job, they had a million excuses. People talk about the past to feel better about not performing in the present. Appreciate each feather you have in your cap and remember you have to work to earn more.

Daily Deliberation: 7 February 2019

We all tend to think that because we are in an organization or on a certain team, that we are entitled to certain things. The truth is, we are not. We made this team due to our abilities and potential. It is like getting hired for a job because of what we did in our past and then not doing anything new. We can’t rest on our laurels. Seek new challenges and enjoy new successes.

Daily Deliberation: 6 February 2019

I have been fascinated with this ripple notion ever since I heard Bruce Lee talk about dropping a stone in the water. The visual is one that enables to see how our actions impact others. If we are too aggressive, we create waves that can destroy another. However, when we are deliberate in how we impact others, the ripple can gently nudge another to grow. Eventually, our ripple will inspire another to drop their stone in the water. Will their stone be aggressive or growth-minded based on our impact?

Daily Deliberation: 5 February 2019

In our society, we care more about the latest “thing” than we do about making the world around us better. What if our focus was on serving others with our resources: money, time or wisdom? Instead of looking for more things to fill our treasure chest, look to see how we can grow those around us by spending some extra time to mentor. Investing in others has provided more life satisfaction than any “thing” I have ever acquired.

Daily Deliberation: 4 February 2019


Think about all of the times you have failed. I know all of my failures have taught me two things. First of all, everything is going to be ok as I have survived each failure. Secondly, I have learned from my failures what not to do next time. Some failures have been bigger than others, but each scar of failure is a reminder of a career and life where I took chances and grew.

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