PayPal: Our People Are Unstoppable

             unstoppablepay

Recently, I had the great opportunity to be the Keynote Speaker at PayPal’s You Are Unstoppable Leadership Conference in Omaha, NE. The conference focused on the Unstoppable potential of the men and women of PayPal. It was a great honor to speak to over 350 PayPal Leaders at the leadership conference. However, it was an even greater honor to have the conference named after the title of my book “You Are Unstoppable”. There were several leadership lessons that came out of the conference.

First, when Vice President of PayPal Global Operations Linda Dugan and her leadership team interviewed me for the Keynote speaker opportunity at their Leadership Event, I asked what they wanted to accomplish and how could I help make their event a success. During the interview, Linda and her team set some definitive goals and expectations that they wanted to accomplish for the conference. When I left the meeting, I clearly understood what they wanted to accomplish and what they expected from me.

  • Take time to set high standards and high expectations: Make sure that you clear up all uncertainty when you are setting goals and expectations. Linda and her team clearly defined their outcomes and their vision of a successful conference. They took the time to envision the vision before they started and developed a clear-cut strategy to accomplish their vision. Through their single-minded focus and purpose for the conference, they set the path for a successful endeavor. Build a team that understands the vision and can accomplish it.
  • Take time to commit yourself to making an impact: Linda and her leadership team authentically cared about and believed in the people working at PayPal. They took the time and thought necessary to create a conference that made an impact on their people. Extraordinary results happen; when you take the time to give the very best, you have to make an impact.
  • Be an engaged leader and understand your people and your organization: Leadership is everyone’s business. Know your people and your organization well enough to identify leadership gaps and challenges.

 Success demands singleness of purpose.” — Vince Lombardi

             Second, Linda and her leadership team clearly understood that effective leadership begins at the top and permeates throughout the organization at all levels. This is a crucial factor in assuring that leadership is an organization-wide capability. Leaders at every level in an organization must accept the responsibility to lead, take ownership of their part of the mission, and develop their people. The impact of successful leadership cascades across all departments in an organization and can affect the morale of each person. Leaders are linked to organizational culture and organizational effectiveness. Leaders who develop their people guarantee organizational success.

  • Leadership development is critical to organizational success: Today, organizational leadership is a necessity. Every person in an organization needs to be able to lead through complexity and ambiguity. Ensure your people understand that leadership development is not an option it is a business necessity. People-focused leadership involves setting and clarifying organizational and developmental leadership expectations. Letting your people know what you and the organization expects of them in the area of growth and development is important. Your people need to own their leadership development and understand their importance in the organization and how you plan to invest in them.
  • Purposeful development is the key to continuous growth: Employee Growth and development are not a one-time event they are continuous and deliberate. Therefore, it is an organizational imperative you invest in developing your people systematically and persistently. Developing leaders in a deliberate process guarantees you will produce the requisite leadership for the future. Take the time to invest in your organization and build your future leaders
  • Your people are not just employees; they are valuable assets to the growth of your organization: People enjoy coming to work with a boss who inspires them, develops them daily, and makes them feel a part of the team. With the globalization of the world economies, the rate and pace of change, new emerging technologies, and the chaotic nature of the world today, organizations are reliant on knowledge-enabled and globally connected employees to remain competitive. Organizations need knowledge-enabled leaders and highly competent employees.
  • Create a learning environment in which everyone can capitalize on their talents and develop their leadership: Encourage people to expand their horizons to continuously grow, continuously develop, and continuously reinvent themselves. By growing and developing your people, you are building a leadership bench for your team and your organization. This is an organizational imperative and a necessity. These are the principles of continuous development, continuous coaching, and continuously encouraging your people.

“Today, it is no longer enough for leaders or organizations to say, ‘People are our greatest asset.’ They need to back it up through a clearly articulated philosophy and by investing in talent development, talent retention, and succession planning.” Thomas Narofsky

             Third and final observation, Linda and her leadership team established a level of trust, integrity, and a culture of respect in the organization. Trust is a vital component of leadership success and is the very heart of every leadership relationship. Trust is a relationship established between you and a follower. Trust is a vital component of a leader’s success and is the very heart of a leader-follower relationship. A trustworthy leader builds a culture of integrity and respect and maintains trust with others. They interact with people unambiguously and respectfully. The relationship of the leader and the subordinate is a team relationship built on trust, respect, and integrity.

  • An authentic leader is a role model for their people: Linda and her team took the time to make an impact on their organization and their people. Leaders must work to keep their people motivated if they plan to keep their talent. A leader who is genuine and authentic is trustworthy. Organizational leaders know talented employees stay with companies that inspire and motivate them. People want to feel a part of something that is important and will make a difference.
  • Seek to inspire trust and a higher sense of purpose: Linda and her team sought to inspire by giving their people an opportunity to grow and develop. Inspirational leadership empowers and unleashes people’s creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Trust is essential to leadership. No one wants to follow an untrustworthy leader. Trust means you are true to your word and you are an authentic leader.
  • Promote positive teamwork: Positive teamwork supports the organization’s goals and objectives and fosters behavior directed toward the achievement of theses ends. Teamwork that supports hard work, loyalty, quality consciousness, or concern for customer satisfaction are examples of positive norms. This information will communicate trust, develop responsibility, and it will reinforce the importance of growth and development to the organization.

