Leadership: Where Is Your Heart? – Part I

There isn’t a day that passes by in your life where you are not required to make a decision of some sort.  Whether you are running a Fortune 500 company or you are a homemaker; you are faced with decisions.  Those decisions impact not only yourself, but those around you…in many cases individuals who are close to you.

Where is your heart at this present time?

Are you overly self-centered like many individuals in our modern Western culture or are you a selfless individual who has a servant’s heart?

Regardless of your current place within society, you will find much more peace and tranquility if you are the latter half of the last question…an individual with a servant’s heart that strives to live a selfless life.  There are many people who work hard for their piece of the American dream with a very self-centered approach that enables them to step on others, lie, cheat, steal, fabricate, manipulate, plagiarize, and other similar negative actions to get what they want in life.  On the outside, these people may seem happy and successful, but inwardly they are sad, depressed, low self-esteem individuals who have to continue to pile up their material and financial gains to keep themselves occupied just enough to keep their mind off who they really are.  If they stop and let it all sink in, their conscience will consume them because they will realize how many selfish decisions that they have made for a bunch of perishable items that will eventually disintegrate back into their original raw materials…ultimately being consumed by our planet (that was a nice way of saying the items will eventually find their way to the garbage dump).  On top of that, they are leaving behind a legacy of greed and self-centeredness that will not be looked upon favorably through the prism of history.  Effective leaders are humble, selfless individuals who have great integrity.  Their hearts are filled with compassion, high moral standards, and an endless desire to serve others, regardless of their place, position, financial status, social status, etc.  The selfless leader sees everyone as someone in need…and when they are called upon to act, they do so without hesitation or regret.  They are at peace with their surroundings, no matter how great or small.  They will be remembered as individuals in a very different manner than their aforementioned opposites.

Which one are you?

Are you willing to change?

How can you serve others versus serving yourself?

Do you have the courage to make this change?

It is easy to be selfish, but it takes strength to be selfless…



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Leadership: The Ability to Say “I Don’t Know”

You were promoted to that position that you have worked so hard for in management. 

For several years, you were one of the most knowledgeable people in your respective area of work.

You were the go-to guy/gal for many people within your organization.

That time has passed: You are now in a leadership position.

When you were working in the positions of those whom you now manage, you knew everything (well almost…) about your profession within the confines of your organization.  There weren’t many times when you had to say the words “I don’t know” because you had worked so hard for so long to learn everything that you possibly could to ensure that you could perform your job efficiently thereby serving your organization to a very high degree.  In this new chapter of your career, you are now faced with an entire new set of challenges: departmental budget management/planning, Human Resource policy application, conflict resolution/mitigation, employee empowerment (leadership…), resource allocation management, managing sensitive organizational information, etc.  Eventually, you will come to the realization that you no longer can store up all of the information about everything that everyone who works for you has within their minds.  You have to learn to say “I don’t know” which should always be followed by…”but, I know who does“…which is then followed by the necessary action to ensure that those who need the information receive it from those whom have it.

There are people that assume that they must somehow retain all of the intricate details of the inner-workings of their department to an extremely detailed level.  This mindset is wrong.  You have employees for that reason; they are the experts whereas you are their leader.  Don’t get me wrong, you still need to keep up with your respective profession, but try to stay out of the “weeds”.  Be confident and remember that you have a group of individuals that work for you that now have the responsibility to perform the functions that you previously fulfilled.  Maintain a healthy knowledgebase, but learn to rely upon and empower your employees to stay in the “weeds” where you once operated.



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Continuing Education: Have You Started Yet?

It’s really simple to sit back and let your life effortlessly pass you by.  I am amazed at how many very intelligent and capable people choose things to do with their time besides increasing their level of higher education (yes, I am talking to you…).  Perhaps they don’t think that they can do it because it may take too much of their time or it will cost too much…perhaps they haven’t ever considered what it could mean for their way of life…i.e. career.  Unless you are independently wealthy or happen to be a very close relative of someone who is, you have to work for a living if you want anything of your own.  I’m quite aware of what the government has to offer, but that will leave you quite empty because it doesn’t require you to become a contributing member of society.  The majority of humans actually benefit from contributing to society in some form or another.  It fulfils an inner-desire that we are born with; everyone, deep down, wants to be part of something bigger than they are.  I firmly believe that there are a huge number of untapped geniuses within society that are probably sitting somewhere passing their time with something that is just that…something to pass the time.  If just a small percentage of those people realized their potential, our society as a whole would be much improved.  Education is an extremely important part of any modern society that is based upon the rule of law, compassion for others regardless of their race, ethnic origin, religion, etc., and one that empowers its people to rise up and become well-educated contributing members.

If you are able to read this post you are excluded from the 32 million United States citizens who can’t read.  Perhaps you will decide to pursue a college degree that will one day enable you to reduce that number by your direct contribution to society.

