Expedition Learnings
We recently returned from a 4-day expedition near Canyonlands, Utah.  The trip was designed to transform leaders through adventure and adversity in an intense, dynamic and unpredictable environment that maps to today's challenging business environment.   It was an amazing experience, and after a few weeks, I was reflecting on what we learned in light of a recent article by philosopher Tom Morris.
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Why Test Yourself?
I found myself driving at 3:00am the other morning.  And I do mean, "found."  I was driving to climb Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak - two 14,000 foot mountains about three hours from my home.  As I was driving and getting the cobwebs out, I thought to myself, "You're not meeting anyone for the climb.  You have no obligation to do this for anyone, yet you feel compelled to get up in the middle of the night, drive three hours, climb for seven hours, and then drive back for three hours.  A thirteen hour day, and a climb that will leave your thighs sore for at least three days!" I really had no obligation to do those climbs.  I knew it was going to be cold and windy up there, and that the climbing season was fast coming to a close.  Was I "compelled" to climb, or drawn to the mountains like I have been my entire life?
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Zack Baddorf on Green Beret Leadership Traits
Zack Baddorf is a public relations professional, multimedia reporter, and a strong supporter of the Green Beret Foundation.  Zack has spent more than a decade working in 30 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine and Kosovo. Zack recently spent a year working in Afghanistan as a videographer for Special Forces, so I thought his perspective on what he observed about those leaders would be insightful for our readers. I asked Zack, "What were the leadership characteristics of the Special Forces soldiers you observed?"  Also, "Did self reliance help SF soldiers lead in austere circumstances?"  You will see from his answers that what he observed are the leadership traits that are in great demand in civilian life as well!
Colorado's High Country - about 12,000 feet
Hearing the Unheard for Leaders
Doing the same thing over and over again.  Insanity or purposeful?  While choosing every step carefully carrying a 40-pound pack in Colorado's high country at an average of 12,000 feet, it was hard to think of anything except putting one foot in front of the other to accumulate the 18 miles that was the goal for each day.  It wasn't like I could contemplate much until I finished the route, because almost every step required some degree of concentration and thought.  When you're 20 miles from a jeep trail, with no cell phone signal, and averaging seeing three people a day, you can't afford to slip and twist an ankle!
Mike-Petschel
Generous Sponsors Make a Difference for One Special Veteran
The Self-Reliant Leadership Crucible™ expedition this fall is designed to transform leaders through adventure and adversity. The experience takes leadership abilities to new levels in an intense, dynamic and unpredictable environment that maps to today's challenging business environment. One of the participant's this year will be Mike Petschel. Mike is a veteran of the Iraq War, and the founder of CU's Boots to Suits program. He is now the Field Marketing Manager at Molson Coors doing great things internationally. I had the privilege to mentor Mike, and it's been extremely rewarding to see him thrive in his new role.
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When a leader’s presence feels like a gift
Every once in a while, you meet someone whose mere presence feels like a special gift.  Regina Ellis is the Founder and CEO of the Children Cancer Association (CCA) - the only organization of its kind in the nation. Regina established the non-profit in 1995 after her oldest daughter died of cancer at the age of five.  Regina's vision was to deliver joy to seriously ill children and teens when they need more than medicine. When I asked Regina about the one characteristic every leader should possess, she paused  for a long time to carefully consider her answer. 
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Ireland Course Finale
This year's students performed extraordinarily well working with five different start-up organization in Dublin this summer.
Final thoughts on the latest visit to Ireland
I am somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean reflecting on the two-week course we just ran for University of Colorado Denver business students in Ireland. I was listening to two songs that just seemed to typify what the students conveyed as their inspirational take-aways:
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Last Day in Ireland
Today we wrapped.  The student team debriefed each other on their project and leaders study experiences.  A key take-away was that marketing (i.e., truly understanding one's target market) is fundamental to start-ups and product development in general.  Marketing isn't just messaging or social media, but figuring out how (and whether) a commercialization opportunity actually exists.  We plan to record the student presentations on June 16th, and we'll post them so that those of you who can't attend can benefit from the student's experiences.
Start-ups in Ireland – Day 2

Last day working with the start-ups here in Ireland, and all the student group presented their final findings today.  I visited with two of the five students teams, and the first group was Billfaster.  Their work was basically focused on presenting a marketing overview to include a competitive overview.  

Start-ups in Ireland
I visited with three of the five students teams over here in Ireland working with start-up organizations.  The first was Groupnos in the Silicon Docks area in the Trinity Tower.  Enda Madden is the co-founder and CEO, and he's been extremely engaged with the students as they work through the project.  They're really getting a feel for how important focus is, and all the juggling that goes on with a start-up.  He's exposed them to how they manage projects, funding, development and marketing.  There products are designed to integrate with existing case management software and allow clinicians & case manager to track patient outcomes in real-time across a range of services including: mental health case management, employee assistance programs, substance abuse, chronic disease management, protective services, social work, and pharmaceutical clinical trials.
Catch-up Day in Ireland
Today is a Bank (or Public) Holiday here in Ireland - one of nine official holidays for the year.  There are a number of events going on in Dublin today, but the most visible one was all the women runners participating in various runs for different charitable causes.
Back to Dublin
Whilst running this morning in Belfast, I thought how it's a tale of two cities in so many ways.  Aside from the politics, I was again amazed at how quiet Belfast is in the morning, and how quickly the neighborhoods change from affluent, to middle class, to working class.  Here's a link to a 30-second video I took along the Peace Wall yesterday:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31zwAiteSrg We made our way back to Dublin, and the students are on their own today and tomorrow since it's a Bank Holiday here on Monday (akin to a 3-day weekend to start the summer).
Touring Belfast
Not a workday today, so we journeyed on the bus tour and got an excellent overview of the city.
Belfast Bound
We traveled from Dublin to Belfast today and were greeted by Norman Apsley who is the CEO of the Northern Ireland Science Park.  We first toured the Titanic dock and finally got a picture of all of us!
Dublin’s Silicon Docks
Quite a transformation is happening in Dublin thanks to Google, Facebook and other big tech names.  Sharon Daly recently wrote:  "Many of the new buildings at Grand Canal Docks were completed just as the 2007 financial crisis hit Ireland. This meant that many of these high-end buildings stood empty in the period of economic uncertainty that followed. Now, international investors are swooping in to buy prime office space in what is one of the most exciting technology and business hubs in Europe."  Click here to see a map of how big this really is!
Green Shoots in Ireland!
The students began their projects today in earnest.  I traveled around Dublin to visit each of the five, three-person teams as they got started, and I am humbled by the enthusiasm of the students, and the willingness of Irish entrepreneurial leaders to provide such a great learning opportunity for American students.
Memorial Day Speech from Gold Star Dad
Jeff Falkel delivered this speech to over 600 people in Irvine, California on Memorial Day, May 26, 2014.  I found his message of love to be powerful and moving, and received his permission to post it here: