Finding Your Value

Personal Value
For a teenager getting their first job, their value is easy to peg--less than minimum wage.  First jobs are paid internships, platforms to help develop work skills, habits, limited connections and a nascent resume. For the rest of the world with work experience, developed skills and training, value is often a difficult target. I retired from the Air Force over two years ago with what I thought were a large number of skills that Uncle Sam had helped me develop, but when it came time to find a job, I was unclear exactly where to apply those skills, and what my value was.  I was a trained pilot, who had held executive-level positions for many years.  I had managed multi-billion-dollar programs effectively.  As I stepped out in the world, however,…
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Freedom, History, Holiday
  In the drafts of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote the words “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.  During the years leading up to the American Revolution, thinkers on both sides of the Atlantic considered the meaning of life, liberty, and property, but Jefferson and the drafters of the Declaration preferred “pursuit of happiness”. They understood marketing to the masses. These words were relatively new to so many people, conceptual at best, yet they caused an inner stir in the hearts of so many. Too many throw out the founding documents and critical thinking of the 18th Century with 21st Century perspective and historical ignorance. Many find it ironic that Thomas Jefferson and so many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence wrote words about freedom when they themselves ‘owned’…
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Memorial Day–Reverence to Every Name, Every Face

Not by design, but fittingly I just finished a book about the 45th Infantry Division during World War II, titled “Liberator”. Formed around a group of National Guard Regiments from the west, the 45th Thunderbirds stormed ashore on the beaches of Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, and finally the southern coast of France. Their losses were staggering, the suffering of its men unimaginable, their courage against terrible odds, weather, sickness, and the stress of battle is enough alone to celebrate their lives each Memorial Day. The book focused specifically on a young man named Felix Sparks who joined the Army in the late Thirties to escape poverty and starvation. He became a company commander towards the end of the Sicily campaign under General Patton. He led his company in Salerno, was injured, and went AWOL from…
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Easter—Eternal Hope Amidst Even The Darkest Despair

Easter, Friendship, Leadership, Personal Value, Spring
On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where they had lain Jesus’ body, hoping to care for the body and pay her final respects to Jesus of Nazareth, her now slain leader, spiritual teacher, and friend. She, along with so many of Jesus’ disciples were distraught at his crucifixion. She was unable to deal with the death of the most important person in her life—the person who offered her so much hope—and I’m sure could not understand how someone so good, teaching a message so inspiring could be gone so quickly. Finding the tomb empty, she ran in haste to let the disciples know that His body was missing, causing a few of them to…
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True Leadership–Selfless Service

We often drone through life with weeks passing us by without recognition, counting the Mondays until a big holiday, or a long-awaited vacation. We are incrementally effected by little things, often without notice. Then, on occasion, we live through an experience that drives to our core, leaving an indelible mark on us forever. The little events are often difficult to gauge in how they affect us, but those significant emotional events are easy to remember, to analyze, and apply to our lives. One of those events occurred to me during the last week of September of 2010 in Afghanistan, and it forever made me appreciate and recognize selfless service, the truest test of a real leader. The embodiment of that service came in the form of a young man named…
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