10. In 2020 the Belief of Collapse is Everywhere

There is no bigger example of leadership voids than taking a look at the current zeitgeist of collapse.

These voids are why in the year 2020 the feeling of uncertainty is everywhere. There is a constant belief, everywhere, that people are going to lose their jobs, that the economy is going to collapse, that World War 3 is going to happen any minute, an apocalypse is around the corner, a super virus-bacteria will kill everyone, that “big government” is spying on them in that moment, the planet is collapsing, and in the end everyone is doomed.

There is clearly a leadership crisis. Where are we going? Nowhere? I guess that means we’re all dead!

This environment of uncertainty is allowing an unprecedented levels of predation to occur.

Just look at security sales.

Perhaps never in human history has safety and security been a bigger drain of resources than today. There is no shortage of examples of resource depletion from uncertainty from the expenditures at the highest levels such as a global bureaucratic military industrial complex and the growing gargantuan cyber security industry to the personal level of the sale of fire arms and home intrusion systems. Expenses on “security” are breath taking.

Even though statistics prove that human life has never been better, uncertainty is building and growing.

If you grow in leadership, you can dispel uncertainty

Before going into how to dispel uncertainty, remember that its a leadership void. It’s real simple.

Uncertainty dissipates when there is movement towards an honorable purposeful mission where the person who leads it keeps their concerns on the well being and forward progress of the people.

The four step approach to dispel uncertainty, now.

  1. Take a breath
  2. Imagine a future to build, starting now.
  3. Communicate this vision to others with intention.
  4. Create forward momentum, even if its tiny.

The reason that people have such uncertainty, is their lack of forward moment in a direction of their choosing. If this is you, or others you know, you ought to take a step back and get your breath.

You need to be able to see in your mind a better future clearly. Figure that out, even if its something small like “my house should be cleaner.”

Communicate what you see to other people. Avoid trying to convince them that this is the right course, instead speak with intentional and in a focused manner. You are going in a particular direction, because of something that you have noticed. Then consider inviting others to join that vision.

Once you’ve communicated it, get to work implementing it. Within minutes, the uncertainty that permeates in the environment around you will begin to dissipate. This is the power of forward momentum. Each step forward creates a clearer and clearer picture that where you are going, is real.

You have the power to dispel “collapse” in your life

While there are an unbelievable number of things that are outside of your control, there is still considerable amount that you know you already know you can begin stepping forward with to build forward momentum in your life, and others.

Be careful following “leaders” who radiate uncertainty.

Regardless of the problems that exist, there is always a way to survive. There is always something that can and should be done about it. There is always the need to face it, rather than run away from it. This is why you must begin dispelling uncertainty by being a force for the future.


9. Ode To Resilience

Resilience is under-rated.

It’s not taught in most schools. Many parents don’t have it. And it can be difficult to find in person mentors who have it.

Resilience never goes out of style yet it’s not stylish.

It is earned steadily, daily, overtime, through intentional preparedness and withstanding trials by fire.

Resilience looks like making due without power for days in your cushy home. Taking a shower in the rain and pooping in a slit trench outside when your house has no water. All with a smile and joyful glee.

Resilience is moving on from the past, accepting the present, and choosing where your future direction is going to be.

While resilience can be explained, it cannot be given away. It isn’t a physical thing. It just isn’t your stuff.

Resilience gives everyone the ability to work together, to overcome real obstacles and create a life that is fun and enjoyable.

Every day that marches on, the world shows how much it needs individuals to be more resilient. Will you choose to be resilient today?


8. From Overweight to In shape: Self-Influence

From 2007 until 2015 I was over-weight, to the tune of 40 lbs too heavy.

Years of poor decisions built up until I had reached the weight limit in the Marine Corps and in 2009 I deployed to Afghanistan as a near overweight person.

While my weight never overpowered me while training up to go, I never really spent the time to shrug it off. Instead, I had decided that partying was more important.

After 8 months in country, you would think that I would have lost weight from the 115 degree heat, or what little bit of exercise that I did.

Well, I hadn’t.

That is until right at the very end.

I made the decision to do “just a little” bit of working out.

