In The Beginning

The new year brings new opportunity. My commitment to a year-long odyssey challenging me to go beyond my comfort zone has started, and I can positively report that it has launched great.

In the beginning, the task seemed a little daunting. “Holy Smokes,” I thought, how am I going to manage my time? 1000 miles of the run, walk, hike, bike, or swim… what am I thinking? As I sat down to figure out what I would be doing for this exam, I realized that this type of commitment required a steadfast and committed character. Two traits that I believe a leader must have. These qualities are essential because a leader must dedicate their full set of abilities to reach the desired outcome and not waiver when obstacles present themselves. I am fully aware that there will be obstacles and that I may not make the required 150 pushups a day or the scheduled run for the week, but what will make me successful is to acknowledge the breakdown and move forward. Steadfast and Committed.


My progress thus far in the physical realm has been good but not great. I am meeting my targeted goals, but my fitness is not where I believe it should be. I know now that I have a lot of work to go. I have started my 150 pushups and situp regime, which hasn’t been too complicated. By breaking the 150 down into five separate periods, it has made it easier to manage as I begin. As my strength gains, those periods will get less as I gain the ability to do more consecutive pushups in one sitting.


I have started my Jiujitsu classes with an excellent instructor John “Piper” at Charlotte Brazilian JiuJitsu Academy. It is always humbling going to a new school as a beginner and trust that the instructor is “legit.” Coach Piper is a great teacher, and I trust that he has a good heart and character. I am excited to begin this new journey with him.


I am continuing my cardio and strength classes at MADabolic here in Charlotte which is a killer workout that I am always happy to leave when training is completed. It hurts, but well worth it.


The mental realm begins today as I start my graduate studies in Urban Management and Policy from University of North Carolina Charlotte, and I continue my Spanish course with the Academy of Language here in Charlotte on Thursday. My personal belief about Leadership and Leaders is that they must be lifelong learners. Knowledge is empowerment and very crucial, as John F. Kennedy once stated, “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” I am committed to continuing my quest for knowledge and becoming a great leader in my local sphere of influence.


In the spiritual realm, I have begun my meditation practice once again. In the past, I had spent a lot of time in meditation. However; life happens, and I had drifted away from my practice. Returning I have found it incredible how much better I feel after I complete a successful meditation. Spiritually this is much needed for my well-being and for the small amount of anxiety I am getting due to having taken on so much this year. I would suggest that meditation is necessary for everyone.


I end this with a thought on Leadership… If you, like me, were able to watch the College Football National Championship you would have seen an exceptional example of leadership and resilience. The Alabama Crimson Tide lead by coach Nick Saban was able to overcome a 13 point deficit at the end of the first half. He managed to keep a team of young college men steadfast, calm (in most cases), and focused on the goal of winning the game. And finally, after many setbacks was able to coach his team to his sixth national championship. Imagine the leadership skill it takes to keep a group of young men focused on continued success after many disappointments. The training and coaching ability of this man and his team is inspiring. Coach Saban stated after a question was asked about what keeps Nick Saban coming back every year? He says it’s not just about championships. “You have an opportunity to help players be more successful in life. … The message to the team tonight after this game? I hope you take something from this game and the resiliency that you showed in this game and it helps you be more successful in life.”

Isn’t that what we as leaders are meant to do, help guide others to lead the most successful life they can. How can you and I become that type of leader? What can I do to affect change?


I am going to take a page from Tom Callos’ book and write handwritten letters to influential leaders like Nick Saban and get their take on what it means to be a good leader and what each of these masters does to influence the lives of others.

Until next time…


  1. Rick McGill

    Outstanding Ryan!