 “Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.” Orrin Woodward

In the end, I think I learned more from my time with this great organization, their great leaders, and most of all from their unstoppable people. It leaves no room for doubt as to why this organization was selected as one of the best places to work in Omaha in 2014.

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Leadership Thought – Integrity and Authenticity

           Stamp of Authenticity

One of the first pieces of advice I received from my fellow Chief Master Sergeants after I was selected for promotion to Chief Master Sergeant was —

“Remember as Chief Master Sergeant and a Senior Enlisted Leader you have a target on your back and you must never ever forget that you are always on stage. How you live your life and how you lead will be under the critical eye of your people. Always, Always, Always keep your integrity intact. Integrity means living by your word, keeping your promises, and over-delivering in everything you do. You must lead by example and the standard each day.”

This was great advice and a good reminder that I must never forget that I am always on stage as a leader and my team and organization was looking at me to set the example as a leader. In AFI 36-2618, the Air Force set high standards and expectations for all leaders. Below are key leader and leadership expectations:

  • Clearly meet, and strive to exceed, the standards and expectations levied upon all junior enlisted Airmen and NCOs. Epitomize excellence, professionalism, pride, and competence, serving as a role model for all Airmen to emulate.
  • Demonstrate, inspire, and develop in others an internalized understanding of Air Force Core Values and The Airman’s Creed.
  • Epitomize the finest qualities of a military leader. Provide highly effective leadership. A SNCO’s primary purpose is mission accomplishment.
  • Lead and manage teams while maintaining the highest level of readiness to ensure mission success.
  • As key mentors, they must deliberately develop subordinates into enlisted leaders of the future.

As a senior leader, I was accountable and expected to lead by example, set the standard, and then live it daily. This was a 24 hour 7 days a week and 365 days a year leadership responsibility. It required 100% of my effort; nothing less would do.

As a way to mitigate the risk of not living up the Air Force Standard and setting the wrong example for my team and organization I aligned my core values with the Air Force Core values and high leadership standards for myself and my teams. By demanding  excellence in my life and leadership I was always striving to be better that the standard.

You cannot survive if you lack integrity or wholeness. A lack of integrity will cause a tension or conflict in your life until you realign yourself to your purpose, values, and beliefs. Authentic people model and maintain their values and act in a way that is both honest and congruent with their beliefs and values.

Integrity is key and essential in military operations and the safe operation of aircraft, ships, and submarines. The integrity or the trustworthiness of a jet fuselage, a ship, or submarine’s hull is crucial to safe operations and the survival of the crew. Integrity in your life means that you intend to live an authentic and true life. Authenticity means a person is accountable and responsible for their actions, words, and decisions.

This is critical for you to understand as a leader—your leadership is always under scrutiny by your people. People are looking to see if your words and actions are congruent. They look to see how you show up at work each day. They look to see how you live your life away from work. They are looking to see if you are authentic.

The questions you need to ask yourself are:

  • How will I be perceived when I walk through the office door?
  • Am I the same person at work and at home or am I living two different lives?
  • Do my people see me as authentic or fake?
  • Am I leading with my values each day?

Bottom line: You must never forget that to be a genuine leader you must live it 24/7. You must take ownership of your life and leadership.

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Leadership Thought — Attitude is a Choice

On Feb 18, 2009, CMSgt Todd Small and I traveled Thule, Greenland to see and talk to our Airman stationed at Thule Air Base. Thule AB is 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and approximately 550 miles east of the North Magnetic Pole and is locked in by ice nine months out of the year.

Why did we go in the dead of winter? The 821st Airmen operated nine months out of the year in extreme cold, little to no sunlight from November to January, and during the winter, they experience storms that are a deadly combination of wind, snow, and sub-zero temperatures. In order to let them know we cared and to experience how our Airmen lived throughout their assignment we needed to experience the winter.

As a leader, you need to go where your people live and see how they operate on a day-to-day basis. By coming during the cold and dark winter, we showed, by our actions, that we cared about them enough to experience what they experience. Additionally, arriving in the wintertime increased the trust and credibility factor for our visit.

When we arrived at Thule AB, it was -35, the air was piercingly cold, and it penetrated right through your clothing. As we stepped off the plane, the first breathe burned nose and lungs. It was COLD! After a few hours of rest and a quick breakfast we headed out see the Airmen at their work centers.

At Thule the work centers are not clustered together they are spread out all over the icy landmass which required us to travel along frozen and iced over roads to see every Airmen. Spread out along the route, or safety reasons, are emergency storm shelters that provide a safe haven during a sudden winter storm.

Chief Small and I visited every work center at Thule, AB, and presented our coins to the Thule Top Performers. Each work center we visited we were met by upbeat and positive Airmen. This work center positivity was at each work center throughout the day. It was one of the highlights of our trip and I needed to find out the secret to their positive outlook on life.

Before we left Thule, AB, we had an opportunity to hold a Leadership Call to pass on information and answer any questions the Airmen had for us. During the Leadership Call, I finally asked what the secret ingredient was to why everyone was positive and optimistic throughout the day. A young Airman stood up and answered the question.

“It is by choice. We choose to be positive and optimistic while we are here. When we arrive and attend our “Welcome to Thule AB briefing”, we are briefed on Thule Survival skills. How to survive driving in a winter storms, how to prevent frostbite, and how to live in 24-hour darkness. Then we have a brief on resiliency and remaining positive during your assignment. It is all a matter of outlook and choice. I can choose to be miserable and hate the assignment or I can choose to look at the positive aspects of the assignment and get to know new people and have new opportunities. So I choose to be positive and optimistic.”