Don’t let anyone hold you back from achieving your full potential; you can do anything that you dedicate your heart, soul, and mind to.  Don’t waste another day: read, research, and start your journey.  You will look back and not regret one moment of it.  That does not mean it will be easy and that does not mean you will not get discouraged.  I have been there, deep in the trenches, and felt helpless, but I didn’t give up.  The end result was far greater than I could have ever imagined.  I will never stop learning until the day my life comes to an end.  Yours should be the same.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. PH 4:13 (KJ 2000)



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A Corporate Infection: Conspiracy Theory and Lack of Trust

Within the corporate world there is an infection that needs to be stamped out once and for all.  There are people, who are supposed to be effectively leading others, who don’t trust anyone who do not report directly to them (i.e. people that they can control and/or influence).  These individuals have utterly failed their organization on a grand scale that has had a terrible impact upon everyone who works (or once worked for…) them.  Their inability to trust others has toppled over into a downward spiraling mental state where everyone is the enemy; they think that people are constantly posturing for power and/or position.  Every detail that any of these ‘enemies’ speaks or writes is highly scrutinized for any content that they can find to confirm to themselves that their conspiracy theories are correct.  They constantly live in fear that another department may acquire some of their employees.  They are so consumed with these thoughts that they are unable to make reasonable decisions.  All of their decisions are made purely based on their desire to maintain control over their current staff…even if those decisions have a negative impact upon the organization.  Anyone around them who interacts with them is very aware of this extremely unhealthy mindset which is evident though their spoken and/or written correspondence; everything is laced with protectionism.  They are also highly defensive, especially when any topic arises that touches on any of these areas.  Their portion of the organization is falling apart.  People want to leave; those who did leave are much happier and don’t ever want to come back.  There is a saying about people who hold on to things too tight…they eventually crush them and lose everything.

If you are suffering from this infectious pattern of thinking, please take some time to deeply reflect upon your thoughts and actions.  Take some time to consider who your friends really are based purely upon facts, not on the recurring thoughts that are impacting every decision that you make.  You must learn to be a team player.  You must learn to reach out to other departments and collaborate with others.  You must learn to trust people.  You must learn to make decisions in a timely manner.  If you choose to stay on your present course, expect more things to crumble around you.  If you are reading this and suffer from this, you know exactly what I am talking about.  Please change…before it’s too late…



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Jack of all Trades, Master of Some – DukeNet7 @ www.Etsy.com

Throughout my time on this planet, I have learned how to do many things (my dad taught me tons of different things when I was growing up…I am passing my knowledge down to my kids…its great fun to see them learn).  I am a proud member of the global DIY community!  Now that college is behind me (refer to my last post “The Aftermath” for more information), I have decided to pursue a lifelong dream of having my own side business.  After doing some online research, I decided to utilize the www.Etsy.com platform for my online storefront.  At this point I am offering editing, proofreading, writing services, and some custom made wooden benches (I have made three for our household).  I am preparing to add several custom paracord items (all of which are made to order).

Please take a moment to look at my store (link below) and feel free to check back regularly for updates.




Everyone needs of of these…right?



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The Aftermath

After completing my Master’s Degree in Management with a focus in Leadership in February of 2016, I decided to take a nice break from writing (excluding the daily writing that I do as part of my job).  After 9 years of college (with a few short breaks), I needed some time to be free of this keyboard and its associated peripherals.  I decided to start blogging again in July (which I almost missed).  Life is quite different now without assignments, time away from my family, and the generalized stress that comes from being in school while also doing life on many different levels.  I decided to call this entry “The Aftermath” because I am in a new realm of life where college is finally behind me.  I also decided to utilize such a title because of the continual unraveling of our great nation, the United States of America, a place that I hold near and dear to my heart that is suffering through a socioeconomic struggle of epic proportions.  We are at a point in our history where a continuation of our current path will lead to our end.  Divided we will fall, only united can we stand.  There are a plethora of problems with our great nation that run deep into the psyche of our many different people-groups that reside within our borders.  We are currently living in a leaderless society that is plagued with political correctness and ever-growing threats of violence from within our own borders, not to mention the extremists that have infiltrated our sovereign land.  Continue reading

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Leadership: The Interrelation of Self Confidence, Health, and Wellness

How many of you have invested in some sort of exercise equipment in your life that ended up being used as a clothes rack, etc.? How many times have you started an exercise routine (perhaps after the New Year) and didn’t make it past the first few weeks? How many times have you looked in the mirror and wished that you could lose those few extra pounds, build up your muscles, etc.? How many times have you wished that you weren’t so tired during the day? How many times have you wished you had more self-confidence, especially during key moments when you are interacting with others at home, work, or anywhere that you happen to be?

