Today's post marks the beginning of what I hope will be a long exchange of thoughts, ideas, and experiences leading to positive change in the world. Perhaps a Quixotic ideal, but definitely worth the shot.
If you join this dialogue, you’ll see that I have some views, both long-held and recently discovered, that mean a great deal to me. Views that I believe are important in order to affect a healthy debate that may lead to understanding.
What you won't get from me are my thoughts on things of which I know little to nothing: battlefield courage, distributed lethality, military uniform preferences, or tattoos. However, what you will get are my unfiltered, unapologetic observations of what it means to care about others more than myself, and my journey of self-reflection and discovery in the quest of creating better teams and better environments.
My book, Honor Held Dear, was born out of my need to continue changing mindsets and culture, as I'd like to think I did on active duty naval service. My self-imposed ground rules for writing this book were simple: acknowledging my role in my failures, as well as refraining from axe grinding, taking credit for things I didn't do, disparaging others, and denigrating the efforts of my predecessors. In my mind, that last rule is one of the most basic tenets of leadership: don't talk poorly about those who came before you.
In fact, one of the observations made to me regarding my book was that I made following my own path look too easy; there were no consequences to my decisions to stand by my code. While that observation is certainly valid, it couldn't be further from the truth. I choose not to discuss those consequences because doing so, even though I still feel I was right in every case, would have only presented my side of the story, and also because revealing the details publicly would have brought those people some embarrassment.
Provided this isn't my first and only blog entry, there'll be plenty of time to talk about the deeper subjects. For now I'd like to offer a glimpse into my childhood and that cross-roads town community that shaped my perspective. (Search Google Earth for Rawlinsville, Pennsylvania if you're curious.)
From Honor Held Dear: "I gathered myself up out of the water and bent over at the waist, bracing my hands on my knees and wondering what in the heck had just happened. It wasn’t even 6:00 a.m., I had been out of bed for less than an hour, had already lost one of my front teeth, come seconds away from being mauled by a desperate, pissed-off raccoon, and escaped being shot by my brother by a matter of inches. My clothes were soaked from the icy cold water and we still had more than a hundred muskrat traps to check. Quite a morning for a fifth grader, I’d say. Eddie was safe, dry, and completely oblivious to the danger we’d been in. And Mom and Dad were probably sound asleep back home. As we rode our bikes from the woods to the pasture where our muskrat traps were set, I once again felt the sting of cold air on what remained of my broken tooth. I passed the time riding wondering what Mom would say when she saw that one of perfectly straight front teeth was two-thirds gone."
Thanks for taking a look.