Driving it home

            Your leadership attitude is your choice. Attitude is your state of mind toward others or situations. It is an outward expression of how you are feeling or reacting inside Attitude influences the team and organizational culture and reflects in their productivity, innovation, and collaboration. The amazing thing about a leadership attitude is that you have the ability to control and manage your attitude.

Emotions, moods, and leadership attitude are key reasons why I think emotional intelligence is an important leadership principle. Each leader is susceptible to his or her emotional state and moods at work. Understanding how to manage the emotions and moods can make you a better leader.

According to Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management are vital assets for a leader. An emotionally intelligent leader is aware of how their attitude affects others.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand that it is not what happens to you that determine your attitude, but how you decide to respond. To have a great attitude in leadership, you must be constantly aware of the things that are influencing you and then you need to make a choice on how to react Attitude is your choice.

Emotional intelligence is a key part of your attitude. Emotional intelligence helps you keep your mind focused by keeping your emotional state in check. Stress, emotions, and moods are key reasons why emotional intelligence is part of a disciplined mind. You are susceptible to your emotional state and moods in life. Understanding how to manage your emotions and moods can make you a better person.

One of your first choices as a leader is to establish and maintain a positive attitude. A positive attitude is a powerful leadership mindset and leadership tool. The true power of a positive attitude is more than positive thinking it is a way of life. It is a continuous state of mind and leadership focus.

It is a mindset that no matter what leadership challenges you face, the good, and the bad, you keep your life and in effect, your leadership attitude, focused on the positive aspects of life and a positive belief in yourself and your leadership abilities. You need to believe that life is about positive opportunities and possibilities and be optimistic about who and what you can become.

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Leadership Thought — Character and Competence

In 2004, I assumed the Command Chief position at Altus Air Force Base. The Command Chief is a senior leader position and responsible for advising the commander and staff on mission effectiveness, professional development, military readiness, training, utilization, health, morale, and welfare of the command’s enlisted. The Command Chief is to serve as a role model, lead by example, and to serve the commander and the enlisted force.

A key role for a Command Chief is to prepare and develop Airmen for their future leadership opportunities and roles. To fulfill this role I communicated quite frequently with all Airmen in the Wing and I took every opportunity to communicate to the emerging leaders at the Altus Air Force Base Airman’s leadership school.

The Airmen’s Leadership School (ALS) is the first level of professional military education and deliberate leadership development for emerging enlisted Airmen. It is a deliberate and disciplined development program focused on preparing effective front-line leaders/supervisors. The key focus learning areas of ALS are developing leadership skills and abilities, understanding effective communication and its role in leading others, and understanding your chosen career–the profession of arms. The Airmen that attend ALS are the future leaders of the Air Force.

My message to the emerging leaders focused on becoming and being a leader in the Air Force, the expectations of being a leader, and their role in their own development of their competence and character.

“As a leader you have an opportunity to make an impact on your organization and your people every day so the first step in being a great leader is to know yourself.

The journey to being and becoming a leader start with the journey to truly understand who you, what you are capable of accomplishing, and why you want to lead. You reap what your sow or you are what you grow and develop yourself to become.

Becoming a leader takes the time early in your career to grow and develop your understanding of your core values, core beliefs, and your worldview. Understanding how you make choices is a critical component of effective leadership. Your values and your beliefs motivate and drive you and can affect you leadership effectiveness

This is the first and most important step for an emerging leader. These three define who you are and will affect how you make life and leadership decisions. Self-awareness is hard work and requires a commitment to self-discovery, and take persistence, perseverance, and patience in order to lay the groundwork’s for your leadership.

The best investment you can ever make in your life and your leadership to invest in yourself, your talents, and your skills–your competence; and to understand your values, beliefs, and worldview—your character. Being a leader requires you understand that you need competence and character to lead.

General Norman Schwarzkopf when he addressed the Cadet Corps at West Point stated that: “To be a 21st-century leader, you must have two things: competence and character…To lead in the 21st Century, to take soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coastguardsmen into battle, you will be required to have both competence and character.”

Character and competence are the lifeblood of your leadership. They are the double-edged sword of your leadership. On one side is your competence—your skills, talents, abilities, and capabilities. On the other side is your character—your values, your beliefs, and your worldview.

In addition, running down the center of the sword is your Integrity that fuses your competence and character together. And resting at the point of the sword, at the point where your competence and character merge, is your leadership credibility. You must hone both side of the sword to be great leader. Your competence and character must be razor sharp to lead in the 21st Century and the uncertainty and chaos of today’s world.”

Character and competence are the lifeblood and the DNA of your Unstoppable Leadership. Competence and Character are leadership fundamentals and are intertwined with your life and leadership, just like the double helix of life’s DNA.

Character and Competence are the core principles of your leadership DNA. Competence and character; are two sides of the double helix. On one side of the helix is your competence, which represents your personal and professional qualities. On the other side of the helix is your character, which represents who you are, what you believe in and what you value.

The double helix is a life and leadership ladder. Each rung represents your skills, talents, abilities, capabilities, and your core values, beliefs, and worldview. Each rung is connected to the competence and character strands. The key to understanding your true self is to know who you are as a person first. Knowing your true self makes you more effective in your life.

