Installment 21: New Adventure, New Opportunity

December 24, 2019

Good afternoon VFOT friends and followers. It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m not sure how this happened, but it’s been a full month since I posted an installment. I thought I was a week late, but I had no idea that it had been a month since I wrote and posted. The past month has been incredibly busy, but that is no excuse for me not making the time to follow through on this commitment to myself. So, with 2020 around the corner, I need to re-commit and do a better job. I will.

The past month has included some travel, wrapping up the academic semester and a lot of fun. Let’s get to it.


I wrapped up the semester a couple of weeks ago and finished the latest edition of Northouse’s Leadership with my students.

On top of that, I finally finished Blink. I shouldn’t have delayed that one as long as I did. It’s a great read. Having finished Blink, and at the recommendation of C, I also took advantage of some travel time to listen to Talking to Strangers, also written by Malcolm Gladwell. (Gladwell, Malcolm. Talking to Strangers. 2019. Hachette Audio)


Earlier this week, I also finished reading Call Sign Chaos, by General Jim Mattis. (Mattis, Jim and West, Bing. Call Sign Chaos. 2019. New York, NY: Random House.) This is an awesome read. General Mattis is a true warrior-statesman and a legitimate hero. I recommend this one to all leaders or prospective leaders.

Other Reading

After Level Zero Heroes, I moved on to Into the Fire, by Medal of Honor recipient, Dakota Meyer. (Meyer, Dakota and West, Bing. Into the Fire. 2012. New York, NY: Random House.) I knew something about Dakota’s story from listening to the Jocko Podcast. The book goes a lot deeper. Again, this is the story of a legitimate hero and I recommend it. Completing this one inspired me to pick up another Medal of Honor recipient’s autobiography, so now I’m into You are Worth It by Kyle Carpenter. More to come on that.

Other Learning Opportunities

Wow! Where have I been an what have I done in the past month? Well, we had a series of Supervisory Roundtable meetings, where the team really learned to take advantage of the Hotbox Exercises. This is starting to pay off in operational dividends and change behavior in the field.

In early December, I headed back to Bristol, RI for another session of the First Line Supervisor’s Course at the JST&RI. This was the 1st time that we tried a new format for the class, where we front loaded Situational Leadership and Tactical Leadership. It included a full day of exercises. I think that it was an overwhelming success. I hope we continue to do it this way.

I had another awesome coaching session with my friend, colleague, and talented coach, Camille. Making slow progress on this path.

I also had a chance to teach the 1st Day of the MPTC’s Staff Instructor School again. I am honored that I am allowed to continue in this program and influence these future leaders.

The college semester came to an end, and I wrapped up another semester of Leadership in Context. We’ll see what opportunities this brings in the future.


This reporting period brought us into the Holiday season. On the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, C and I joined some of her colleagues and their students for the annual Multicultural Student Services Organization (MSSO) holiday dinner. This is a festive, pot-luck style dinner featuring a wide array of multicultural foods. This was an awesome experience. I hope that we continue to do it.

For Thanksgiving, we traveled to the In-laws in Marlborough, MA. That was a fun and relaxing time. It was nice to see C’s extended family.

While I was travelling to Bristol, I continued a tradition that I started for myself and enjoyed a great dinner at Roberto’s on my 2nd night of the trip. It’s a short walk from the Inn and the food and atmosphere are amazing. It’s a self-indulgent treat that I’ve come to enjoy.

In early December, we had some close friends in for a dinner in our home. He is coming to terms with a recent diagnosis of a potentially debilitating disease, but he looked strong. It was a blessing to enjoy an evening with them.

In the 2nd full week of December, I got to participate in both our annual Shop With a Cop event, and the City’s Santa Calling Hours. Both of these events always prepare me and put me in the spirit of the Holidays.

Last weekend, we took advantage of a new Dinner and Show opportunity with the Berkshire Theatre Group. For us, that meant a traditional New England dinner of Yankee Pot Roast and the Thaddeus Clapp House, followed by this year’s presentation of The Christmas Carol at the Colonial Theatre. This was a wonderful night out.

For the past several days, we’ve been enjoying our 12 Days of Holiday Cheer #12DaysOfCheer, where we take turns crafting Holiday themed cocktails as we count down to Christmas.

Yesterday, I completed another annual tradition and went Upstreet for my annual Holiday Shopping Shindig. This is a tradition that I started a few years ago, where I go and spend a couple of hours walking in our Downtown, and doing some holiday shopping with small, locally owned businesses. It was a very productive shopping day.

Of course, C and I have had some great, normal Wednesday Date Nights. I’ve had some awesome Jiu-jitsu sessions and this week, I even got out for my 1st ruck march in a long time. It was nice to get out on a warm winter day.img_0774

Well, this has been a long post, and I shouldn’t be squandering this Holiday by working the day away, so that’s enough for now. I’ll be back in 2 weeks. So, until next time…

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*