What is the best way to grow as a leader?

The answer might surprise you. It’s a duty many of us have, but few recognize as the ultimate leadership development program of all—becoming a parent.

The Best Way to Grow As a Leader

Flickr image courtesy of drinksmachine

I used to believe only a select few had the potential to be a leader, but having a child taught me that’s not completely true.

Every parent is a leader. Some are just better than others. Of course, you don’t need to be a parent to be a leader, but it does prove that leaders aren’t just born that way—they’re also developed along the way.

Here’s a handful of reasons why parenting is the best way to grow as a leader.

When you teach your child right from wrong, you’re leading.
When you motivate your child to reach their potential, you’re leading
When you discipline your child for testing boundaries, you’re leading.
When you sacrifice for your child’s needs, you’re leading.
When you nudge your child out of their comfort zones, you’re leading.
When you nurture your child when they’re hurt, you’re leading.
When you inspire your child to overcome obstacles, you’re leading.
When you invest in your child’s future, you’re leading.
When you give your child an example to follow, you’re leading.

I can think of no other leadership program on earth that can teach us about being a leader more than being a parent does.

As we grow as parents, we grow as leaders. Sadly, many parents (especially fathers) don’t fully accept their responsibility to lead their families well.  It’s as if they’re given a sword of leadership but refuse to learn how to use it.

But when you answer the sacred calling to lead your family, you step into the life you’re meant to live.

You find a purpose beyond your own existence.
You unlock talents and gifts you didn’t know you had.
You grow in confidence and courage.
You discover why you are here.
You make a difference.

The best way to grow as a leader is to be a parent. And it all begins at home.

Go figure.



Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame, has created a scholarship program geared toward high school seniors who want to learn a technical trade.

He’s also asking folks to take this pledge. This is something we all should read and apply to our work and lives. It’s solid stuff.

1. I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the Earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.

2. I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that “happiness” and the “pursuit of happiness” are not the same thing.

3. I believe there is no such thing as a “bad job.” I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it’s up to me to make the best of them.

4. I do not “follow my passion.” I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.

5. I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can’t afford.

6. I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in “compliance” does not necessarily mean I’m out of danger.

7. I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.

8. I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job, or find a way to be happy.

9. I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning, and understand that library cards are free.

10. I believe that I am a product of my choices – not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face. And I will never accept the credit for something I didn’t do.

11. I understand the world is not fair, and I’m OK with that. I do not resent the success of others.

12. I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.

On my honor, I hereby affirm the above statements to be an accurate summation of my personal worldview. I promise to live by them.




As a military veteran, my heart broke when I read this report in a recently published AP story:

“Suicides are surging among America’s troops, averaging nearly one a day this year…The military also is struggling with increased sexual assaults, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other misbehavior.”

According to the Wounded Warrior Project, “an estimated 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war including combat-related stress, major depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment”. Add to that the 48,000 servicemen and women who’ve been physically injured, and it’s easy to see how this could affect soldiers.

American troops are heroic, but they are also human.  And they need our help.

Most citizens want to express our appreciation in real and tangible ways, but what can we do?

Here are five practical ways to support our troops:

1. Give honor

It’s almost become cliché to thank the troops for their sacrifice. But knowing that your country stands with you reminds you that you’re working for something bigger than yourself. Whether we’re in conflict or not, never, ever stop giving honor where honor is due.

2. Befriend them

The best support comes from relationships. This is also true of the men and women in our armed forces. By building friendships with those who serve, you not only gain a solid friend, you help improve the morale of our military.  Trust me, that gives those who serve a much-needed boost of encouragement.

3. Love their families

Military families need our love and support, too. Think about it. Who pays the heaviest price when our troops are deployed? Their loved ones. Who has their lives disrupted frequently when a military member is relocated? Their loved ones. Who does it affect the most when a soldier, airman, marine, or sailor returns from conflict with injury, stress, depression, or death? Their loved ones. Some of the best ways to show your care for our military is to love on their families.

4. Donate to them

Serving your country comes at a price. Sometimes, the cost is your well-being. And since you don’t enter the military to be rich, sometimes the cost is financial. For a number of veterans, sometimes the cost is a scar that hasn’t quite healed. Thankfully, there are a handful of great organizations doing good work to help and support active-duty military and veterans. In your generosity, consider giving to a reputable military organization.

5. Pray for them

As we read in the report, we need to keep our troops and their families in our prayers. A suicide a day is heartbreaking. Not to mention the divorce rates, increased abuse, injury, depression, and other struggles. For people of faith, we believe that prayer can reach places no person ever could. We trust God to know where it hurts and where healing needs to take place. Never discount the power of a heartfelt prayer.

Every time you meet a member of the military or veteran, know you are standing in the presence of greatness. These warriors deserve our support, love, friendship, and sincere appreciation.

I, for one, am very proud of those who have the courage to serve. They are true heroes.

How will you help support our troops?
For those of you who’ve served, what other suggestions do you have?



How to survive a grizzly bear attack, according to National Geographic. If you were caught in this situation, would you play dead or try to fight back


In the aftermath of the recent tornado that ripped through Oklahoma, Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson offers a simple prayer of hope.

It’s inspiring to see these folks use their influence for good.


There’s something magical about roasting marshmallows around a campfire, fishing on a quiet morning, taking a hike in the woods, playing in the water, lounging in a hammock, and enjoying some laughs with those you care about.

As you prepare for your next family camping outing, here’s a comprehensive checklist to help ensure you’ve got everything you need for a memorable time. Keep in mind, this isn’t a list for intense backpacking, it’s meant for good, ol’ fashioned campsite camping with family or friends. In fact, this pdf resource contains over 300 items, so you likely won’t need everything listed. But hopefully, it will help you be better prepared for your time in the great outdoors.


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