  • What do you believe down deep inside your soul?
  • What do you value in life?
  • What motivates you to be the best person you can be?
  • What skills, talents, abilities, an capabilities do you possess?

The beginning of an unstoppable leadership begins with the knowledge that is up to you to create and live your unstoppable life.

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THE FIRST PRINCIPLES-Unlocking your Unstoppable Leadership—Chapter 6 Awareness (Excerpt)

Awareness

 Understanding and Embracing who you are. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. ~Nelson Mandela

 First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. ~Epictetus

BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT

            Leadership begins with you. Leadership is about you, the people you influence and a belief that you can make a difference and have an impact. Leadership starts with a condition of the heart – the desire and passion to make a difference before it moves to the brain to implement a plan to make a difference. It is an inside-out process and is shaped by your values, character, choices, opportunities, experiences, and your worldview.

Great leadership is about a positive attitude that creates a positive culture. In addition, great personal leadership is about having the energy, passion, integrity, trustworthiness, accessibility, and character authenticity to be the very best leader you can be. Practice self-awareness.

Before you can lead others you have to recognize your true self. Too many leaders refuse to discovery who they truly are before they begin to lead and struggle when adversity comes their way. Without personal clarity it is impossible to have professional clarity. You need to understand who you really are before you lead.

Becoming an Unstoppable Leader is a deliberate and disciplined process. Becoming an Unstoppable leader requires that you are well grounded in your character and your core values, beliefs, and worldview are integrated into your leadership. Nothing is more important to your success as an Unstoppable Leaders than your character.

 ASSIGNING MEANING

            Nosce Te Ipsum is Latin for Know Thyself. The saying is attributed to many Greek and Roman philosophers to include Socrates, Aristotle, Heraclitus and Cicero. This theme of understanding yourself is also a key principle many of today’s leadership authors point to as the beginning point for all leaders.

Self-awareness means you have clarity of your passions, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Knowing yourself improves your capability to be flexible and adaptive in different situations, allowing you to work with others during challenging and demanding problems more skillfully and diplomatically. It allows you to use the right capabilities at the right time and in the right situational context. Finally, knowing yourself likewise provides you more confidence in developing yourself for the future.

If you desire to lead and influence others, then you need to be cognizant of your actions, principles and beliefs and be aware of how they shape you and influence others. As human beings, we need to understand we are a complex network of values, beliefs, ideas, traits, capabilities, talents and life experiences. This complex network is our character DNA.

Your values shaped your purpose. Values are those core beliefs that you hold dear, live your life around and are unchanging. Your core values are shaped by your core belief system. Values are those things that you hold most dear in our lives: family, faith, freedom, human dignity, respect for others and integrity are just a few examples. These values and beliefs shape up your character and shape how we look at the world Personal values are aspects of life you think are important to live your life with, such as integrity, excellence or service. Together these values are the principles that you see your purpose through. Your values drive our behavior and shape our character.

Your worldview is the lens you look at the world through–your values, beliefs and purpose. It is your way of making sense of what is going on in the world and how you choose to cope and act in the world. Your worldview is unique to you. Your character is the outward expression of your purpose, values and worldview. Your character is your inner workings of beliefs, motives, values, desires, behaviors and principles that drive and shape your actions as a leader.

LEADERSHIP THOUGHT

            In 2004, I assumed the Command Chief position at Altus Air Force Base. The Command Chief is a senior leader position and responsible for advising the commander and staff on mission effectiveness, professional development, military readiness, training, utilization, health, morale, and welfare of the command’s enlisted. The Command Chief is to serve as a role model, lead by example, and to serve the commander and the enlisted force.

A key role for a Command Chief is to prepare and develop Airmen for their future leadership opportunities and roles. To fulfill this role I communicated quite frequently with all Airmen in the Wing and I took every opportunity to communicate to the emerging leaders at the Altus Air Force Base Airman’s leadership school.

The Airmen’s Leadership School (ALS) is the first level of professional military education and deliberate leadership development for emerging enlisted Airmen. It is a deliberate and disciplined development program focused on preparing effective front-line leaders/supervisors. The key focus learning areas of ALS are developing leadership skills and abilities, understanding effective communication and its role in leading others, and understanding your chosen career–the profession of arms. The Airmen that attend ALS are the future leaders of the Air Force.

My message to the emerging leaders focused on becoming and being a leader in the Air Force, the expectations of being a leader, and their role in their own development of their competence and character.

“As a leader you have an opportunity to make an impact on your organization and your people every day so the first step in being a great leader is to know yourself.

The journey to being and becoming a leader start with the journey to truly understand who you, what you are capable of accomplishing, and why you want to lead. You reap what your sow or you are what you grow and develop yourself to become.

Becoming a leader takes the time early in their career grow and develop their understanding of their core values, core beliefs, and their worldview. Understanding how you make choices is a critical component of effective leadership. Your values and your beliefs motivate and drive you and can affect you leadership effectiveness

This is the first and most important step for an emerging leader because these three define who you are and will affect how you make life and leadership decisions. Self-awareness is hard work and requires a commitment to self-discovery, and take persistence, perseverance, and patience in order to lay the groundwork’s for your leadership.

The best investment you can ever make in your life and your leadership to invest in yourself, your talents, and your skills–your competence; and to understand your values, beliefs, and worldview—your character. Being a leader requires you understand that you need competence and character to lead.

