Welcome back to my series on LDRSHIP, which explores the seven Army core values that have shaped me into the Husband, Father, and Friend I am today.Welcome back to my series on LDRSHIP, which explores the seven Army core values that have shaped me into the Husband, Father, and Friend I am today.
In the previous installment of this series, we explored the values of Respect, Selfless Service, and Honor. If you haven’t had a chance to read that, or my introduction to the series, you can find them here. So go back and give those a read.
Today I will focus on the final Army values of Integrity and Personal Courage.
6. Integrity – “Do what’s right, legally and morally.”
I personally love this quote from General Dwight D. Eisenhower; it has resonated with me during my time in the military and is a constant reminder as I talk to my peers about what qualities I strive for as a leader.
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office”
It is hard in today’s world of businessmen and politicians to find examples of men with integrity. Men who are willing to do what is right even when no one is looking. (Sorry for the cliche verbiage here, but c’mon is there any better way to sum up what integrity means?)
A mentor of mine once told me that as a leader I was the total sum of the choices and decisions I made. The more decisions I made with my integrity in mind, the more I would be respected by those soldiers I was responsible for.
I would be respected and valued by my leadership, and in turn, I would find myself in greater areas of responsibilities.
What I’m saying here is it’s too easy to fall into a ‘gray area’, and once you start to discredit your integrity, the more you and others will lose faith in your abilities as a leader.
“Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.” - Proverbs 28:6
So take the time to consider your integrity.
Take time to think about your value.
Take time to think about what you think of yourself when you take that easy wrong instead of the harder right.
7. Personal Courage – “Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral).”
I’m going to be vulnerable here and let you in on a little secret.
I cried my first day of basic training.
Who am I kidding, I was still in-processing when I teared up. I had been given the linen for my bunk and pointed in the direction of the barracks. I was on my own until the next morning when we would start the process and paperwork. I laid on my bunk, on my own for the first time, and the fear of the unknown set in.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6
I prayed that night, something I wasn’t used to doing at the time. I prayed for courage and strength for the upcoming nine weeks of training and fell asleep until the next morning.
Nine months later I would find myself at Bagram Air Base - Afghanistan. My first night at Fort Knox Kentucky was a distant memory and now a new challenge presented itself. Nine months later I would find myself at Bagram Air Base - Afghanistan. My first night at Fort Knox Kentucky was a distant memory and now a new challenge presented itself.
This pattern would continue for the next few years: Airborne School, Iraq, Afghanistan again, Iraq again, Iraq a third time, Afghanistan a final time… on and on, new fears of the unknown, and new challenges to overcome.
It took personal courage to step off the bus at basic training, it took personal courage to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq, it took personal courage to step off a “perfectly good airplane”, and it took personal courage to be responsible for the soldiers below me. I owe the military for the courage I display today.
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” - 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
So today when I tell Jon and Tom that I’m not a writer, that I’m not a speaker, and I’m not an expert on men or God. I know it’s the fear of the unknown whispering to me and it’s scary.
But I’m reminded that everything is going to be okay.
I just need to take the first step.
When I started to write this, I didn’t know the direction I would take or who would read it. I’ve just been pretty happy to have had the time to reflect on one of the most influential times of my life.
I wrote earlier that I cried my first day in the Army. Truth be told I cried my last day as well. I learned these values the hard way, which honestly may be the only way to learn them, but I hope and pray you were able to take away something from the lessons I’ve learned.
Again if you get the chance to comment, I would love to hear your thoughts on the values that have shaped you into the person you’ve become.
-Build up. Become Strong-