You see, I’m not a person who likes to work out. Its OK, but I would far rather do something than run in place or lift the same weights a million times. Such as hiking or in the case of when I was a young adult, skateboarding.

However, about two months before leaving country I started going back to the gym. Nothing crazy just a little bit of treadmill and light weights.

Three weeks past, and not a single pound dropped off. It wasn’t really my intent to lose weight, just get a bit “healthier” so I stuck with it.

One day I woke up and something was different.

For some reason, something felt different. I was laying in bed and started touching my waist. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but it felt like all of a sudden I had lost some weight.

I didn’t think too much of it, so I went about my day and went to get the mediocre British breakfast served. (I was on a British base in Afghanistan).

“Hey did you lose weight?” – A friend asked.

“Yeah, I guess I did.” – Replied

People apparently could notice.

I went to bed overweight, and woke up skinnier.

For some people when they work out the results are immediate. They can track the pounds that they lose and gain momentum. For me, it apparently fell off.

Throughout the remainder of the day I continued to receive the “did you lose weight?” question.

Upon leaving Afghanistan I had finally lost weight that had been on my body for years.

But the weight crept back on

By 2015 weight had returned to my body. Even though I had been a part time farmer, the weight had returned. So I decided to try something different.

I woke up early. Meditated and did light exercise.

And that’s all it took.

Within three months I lost 40 lbs.

It just took a bit of consistency. Nothing crazy. No “maxing out”. “No cross fit.” Just good ol fashioned body weight exercises in my office.

By the end of 3 months, my body was built like a machine. I went from 6 pullups to 20 pullups (the Marine Corps physical fitness test maximum count). I had six pack abs.

I was as light as I had been since 7th grade.

All it took was a little consistency.

Consistency and showing up has results. It takes just a bit of time, its not immediate. But if you consistently apply yourself you’ll get results.

I share this story with you because if you happen to be a little out of shape, you can get into shape quickly. I know many other people within a very, very, short amount of time they managed to shape their bodies and achieve their goals.

There’s nothing special about me in this regard. Just like anyone else my weight fluctuates when I decide that healthy eating and exercise aren’t that important to me.

In particular, its when I decide that I don’t need to get up early.

If you’re a bit out of shape, don’t kill yourself, just do a little working out.

Oh, and you’ll earn just a wee bit of influence from yourself throughout the process.


7. Chaos Sleeps In

If you want to get important work done in your life, you have to wake up early.

For some people this is a gut punch, but its true. Everything that is difficult to get done in our lives throughout the day can be accomplished between the hours of 3am to 8am.

Do you want to become healthy? Do you want to become a writer? Or better plan for the day?

Its real simple. Get up early.

Chaos stays up late and wakes up when it feels comfortable

Everything in your life that is a distraction wants to visit you between the hours of 8am to 3am.

Throughout the day there are gremlins that want to eat your time.

  • Friends who have nothing better to do than hang out.
  • Telemarketers trying to get you on the phone.
  • Children full of energy and joy.
  • Even beautiful spouses who love to interrupt by being so helpful.

While all fun and helpful, they’re productivity killers for long concentration work.

But what about in the evenings? Surely you can write your book in the evenings. What about….

  • Friends that want you to go out in the evenings
  • All those Netflix TV series you haven’t watched yet.
  • Or the last few levels of that video game you like.

These will cap your day off leaving you with no time to get those important things done.

What should you be doing?

Nearly everyone fails to get done something they know they either want to get done, or what they should get done. For some reason, nearly all of these things, can be performed between the hours of 3am and 8am.

  • Need to exercise to earn being healthy?
  • Prepare for the day?
  • Read the books that bring you life?
  • Meditate on intentionally living?
  • Write your own book?
  • Send those needed business emails?
  • Learn to fish?

I personally lost 40 lbs within 3 months of of waking up early and performing light exercise for 30-45 minutes.

I have written thousands of pages in books.

Getting up early is hard, but it earns you life.

The reason to get up early is because it provides you with a window of opportunity that is completely closed to others. If you want growth, you need to push your boundaries of comfort. Those who don’t do that, allow themselves to stay up too late, and wake up when their body feels comfortable.