General Norman Schwarzkopf when he addressed the Cadet Corps at West Point stated that: “To be a 21st-century leader, you must have two things: competence and character…To lead in the 21st Century, to take soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coastguardsmen into battle, you will be required to have both competence and character.”

Character and competence are the lifeblood of your leadership. They are the double-edged sword of your leadership. On one side is your competence—your skills, talents, abilities, and capabilities. On the other side is your character—your values, your beliefs, and your worldview.

In addition, running down the center of the sword is your Integrity that fuses your competence and character together and resting at the point of the sword, at the point where your competence and character merge, is your leadership credibility. You must hone both side of the sword to be great leader. Your competence and character must be razor sharp to lead in the 21st Century and the uncertainty and chaos of today’s world.”

Character and competence are the lifeblood and the DNA of your Unstoppable Leadership. Competence and Character are leadership fundamentals and are intertwined with your life and leadership, just like the double helix of life’s DNA.

Character and Competence are the core principles of your leadership DNA. Competence and character; are two sides of the double helix. On one side of the helix is your competence, which represents your personal and professional qualities. On the other side of the helix is your character, which represents who you are, what you believe in and what you value.

The double helix is a life and leadership ladder with each rung representing your skills, talents, abilities, capabilities, and your core values, beliefs, and worldview. Each rung is connected to the competence and character strands. The key to understanding your true self is to know who you are as a person first. Knowing your true self makes you more effective in your life.

  • What do you believe down deep inside your soul?
  • What do you value in life?
  • What motivates you to be the best person you can be?
  • What skills, talents, abilities, an capabilities do you possess?

DRIVING IT HOME

            The beginning of an unstoppable leadership begins with the knowledge that is up to you to create and live your unstoppable life. This theme of understanding yourself is also a key principle many of today’s leadership authors point to as the beginning point for all leaders. Knowing yourself improves your capability to be flexible and adaptive in different situations, allowing you to work diplomatically and skillfully with others during challenging and demanding problems.

The key to understanding your true self is to know who you are as a person first. What do you believe down deep inside your soul? What do you value in life? What motivates you to be the best person you can be? Knowing your true self makes you more effective in your life.

To understand your true self you need to understand what your beliefs are. You behave according to what you believe, not what you do not believe. A core belief is what your conviction is regarding God, people, concepts, or the world. Your core beliefs are those indispensable elements to defining your life and living it authentically.             Your core beliefs are the center or core of what you believe about life, death, religion, morals, what is good, what is bad, what is right, and what is wrong. Your core beliefs allow you to weather every storm, trial, and tribulation.

Being centered in the Truth has become more and more difficult in our society because of relativism and the belief that there is no “right” and “wrong.” Core beliefs helps you see what is right and wrong in your life and helps you guide your thoughts and actions. Core beliefs emanate from your core or your soul. Without solid core beliefs, your personal way of life will be empty and you will be indecisive at every opportunity or challenge in life.

The choices you make in life defines who you are as a person. Your core beliefs define your worldview. Your core beliefs define your core values and shapes your life on a daily basis. Values are those core beliefs that you hold dear, live your life around, and are unchanging. Your core values are shaped by your core belief system.

Values are those things that you hold most dear in your life: family, faith, freedom, human dignity, respect for others, and integrity are just a few examples. These values and beliefs shape your character and shape how you see the world.

Personal values may be aspects of life you think are important to live your life with, such as integrity, excellence, or service. Together these values are the principles that you see your purpose through. Your values drive your behavior and shape your character. To understand your true self you need to understand what your beliefs are. You behave according to what you believe, not what you do not believe. A core belief is what your conviction is regarding God, people, concepts, or the world.

Your core beliefs are those indispensable elements to defining your life and living it authentically. Your core beliefs are the center or core of what you believe about life, death, religion, morals, what is good, what is bad, what is right, and what is wrong. Your core beliefs allow you to weather every storm, trial, and tribulation. Being centered in the Truth has become more and more difficult in our society because of relativism and the belief that there is no “right” and “wrong.”

Core beliefs helps you see what is right and wrong in your life and helps you guide your thoughts and actions. Core beliefs emanate from your core or your soul. Without solid core beliefs, your personal way of life will be empty and you will be indecisive at every opportunity or challenge in life.

The choices you make in life defines who you are as a person. Your core beliefs define your worldview. Your core beliefs define your core values and shapes your life on a daily basis. Values are those core beliefs that you hold dear, live your life around, and are unchanging. Your core values are shaped by your core belief system.

Values are those things that you hold most dear in your life: family, faith, freedom, human dignity, respect for others, and integrity are just a few examples. These values and beliefs shape your character and shape how you see the world. Discovering your true self is important if you want to live an unstoppable life. The most important undertaking of your life is not what you do, but whom you can and will become. You need to discover the authentic you. When you are living congruent to your purpose, beliefs, and values then you are living authentically.

APPLYING IT

            Self-Awareness and development is a lifetime process of recognizing, accepting, and developing a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, capabilities and shortfalls, and then working to grow and develop each area of your life. as needed. Self-awareness takes courage to shine the light on your weaknesses and unknowns and then having the discipline to work to continue on with your personal and professional development journey to build lifelong character and leadership.

