Thank YOU!

Hey, GLC followers! A big month for Bill and me as our book, The Leadership Killer: Reclaiming Humility in an Age of Arrogance, was officially released on October 30th. The book launch team did an outstanding job and the process has been fun to watch! I recently returned from Bangor, ME where I did a book signing event at Husson University. It was an awesome trip and I’m very grateful to the 100+ Bangorians who came out for the event and bought books. Thank You!!

I enjoyed every minute of my time in the Navy, and if they allowed it, I’d go back and do it all again!

On Veterans Day, I typically have a lot of family and friends text, email, or personally tell me “Thank You” for my 31+ years of military service. I’ve always felt awkward when they do because I don’t quite know how I should respond back to them…if at all. I’m extremely appreciative that they both remember and recognize my time in the Navy, and I usually respond back with something witty or prophetic like “You’re Welcome” or “Easy Day.” But the truth is that I’ve never felt that anyone had to thank me. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the Navy, and if they allowed it, I’d go back and do it all again!

As I mentioned in my December 2017 blog, I loved being deployed during Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. “Why” you may ask? And the only answer I can think of is that deep down inside of me it just felt right. To me, I was with “family.” I was with my platoon and/or working with fellow servicemembers, doing whatever job we were assigned in defense of the greatest country in the world. What else can be more noble or honorable? To me…absolutely nothing!

As a deployed leader, I also felt it was vitally important that I devoted extra attention to the morale of my subordinates and co-workers during the holidays, many of whom did not feel the same as I did, but ultimately recognized that being overseas was part of the job they volunteered for.

Now there were indeed some perks to being deployed or stationed overseas during the holidays. The care packages from home and friends were more frequent and often contained a bit more of the goodies we couldn’t get overseas. Additionally, the base morale and recreation leadership worked tirelessly to make us all feel like we were home, adorning the base facilities and buildings with plenty of holiday decorations, frills, and wintery trim! Extra attention was always given to the dining facility, where there was no shortage of wintery bells and whistles displayed, and never was one lacking for great food and holiday sweets!

Holiday dinner setting

As a deployed leader, I also felt it was vitally important that I devoted extra attention to the morale of my subordinates and co-workers during the holidays, many of whom did not feel the same as I did, but ultimately recognized that being overseas was part of the job they volunteered for. I did my best to ensure that every member of my command had a place to go for a holiday dinner, and we even had “White Elephant” types of gift exchanges so that every command member got a present of some kind. These simple events were critical to individual morale and command “esprit de corps,” and helped to take away a little bit of the natural loneliness folks felt being far away from home.

Coach’s tip(s) for this month: Reach out to one of your local veterans organizations/USO and see what you can do to support our deployed servicemembers. Consider sending a care package.

Finally, recognize the families of those overseas. The upcoming holidays are naturally a stressful time for most but think of the added worry of those having a loved one deployed to some remote location, helping to keep this country and its citizens safe. It’s not easy. Thank them and make sure they are doing OK! Heck, better than OK!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

About John Havlik

CAPT John “Coach” Havlik, U.S. Navy SEAL (Retired), led special operations teams around the world during his 31-year naval career, to include the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the SEAL’s most elite operational unit. CAPT Havlik was a nationally-ranked swimmer, and is a member of the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame and Mountaineer Legends Society. @CoachHavlik www.CoachHavlik.com

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