It may sound strange to tell you that if you are looking for an expert in leadership that you came to the wrong place. Please don’t take that the wrong way. I hope you stay, and I would love to get to know you and even help you but when it comes to the label of “expert,” that’s not me. When my team put together this website and many of you encouraged me to “lean in” specifically on the issue of leadership, I struggled with that decision for several reasons.
While I’ve been on the road for two decades teaching and I’m often contacted for comment by various media companies, for the most part I enjoy privacy. Sure, not much is private anymore and I’ve grown accustomed to the occasional troll online that doesn’t agree with something I have written or said, but I know that the resources that we will be providing for you here will have the potential to ramp all of that to the next level. The more added will be more opportunities for the cowards among us to go in attack mode and like many of you, I’m pretty worn down by it.
But then again, isn’t that what weak- and feeble-minded individuals want. Cowards only flourish when leadership is non-existent. If they can throw in a little censorship on top of that, it’s bonus points. Frankly, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t move forward with this focus on Courageous Leadership.
The other struggle to begin is what I opened this post up with. I have never been comfortable with any label other than father, husband, or just Travis. If you spoke to cops or civilians around me, they would tell you that I’m constantly telling people to stop calling me by rank. I understand why it’s there and I know why people use it but that does not mean I have to like it.
Hence, that is the struggle here.
The last thing I want to do is come across as another marketing guru calling himself an expert to take someone else’s money. And despite my intentions and what I know my moral code is, there will be some that say that.
Once again, I don’t want to be a hypocrite. If I’m telling leaders to stand up and stop worrying about what a few crazed individuals are saying that will never have the best interest of law enforcement or the community in mind, how could I back down because I’m worried about a few vocal critics?
The truth is, President Theodore Roosevelt said it best in a speech he gave in 1910 called “Citizenship in a Republic.” A portion of that speech has come to be known as the “Man in The Arena” and like many of you, the words hang in my office as a constant reminder.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
I have been blessed beyond measure in my first 50 years of life and along the way, I have learned from some of the greatest leaders on the planet. Some of those you have heard of and most you have not.
As I spend the rest of my life encouraging others to lead with courage, I stand on the shoulders of great leaders that came before me. Those men and women left a legacy for so many, and as I debated telling my team to move forward with what you see now, I made the decision for one reason and one reason only.
I am the leader that I am today because others poured into me. They gave me knowledge, encouragement and hope.
With less than half of my life left, it’s my turn to do for others what they did for me.
Thank you for being here. Welcome to Courageous Leadership.