Your Unstoppable leadership is about character authenticity, value congruency, and your ability to lead with the First Principles. An Unstoppable leader is a leader of character, a leader of values, and a leader of integrity. Using the eight disciplines of development in the Unstoppable Model. These areas of development help you grow and develop holistically and congruently. The eight areas are developed and grown through personal insight and personal mastery.

Personal

            The Personal Discipline is the C4 of your life. This area has been developing since you were born and never truly stops growing and developing. However, it can become stagnate if you stay in your comfort zone. This discipline is the most important to develop and grow because it is the foundation of your professional and leadership discipline areas. The Personal Discipline is You the Person. This discipline is focused on who you are—your purpose, values, character, and worldview. This discipline is also focused on how you communicate, show respect, extend dignity; build relationships, live with integrity and trust, and how resilient you are in your life.

Professional

            The Professional Discipline is about your career and professional life. It does not define you as a person but it is the area of your learned expertise. It is a vital part of your life as it helps you meet areas in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Model. The Professional Discipline is concerned with you, your career, and the skills needed to succeed. This discipline focuses on your experience, technical skills, management skills, talents, and aptitudes. This discipline also focuses on the necessary education, training, and development you need to keep you competent in your expertise.

Leadership

            The Leadership Discipline is about you as a leader and your leadership ability and capability. You must continue to develop this area of expertise as you grow your professional expertise. This discipline is concerned with both your self-leadership and your team and organizational leadership. This discipline focuses on your leadership skills, attitude, aptitude, leadership experience, and overall development. This discipline also focuses on your leadership opportunities, building alliances and partnerships, leadership authenticity, selfless service attitude, talent development, and culture creation.

Spiritual

            The Spiritual Discipline is about you as a spiritual person. This discipline is concerned with your faith, resiliency and your ability to believe in a higher purpose. This discipline focuses on you seeking and finding personal meaning and purpose for your life through soul-searching, prayer, and mediation. This discipline also focuses on strengthening your beliefs, principles, and values to sustain you as a person through self-awareness and self-discovery.

Emotional

            The Emotional Discipline is about you and your emotional intelligence. This discipline is concerned with your ability and understanding of how to manage your stress, emotions, and moods and will help you to be an effective person and leader. This discipline focuses on managing life’s challenges in a positive, optimistic way by demonstrating self-control, personal fortitude, and moral character. It is about harnessing the power of managing emotions.

Physical

            The Physical Discipline is about you and your health. This discipline is concerned with your physical wellness and wellbeing. This discipline focuses on improving your participation in regular physical activities, which improve cardiovascular strength and endurance, flexibility, and muscular strength. This discipline also focuses on your understanding of how your personal wellness and wellbeing effects your personal growth, development, and ability to function daily.

Mental

            The Mental Discipline is about your intellectual and mental health capacity. This discipline focuses on your intellectual growth, mental activities, and your creative and critical thinking. This discipline also focuses on healthy brain function as a major component of wellness and peak performance.

Social

            The Social Discipline is about your social awareness and social intelligence skills. This discipline focuses on the skills necessary to be accepted and happy socially. This discipline also focuses on developing and sustaining trustworthy, valued relationships and friendships.

LOOKING INTO THE MIRROR

            Time to look into the mirror and see how well you live up to the contents of this principle. Take few minutes and examine the areas of your life that are not congruent with this principle.

Look for evidence in your life that supports or contradicts your initial thoughts, assumptions, opinions, and beliefs of your leadership. Adjust your opinions as you reflect on your thoughts and when new information changes your opinion.

  • Learning to lead with your purpose and your core values ensures your life and leadership are congruent
  • Seek to understand yourself before you seek to understand others
  • Understand how you see the world and your leadership lens
  • Don’t settle for good enough, achieve your very best, achieve your greatest life. You are living out your true life when you do not compromise your true self.

 “To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”

Winston Churchill

 REFLECTION TIME

Give yourself some quiet time—30 minutes to start and reflect on who you truly are. Review the questions and select the answer that best fits how you assess your life at this moment.

Personal Self-Assessment

The life I lead is a full expression of my true self.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

I understand the value of character and competence.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

I develop my life and leadership daily.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

I develop my life in all eight areas of self-development.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

I know what my core values are.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

I know my core beliefs.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

I know and understand my worldview.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

I know how my values, beliefs, and worldview affect my life and leadership.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

I take time understand my leadership impact.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

I seek to be more self-aware each day.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Self-Assessment Analysis

10-39 Points – You need to increase your self-awareness and self-efficacy of your leadership. Take the time to do a deep dive on yourself to find out how to incorporate or improve this principle into your leadership. If you want your leadership to count then you need to master this principle.

40-70 Points – You have a good understanding of who you are and how this principle can affect your leadership. Which area of your leadership do you need to improve? What effects do you need to implement to produce better outcomes?

71-89 Points – You are well on your way to being unstoppable in your leadership. You are living the principle and making strides to keep it in the forefront of your life. Keep your eye on the prize and keep pressing forward.

90-100 Points – You are an unstoppable leader. However, do not stop now. You need to continue to grow, develop, and continually reinvent yourself.

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Introduction to My new book: The First Principles–Unlocking your Unstoppable Leadership

Welcome to Day one of your Unstoppable Leadership!!

The First Principles of Unstoppable Leadership is not a leadership development book as much as it is recognition of leadership qualities needed to lead using the Unstoppable Model. The 18 First Principles listed in the book can stand-alone as separate but powerful leadership fundamentals; However, when combined together as a whole, they make-up The First Principles of Unstoppable Leadership.

