Leadership

I thought I knew what leadership was. I’ve even thought I exhibited it occasionally. I know the definition of it. I’ve seen both great examples of it and poor examples of it during my time in the army.

Tonight I saw the finest example of it in my life. I watched from the back of the funeral home as my friend walked his two children up to the casket to see their mom resting peacefully. He explained that even though she looked like she was only sleeping that she was gone. I watched him do all this and keep his composure. He held it together for his children as I cried from the back of the room wandering if I could ever be that strong for people I love.

I know that he is hurting more than the rest of us. I know his children may not fully understand. I know that he has cried and will cry again when he’s ready.

But I watched him be a leader. Not only in this small window of time, but ever since the diagnosis. He stood by his wife through thick and thin. He loves his boys and would do anything for them. I witnessed him be a leader and a father in a situation where I feel that I would most likely run away. I know he will continue to lead his two boys as a great father and that there will be joy and happiness in future days. I know he will keep going.

This is my new definition of leadership. When the whole world has come crumbling down on you, when you have nothing left to give, when every moment is full of pain and sadness, you drive on for those you love. One step at a time, one breath at a time, one moment at a time. You keep going because of love. Not because you want to, or because you have more to give, you keep going no matter how empty you are because of love.

My heart aches with Jeff in this difficult time. No words can replace your loss.

But in this dark time, you have truly taught me something my friend. You have taught me how to be a leader. May I never forget it.

-Derek

Intentional Living

It’s January 1st. Time for silly new years resolutions posts. Ha. I’m not gonna do that. But I will talk about a concept I feel I’ve started to understand in 2015.

Intentional living.

I define it as follows: Living life with a purpose and goals. Making things happen in your life, instead of waiting for or reacting to things happening to you.

You can sit back and be reactionary in your life and complain about the circumstances and situations that come your way, or you can work hard, be intentional and do your best to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals. Basically not having a victim or entitlement mentality. Life is hard, the economy sucks, etc. I get it. I really do. But really you only have two choices. Roll over and die (slowly) or take it head on. No one owes you anything. Not the government, not your family, not your job, and not your friends. Anything you get from any of those is just a blessing. You’re not guaranteed anything and you shouldn’t expect anything. Man that sounds depressing right?

However, in 2015, I feel that I’ve started to learn a little bit about this. Some of the intentional things I’ve been able to achieve this last year are as follows.

I’ve really gotten a handle on budgeting and being intentional with my money. We’ve paid off over 32k of debt and are almost debt free.
I completed my Masters degree.
I obtained my CCNA certification.
I obtained a VMware certification.
I traveled internationally for my company and had many successful business trips.
I dropped 23 lbs and kept if off for six months.

Am I perfect? No. Do I have it all together? Not quite yet. But I plan to take this mindset and keep going further in 2016. I wrote a list of over 15 specific goals a few weeks ago for 2016. They are specific and measurable. I’ve created a spreadsheet to track them. Will I achieve all of them? I don’t know. But I’m going to give it a shot. They are at least a road map of goals to shoot for during the year. Better than not having a plan.

Some of the things on my list include:

Continuing to improve my diet and adding exercise into my regular routine. (7 days straight so far!)
Reading at least 5 self-improvement books.
Obtaining one or two certifications this year.
Getting a raise at work.

Those are just a few of my goals for 2016. I also have goals that are 2 -5 years out as well as family and career goals to hit by age 40. I’d rather have a plan and shoot for my goals than just see what happens. Will things happen that are out of my control? Sure. Will my plans and goals change and adapt to the circumstances that life brings my way? Absolutely.

So think about how you can be intentional with your life this year instead of just reacting to things. Write down your goals and go after them hardcore! The only thing stopping you is the person in the mirror.

Hit me up if you have any questions regarding this idea of intentional living. I’d be glad to talk more about it with you.

I hope you have a great year in 2016 and may your year be intentional!

Later,
Derek