Good Sunday Morning VFOT fans and followers. It is a beautiful, sunny summer day here in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. I probably should be outside, rather than indoors typing, but the day is young and there’s still plenty of daylight left. Besides, I want to get today’s entry done, so I’m not in the office late tonight. Once again, it has been a busy couple of weeks, with lots of learning opportunities and travel. Let’s get to it.
My pro-reading time has been derailed or interrupted several times in the past couple of weeks, either because or early morning travel, or a couple of days of minor illness, so I feel like I’m a little behind. The primary pro-reading material remains Quiet Leadership by David Rock (Rock, David. (2006). Quite Leadership. New York, NY: Harper Collins.) I’m about a 3rd of the way through it, and have finished 2 of Rock’s 6 steps. As I stated last time, I’m really enjoying this book. It is reinforcing many recent lessons from other sources. I’m looking forward to incorporating these lessons into my personal leadership toolkit.
I’m into the Book of Micah in my Gospel reading and Whitman continues to round out my morning reading periods.
I decided to take a step back from Simon Sinek during my secondary reading, only because another opportunity presented itself. My friend and Academy classmate gave me a thoughtful birthday gift, a written history, Thunder at the Gates, by Douglas R. Egerton (Egerton, Douglas, R. (2016). Thunder at the Gates. New York, NY: Basic Books.) Thunder is the history of the African-American Civil War regiments, specifically the Massachusetts 54th, 55th, and the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry. I couldn’t delay starting it. I’m loving this book. Besides the connection that my hometown of Pittsfield has to the 54th (their Chaplain, the Reverend Samuel Harrison, resided in Pittsfield and Pastored a church here), the history of these units is fascinating. I’ve only made it to their departure from Boston so far, but I’m looking forward to the rest of it.
The book’s prologue contains a passage, that I found particularly poignant and timely. I thought I’d share it here:
The Advantages of Living In Times Called Calamitous
A nation does not know its strength until tested by calamity. Then it is, that its power of endurance and capacity to invent are developed. Its latent energy, unknown in times of peace and plenty, is forced into action. Listlessness gives way to caution; dormancy to untiring watchfulness; in a word it proves its power to exist, and thus commands respect from all.
Misfortunes awake all the better feelings of our nature. In the hour of adversity we feel drawn closer to each other, and the common cord running through all humanity vibrates in sympathy for mutual suffering. We extend the narrow home circle till it includes the entire human family, and around a common cause we work with a common will. Our pride is humbled, and we are reminded of our dependence on a higher power. The gloom passes, the sun shines out. We walk stronger, better, freer!
–Norwood Penrose (Pen) Hallowell, Harvard College essay, March 22, 1860
Other Learning Opportunities
I started off this period by attending a short seminar on the Commonwealth’s web-based emergency operations platform. This resource, referred to as WebEOC, is used to develop statewide situational awareness for large-scale pre-planned special events and emergencies. Since my role in emergency management will be changing and expanding soon, I thought I’d better get a better handle on using it.
I ended the 1st week by starting with a new cohort of recently promoted supervisors in the Massachusetts Trial Court Leadership Academy. I’ve been working with this program for several years. Due to scheduling issues, we had to modify it this time, and break up my sessions over 2 weeks. I started with them on Friday the 14th and spent all day with them at Westover Air Base.
I was back with them the following week on the 20th for a full day of tactical leadership during a crisis. They were a great group to work with, the facility is much better than their previous location and it sounds like the Department’s long-term plan is to increase the frequency of this program, so I’m looking forward to future opportunities with them.
That evening, I was back at work, and one of my Lieutenants and I presented the ALERTT Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) curriculum to a local congregation. That was really well received and we need to figure out how to roll that program out more widely.
I’m also getting ready to embark on another round of personal development coaching, so I have some prep work to do and get out to my coach in advance of that.
We wrapped up this week with the 5th session of our local Leadership Development Academy. The class has shifted to Quiet Leadership. The reviews are mixed so far. I think they’ll get more into it as they get deeper into the text. They’re doing amazing work on their project, and I’m excited and proud to see their progress.
I haven’t given much attention in earlier installments to discovering podcasts and trying to build new habits around them. Based on the benefits I realized from Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership, I had started regularly listening to Commander Wilink’s Jocko Podcast. I listen to that regularly now. Through that one, I discovered the Hands and Daylight Podcast. Hands and Daylight is recorded by the principles in Origin and Origin Labs, Pete Roberts and Brian Littlefield. Pete and Brian talk about business, Jiu Jitsu, life, the American Dream, and good old-fashioned grit. I really enjoy this one also. Recently, on Pete’s recommendation, I also checked out the Order of Man Podcast. Order of Man is hosted by Ryan Michler. Ryan is a veteran and entrepreneur. His purpose is to support men, by allowing them to network with and learn from like-minded men. I’ve only listened to a couple of them, so I’m not ready to make a recommendation yet, but so far, I’ve enjoyed them.
Writing has mostly been centered on lesson plans, correspondence, and this project. I’m working with some remote clients, and that has necessitated some new workflows. It’s a work in progress.
As I stated earlier, I was battling some minor illness issues during this period, so I had to be diligent to create opportunities for fun and relaxation. Work commitments required some shifts to my normal schedule. As a result, I trained a lot more no-gi Jiu Jitsu than I normally would. It reminded me how much I like training without the gi sometimes. I like the variety.
An evening budget hearing would have normally derailed the whole night, but C had some flexibility in her schedule, so we managed to have dinner together between appointments and the hearing.
Since C had traveled for work mid-week, we had a make-up date night on Friday night, and went and saw the movie Rocketman at The Beacon Cinema. It was a fun night out.
Last weekend, C and I both attended Pittsfield’s Pride Fest. She had to work on behalf of the College, but I went mainly to be able to spend some time with her, and to support our diverse community. It was a beautiful afternoon. I wrapped up that day by getting out on my new bike and taking a pretty nice ride. On Sunday, the weather was crappy and wouldn’t have made for a good ride…but it was an awesome day for a Ruck…so I got my pack on and got after it.
Yesterday was a great Jiu Jitsu class, followed by a long bike ride, then making a short appearance at a small family reunion to kind of reconnect with my Mother’s extended family.
All in all, despite being a little under the weather, this has been an awesome couple of weeks.
Well, that’s more than enough for now. See you in a couple of weeks. Until then….
Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*