This book is my concerted effort to express the individualistic and holistic nature of the first principles of Unstoppable Leadership. This book is my third book in the L.I.F.E. Series of books and represents 30 years of discovering life and leadership.

My First book “F(X) Leadership Unleashed” is about how I used many of the principles to grow and develop myself, my teams, and an organization during my Air Force Career. My second Book “You are Unstoppable” was a further refinement of my self-development principles and development processes and the development of the Unstoppable Model.

“The 18 First Principles of Unstoppable Leadership” is a further refinement of what I believe about leadership. One thing I am assured of is this will not be my final book concerning personal growth and leadership development. One is never finished growing and developing in life or in their leadership.

The original intent of this book was to create a companion leadership development book to the “You Are Unstoppable” personal development book. However, as I began writing the book began to take shape on what I consider the fundamenta inconcussa of Unstoppable Leadership.

Fundamenta inconcussa is Latin for unshakable foundation. Aristotle called this his first principles or his self-evident truths. In order to lead your life and be unstoppable you need to know your first principles or your self-evident truths of Leadership. You need to know who you are, what you stand for, what you believe in, what your values are, and what you will stand firm for in your life and in your leadership.

Once you know your first principles, you create an unshakable leadership foundation and you can create your unshakeable leadership purpose. Your purpose is the Why of your leadership. Why you are driven in a certain direction, why you act in the way you do, why you believe what you believe, and why you lead. You must be committed to your own leadership path, stand firm in your convictions, and live each day on purpose.

Being an unstoppable leader is hard because you are holding yourself accountable and responsible to a standard. After serving 28 years in the Air Force living by a standard each day is still a difficult task to accomplish. It is a constant challenge each day to hold myself accountable to maintain the first principles of this book.

As you read this book, you will quickly notice that my Air Force and Joint Service influenced my thought and concepts on leadership. In the military, we start teaching leadership principles during basic training. The motto for the 3701st Basic Military Training Squadron, “Lead, Follow or Get the Hell out of the Way.” This inspiring motto has stuck with me my entire career and it has kept me focused as a leader.

Teaching young men and women about leadership, personal responsibility, and accountability is a military service imperative. The military expects each individual to learn and practice leadership throughout their career. Each Service uses a phased approach to developing leaders and teaching leadership. Below is the Air Force approach.

The Air Force deliberately develops its leaders through a phased approach to create leaders in a systematic, organized manner best configured to meet the needs of the Service. There are three levels of leadership in the force development model—tactical, operational, and strategic levels. A phased force development approach to leadership at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels provides the framework for focusing development of institutional competencies supported by occupational skill sets. Force development is the method the Air Force uses to grow experienced, inspirational leaders who have the necessary technical competencies and professional values, framed by a common culture, regardless of career specialty. (AFDD 1-1, 2008, p. 38)

It will be evident as you read the book that my military service influenced my thoughts and ideas about leadership and shaped what I feel are the first principles in this book. The subject and practice of leadership is something I have critically studied since I attended my first military leadership school in 1988. Today, I continue to study, develop, and grow my leadership skills through daily application and a regime of continuous learning and development. Some of my favorite authors are Jack Welch, Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard, James C. Hunter, Donald T. Phillips and John Maxwell. This book represents those concepts and ideas I have learned and practice.

One of the main things I learned while during my travels in military and more so since leaving the military is people are hungry for real and authentic leadership. The hunger for leaders they can believe in. This hunger for real and authentic leadership is pervasive in every part of the world. People want real leadership.

They are looking for leaders who lead with respect, integrity, and clarity. They are looking for leaders who take responsibility, hold themselves accountable, and take control of their lives. They are looking for leaders that serve to lead and do not have an attitude that “ITS ALL ABOUT ME!”

People are tired of false leaders. They are tired of lying leaders. They are tired of dishonest leaders. They want a leader they can trust. They want a leader who will help them grow and develop. They want a leader the can respect

Take the Leadership Risk

             Leadership is a risk. You need to embrace the risk that will create the leadership you want. You cannot live your life in fear or lead with fear. Risk is what you perceive it to be. You can perceive it to be uncertainty and ambiguity and or you can perceive it as an adventure waiting for you.

You need to take the risk and face your fears in order to become a fearless leader and lead with unstoppable leadership. In everything, you do, set your leadership on the foundation your character and competence to move forward. Take the risk to conquer your fears. Take the risk to lead in the great adventure called leadership. It is your leadership; take the risk and become an unstoppable leader.

This book is designed for you to think, mull, and reflect on the First Principles. The First Principles are a must to be an Unstoppable Leader. As you read each chapter reflect and consume each Principles in this book. Take the time to see how each applies to your life and how you can use them in your daily leadership.

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The Unstoppable-Centered Life

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.      

Viktor E. Frankl

ModelU

            Being Unstoppable is not about becoming a superhero or suddenly receiving superpowers. You are not suddenly indestructible. Living an Unstoppable-Centered Life means you have a choice to live your life each day to its fullest. It is about you taking charge of your life, your decisions, and your actions.

It is about choosing to live congruently and integrity with your values, beliefs, and worldview despite what others may say about you. When you are living congruent to your purpose, beliefs, and values then you are living authentically. You are living out your true life when you do not compromise your true self.