This is about forming a habit of commitment. Commitment is difficult, it requires intent, and it yields you the long term rewards associated with it.

How to wake up early

Waking early is really simple to say, it just requires follow up. Here are the steps I’ve used to help get me out of bed early.

  • Cultivate a burning desire to get certain things done, that aren’t getting done. (Reading, writing, exercising, etc)
  • State openly the commitment to getting up early.
  • Create an intentional schedule for the early morning.
  • Set your alarm for 4am.
  • Go to bed by 9:30pm.
  • Get up out of bed immediately at 4am and walk into another room.
  • Do this for at least 45 days.

Lastly, waking up early is about influence. Yourself and others.

Being able to wake up early and get done what needs to get done, makes you a leader. It makes you an influencer of yourself. In order to influence other people to be productive, you have to be productive.

If you want other people to get an urge to be healthy, you have to gain the urge to become healthy.

People need you to wake up early, so they can leave you alone while you intentionally build a life that can help them. Everyday is battle to be won and it starts with winning with yourself. If you can influence yourself, you can influence others. Remember, the world needs people who have great capacity, so they can see further and shepherd the way.

That should be you.


6. Drive Action

Somewhere around January of 2017 I co-founded the “Live Oak Permaculture Group” outside of New Orleans, LA. Partnering with a local community organizer we came together to create a group that would meet up, discuss permaculture, and help people implement and gain some insights how they could live a little more self reliance and lighter on the planet.

Through that process we held classes, taught tree grafting lessons, consulted on permaculture designs, hosted lunches and overall met similar company. We even organized about a dozen volunteers to install the apple and chestnut savannah on our farm in Louisiana, equipped with well over 80 varieties of southern apples. It was truly amazing to see what 12, motivated, volunteers could do.

I became both the leader and the “technical expert trainer”

I believed at the time that serving the group was by becoming the person out in front who would host classes and demonstrate what techniques for creating sustainability. Nearly every event, I found myself being the primary topic at least 80% of the time, with the occasional event held off site at another person’s home, or guest speaker.

As time went on I found it increasingly more difficult for others to try and take this baton, instead wishing that I would do the teaching, since I was more experienced.

Overtime the group lacked something…

While The Live Oak Permaculture Group was successful in teaching people at the events, it reached a plateau both in numbers but in energy. After about a year of hosting events, dozens of people would signup, but only about 15 people would show up. Our events, while improved in quality, started to feel a bit stale.

A core group had formed, who after a few years, mostly just wanted to hang out with like minded people and wish that the world was different.

Instead of action, there was only chitter chatter

This situation runs opposite to how I felt about the group. From the beginning I dreamed the group would be action oriented. A group that would go out and interacting with the community. The group would be able to utilize our internal knowledge and skillsets to make needed change.

But I rarely brought this action orientation up, instead continually griping about it in private that the group should be out there “doing.”

During those years, I wasn’t sure how to handle this juxtaposition. On one hand, I was the leader and could drive the members in a particular direction and on the other hand “it wasn’t happening.” Instead of sharing this with the group and being open, I kept them in and focused on the people that I was interacting with.

Some say that a leader’s job is to serve the people under their leadership. While this is true, the leader doesn’t serve the people, when the leader only focuses on their immediate desires and what they can express verbally now.

A leader really becomes a leader when the they help people serve the needs of others and act on their highest values.

The issue was there wasn’t an external vision

Because the group focused only on itself, it had no reason to grow. There was no compelling reasons to improve their skills, improve their confidence, and definitely small reason for people to join the group.

The group lived entirely in the “what can I get from this group” rather than “how can I help this group succeed?”

The members of the group became more disconnected with the people outside of it. The members of the group more and more wanted to sit back and have others do the work. The members more and more drifted away.

If, however, there was a vision that extended beyond the members group, and if the leader drove that vision instead of “giving the members what they want”, the group would have grown, as individuals and as a group.

All of the resources that were on the table, were locked by the lack of vision of the leader.

If you happen to be a leader of a similar group, or considering creating a group, consider this a lesson. The members of the group need a leader, not a technical expert. They gain confidence through action. To keep the group growing, alive, and productive there must be action that engages with outside entities.