All of these questions are interrelated. If you want to be able to change your initial answers to the questions above, you must start with formulating a plan. I suggest that you utilize a common application like Microsoft Excel or perhaps a similar product from Open Office (free!) to create a weekly exercise schedule that fits your current age, level of fitness, etc. I suggest that you refer to Google and spend some time researching different exercise routines (there are hundreds of options). My personal favorite is the P90X program from by Beach Body. I pick and choose which P90X videos to use coupled with other exercises that I like to do. Regardless of what muscle group I am working, I use P90X to warm up with every time I exercise…warming up is extremely important! For those of you who are new to the exercise world, here are a few very important things to remember (and not to ignore!). Always warm up and stretch before working out, only work each muscle group once per week, spend at least one day per week working your rotator cuff muscles (they are easy to injure, but easy to strengthen), spend one day working all of your pulling muscles (biceps, back, etc.), spend one day working all of your pushing muscles (triceps, shoulders, and chest), spend another day working your legs, and spend one day working on your cardio. If you happen to have limited access to fitness equipment and happen to think that you can’t get in shape without a bunch of expensive equipment or a gym membership, keep reading! You don’t need a bunch of equipment to get in shape. You can get in incredible shape by performing body weight exercises (click this text for an example). Continue reading

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Leadership: The Importance of Making Decisions Part II – A Real World Example That I Recently Witnessed First Hand

My last post was about the importance of decision making. A couple of days after posting it I was in a meeting with some high ranking members of my organization. The topic was a difficult one. Everyone in attendance had to testify to what they had become aware of in regards to a sensitive situation (sorry, I have to be vague!). The bottom line is that I witnessed a pair of leaders asking all of the right questions in a very kind, but serious manner. They each took a moment to process the information and immediately made their decision. I am in complete agreement with their decision while also being very surprised that they came to the conclusion that they did. I immediately thought to myself “now that is a great example of leadership” (I also knew that I had to write about it!). I can’t discuss the details, but trust me, what those two individuals decided to do required courage, confidence, and personal inner-strength that many people simply do not possess. Each time I witness moments like this I grow into a stronger leader because I take the time to carefully ponder what I experienced. I also have a personal desire to continually learn more about the “science” of leadership while also learning the “art” of utilizing it in all areas of my life (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2012). I already respected these individuals; it increased after that meeting.

I would like to hear about some of your personal experiences when you witnessed someone demonstrate leadership in a manner that had an positive impact upon you.




Hughes, R. J., Ginnett, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2012). Leadership Enhancing the Lessons of Experience – Seventh Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill / Irwin.


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Leadership: The Importance of Making Decisions – The ability to make decisions, sometimes on short notice, sometimes with limited information, and sometimes under pressure.

The fourth item from the Leadership Principles/Skills Outline was:

Ability to make decisions…sometimes on short notice…sometimes with limited information

This topic can be applied to any part of your life, but I am going to focus on the necessity for an effective leader to be both willing and able to make decisions, especially on short notice, with limited information, and most-certainly under some sort of pressure. There isn’t a day that goes by where everyone isn’t faced with making some sort of decision. From the what to eat for breakfast to whether or not to proceed with a merger between two corporations, there is a constant flow of opportunities to make decisions. Obviously, some decisions have a much greater impact than others, but there are many times when people do not understand that failing to make the correct decision (or not making a decision at all!) on a bunch of seemingly small and insignificant topics can eventually build up and cause serious problems. To compound the issue, the failure to not make any decision will certainly have a profound negative impact…one that may cause irreconcilable problems. Continue reading

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Hard Work: How to Successfully Achieve Your Personal Goals

The third item from the Leadership Principles/Skills Outline was Hard Work.

There are a million ways to define and/or discuss the topic of ‘Hard Work’. This blog is dedicated to leadership and continuing (higher) education both of which require significant effort to succeed at either one (I believe that they are interwoven topics). In this article, I am going to discuss both of them to some degree. Whenever you are embarking on a difficult task, especially one that has the potential to make you want to quit, you always need to keep the end result of your efforts clearly in focus. I am currently 8 weeks away from earning my Master’s Degree; when I was working towards my Bachelor’s degree there were a few times, especially in the beginning, that I wanted to quit because of the overwhelming amount of dedication and Hard Work that was required to be successful. I have a friend who is an avid solo hiker; his ultimate goal (on his bucket list) is to hike the Appalachian Trail; I have heard him say several times that many people who attempt it ultimately give up because they aren’t mentally prepared for the task at hand. Learning to be an effective leader and/or completing the next level of your education will require you to dedicate yourself in a manner that will, for some, be the hardest thing that they have ever attempted. Do not be discouraged, many people have come along before you and have made it through the exact same thing that you are attempting to do (unless you are setting a new standard or starting a new trend!).

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you discouraged because of the steep requirements that you are facing in regards to your trek towards being an effective leader and/or attaining a higher level of education? Continue reading

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