Living an Unstoppable-Centered Life means you live out your true life and not the life others want you to live. Remember your time on earth is short, if you live your life in accordance with what others think or say, you will live a life unfulfilled and with regret.    Anything is possible when you choose to believe in yourself, your life’s purpose, and your talents, skills, and abilities. Your life purpose unleashes you to live your life and allows you to be unstoppable. You need to live out your purpose authentically and daily.

Your life is worth fighting for each day. Your life is full of potential and possibilities.. Each morning you must make a choice to live your life or live the life the world wants you to live. You must make that choice, do you compromise or do live authentically?

When you compromise your beliefs, values, dreams, and aspirations to fit in to the world’s expectations, you die a little inside every day. When you compromise a little each day, soon you are no longer you. You are now the creation the world wants you to be versus the unstoppable you that you should be. If you want to live an unstoppable life, you must be honest with yourself and Fight the Good Fight every day. You are worth it. When you sell your soul for 30 pieces of silver, you sell your unstoppable life too cheaply. Your life is worth more than silver or gold.

You only get one chance to live your life, live it to the fullest of your purpose and Fight the Good Fight every day. Fight to take your life back and fight to have the world accept you for who you are and who you are becoming. You are the key to your destiny, do not turn your keys over to someone else. When life pushes you, you need to push back harder. Never surrender and do not give up on yourself. Fight every minute of every day, take a stand, and fight for who you are!

You need to passionately pursue your purpose in life and relentlessly challenge yourself to become better. Living an Unstoppable-Centered Life means you choose to live out your dreams, achieve your goals, and create the outcomes you want in your life. It means choosing to live out your faith, believe in yourself, and never give up on your vision of your future.

Living an Unstoppable-Centered Life means you choose to live inspired, discovering your purpose, and accepting responsibility for your life. It means you choose to continuously, grow, develop, and reinvent your life to be the very best you can be each day.

Finally, Living an Unstoppable-Centered begins with the knowledge that is up to you to create and live your unstoppable life. No one else is responsible for your life or cares about your life as much you do.

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Your Unstoppable Destiny is a Matter of Choice

 Choicearticle

Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice.

William Jennings Bryan

Life in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world comes at you each day chaotically and at the speed of light. If you are like numerous people living life amid the frenzy, you are juggling a set of life situations and racing to the next step of your life journey without much thought about your overall destiny. It is important to frequently reflect and review all your major choices, chances, and changes in your life each day, month, and year. In order to realize your destiny, you need to step back and assess where you are investing most of your time and energy. Each day you have the opportunity to take serious action toward creating the life and destiny you want. Each day you are empowered to make a choice and take a chance to create your destiny

You choose your destiny through your deliberate choices and actions. Your destiny is the sum total of all your life choices and actions towards achieving your lifelong dreams and goals. Your life is a series of daily choices and actions. From the moment your wake up, until the moment you fall asleep at night, you are making choices… Some of your daily choices may influence your life greatly but all your choices have an impact on your life. Understanding how you make choices is important because your choices are a reflection of your values, beliefs, and worldview. Each choice moves you further down your journey in life. Your choices and actions determine your destiny. Your destiny is your untapped potential waiting to be unleashed. It is your choice to make your destiny successful.

You true success in life is determined by the disciplined, purposeful, and measured choices you make each day to achieve your goals and reach your objectives. The more your goals represent your values, beliefs, and worldview, the more likely you are to achieve them. Through your vision and foresight, you know what you destiny should be and how you plan to achieve it. Without knowing where you want to go and then making the right choices, you will live your life by chance. However, achieving your life’s goals is best not left up to chance but a well thought out choice. A disciplined approach to making life choices does not mean you stop taking risks or chances in life. It just means you understand the consequences of the decision before you make it.

Ben Franklin’s quote about chess is a good example of a disciplined approach decision-making.

Chess teaches foresight, by having to plan ahead; vigilance, by having to keep watch over the whole chess board; caution, by having to restrain ourselves from making hasty moves; and finally, we learn from chess the greatest maxim in life – that even when everything seems to be going badly for us we should not lose heart, but always hoping for a change for the better, steadfastly continue searching for the solutions to our problems.

Taking a chance in life may offer you an opportunity to grow exponentially, open a door that was first unseen, or see the new stepping-stones paving the path to your goals. Taking a chance is being willing to step outside your comfort zone to pursue your passion and purpose. Taking a chance can mean the difference between a mediocre or a marvelous life. Your choices can create chances or opportunities for you to make an impact in your life, your family, your community, or your organization. By taking the risk or a calculated chance, you can change your life.

One thing for sure in life is change. Change can be good or it can be bad but change is inevitable in life. As you make choices and take chances you change. You grow, you develop, and you reinvent yourself as you journey in life. In addition, as you change over the years you are not the same person you were as you began your journey. Nor should your be the same. Life would be stagnant and unproductive if you did not grow and change. You are the only one that can make the choice and take the chance to develop yourself and make your lifelong dreams became a reality.

Ultimately, you reap what you sow and your destiny is a direct reflection on the choices that you made toward achieving the goals that you set for your success. So, slow down once and awhile and strive for more choices that are purposeful and take the necessary actions to reach your full potential. Be resolute about your destiny and take action to change your life and unleash your Unstoppable Future!

You must make a choice, to take a chance or your life will never change ~ Unknown

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The Unstoppable Tortoise

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