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"Test Your Limits"

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Written by Pat Curran

Posted on 17 January 2018

Last Updated 17 January 2018



CG Pilot 1: This is Coast Guard 65-10. We’re going to make one more pass, then we got to get out of here.


CG Pilot 2: Wait! Wait! Wait! I got some guys on the helipad.


CG Pilot 1: Get that last guy loaded. We have got to go!!


CG Pilot 2: Hey, let’s go! What are you doing??



--Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, finding his purpose
in the movie “Man of Steel”
To see video, click here



So, are you ready to climb oil rigs, walk through fire, and hold back tons of steel on a collapsing platform? Yeah, me neither. The good news is that to be a hero you don’t have to. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you one of the great stories about Jay Leno.

It was the week after September 11, 2001, and it was the first “Tonight Show” that aired since the horrific events of that day. Humbled, Jay Leno began his show by telling a story. He explained that he felt what he did for a living was completely ridiculous and irrelevant after witnessing the first responders and volunteers digging through the rubble at Ground Zero looking for survivors.

He began by telling a story of when he was a Boy Scout growing up in Massachusetts. He wasn't a good scout, didn't get very many merit badges, but the Scout Master appointed him the troop's "Cheer Master." If another scout was sad or depressed, Leno's job was to cheer him up. Leno thought, "I could do that!" It certainly wasn't the most important job, but it enabled him to use his gifts and talents.

A lot of people watching that night were extremely grateful for Jay Leno and that Scout Master. A “Cheer Master” was exactly what the country needed at that moment and no one else could fill that void like Jay Leno could.

Being a hero is not complicated. A hero is simply a person who is willing to use their gifts like no one else can to help others. Take the time to assess all of your gifts and talents this week. Then, test your limits! Discover strengths you never knew you had. Be ready to be the hero you are meant to be.  

God Bless,



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Letters From Your Father –

“Enemies, Allies, and Confidants”

“My greatest triumph was at hand.
The final campaign in my long war against Superman…

While his powers were drained from constant battle I struck,
luring him from his self-imposed exile.

But my obsession blinded me
to Earth’s true enemy…”



DC Universe Online Trailer 2010 - Lex Luthor narrating

To view video, click here




Dear Girls:



Last week, I introduced you to some of the basics for how to innovate and act with a large organization. This week, I want to take this introduction to organizational leadership a few steps further. As a leader of leaders, you are going to deal with challenges with no clear answers. Even if there are answers, it may require external partnerships that few have the skills to manage. One such skill is engaging “Enemies, Allies, and Confidants.”


Generally, the average person sees the world from 1 of 2 perspectives. First, there is the classic view of good vs. evil. Although I believe that good and evil exist in the world, the challenge is that people constantly fight over the definition of both categories. They create complicated rules and purity tests, isolating a lot of good people from each other. The second perspective is called “moral relevancy” where nobody is right or wrong; we ought to just tolerate the behavior of others, even when we disagree about the morality of it. That is another popular but dangerous view that isolates us from our conscience. History has shown us that this view further elevates a culture of violence and self-interest, all in the pursuit of personal power.


As alternative view, consider seeing the world through the lens of “Enemies, Allies, and Confidants.” By knowing your core beliefs, values, and objectives, you can successfully engage others in partnerships and competition in order to solve big problems.


Here’s the framework. First, you have enemies. There are a few types. Enemies can simply be “Competitors” with similar values as you who desire the same things that you want. Treat this type of enemy with fairness and respect but always compete in a way that seeks nothing less than full victory. Next, you have “Sworn Enemies.” This group possesses different values than yours and is motivated beyond competing for scarce resources. They also want to destroy you because your values run contrary to theirs, and they cannot imagine a world where both can coexist. Whether it's a religious / ideological war, a small group setting at work, or in the high school cafeteria, the only way to contain these enemies is through strength. You cannot negotiate with a person or party who wants you dead or powerless. Finally, there are the “Sociopaths.” These are the self-interested, emotionless enemies with no sense moral responsibility or social conscience. Because they are typically weak, they often compete more like chess players waiting for opportunities to eliminate threats and control everything around them. Everything to them is business. Nothing, to include your extinction, is personal.

In the other two main categories, there are “Allies” and “Confidants.” “Allies” are those who, like “Competitors,” have similar beliefs and values. The difference is that mutual self-interest has you working together in order to gain something you could not do independently. Yesterday’s “Competitor” can be today’s “Ally,” depending on the situation. Finally, there is the “Confidant.” A “Confidant” is someone who has wisdom you do not have, and you trust with your life. If there is one thing to remember about the “Confidant” it is that there are very few people on the planet that can ever fill this role. The biggest mistake in managing relationships with “Enemies, Allies, and Confidants” is when you confuse an “Ally” for a “Confidant.” Make this mistake, and you will get burned! You will be betrayed.


Now that you know the categories, let’s discus how to engage. There are 4 main levers of power to use:


  • Diplomacy – Negotiate with allies and enemies to maximize benefits and mutual self-interest on a range of topics, but not at the expense of your values. Explore their interests and generate whatever legitimate options possible to further strengthen your position


  • Information – Leverage all means of media and information technology to infiltrate other groups, to shape perception, and to amplify key messages that serve your interests; gain access to secrets and create firewalls to safe guard critical information others should not know about you and your organization


  • Military – Be ready to defend yourself from attack; have the ability to win “wars” decisively, if required. When winning, use your leverage to negotiate a fair and lasting peace. That’s what makes us and our values different. Only engage in head-to-head conflict as last resort.


  • Economic – Provide incentives for partnerships, not only financial, but anything of value and receive a net gain from the relationship; ensure there are disincentives for actions you do not support.


To engage in external partnerships effectively, you must first have a grand strategy for what you want to achieve. With that grand strategy in mind, use your 4 levers of power and moral compass to achieve your goals. When possible, use these levers in a way that is undetectable. Keep a certain mystery about yourself. Seek first to “grow the pie” and increase benefits for you and all you work with. If conflict seems unavoidable, use your 4 levers to foil plots, disrupt alliances, and influence opinion leaders to exude maximum leverage against your enemies. No one lever is more important than the others; each has their separate function and must work in concert with the grand strategy. If you get obsessed with a single lever and/or minimize the others (e.g. military or diplomacy), you risk being blind to new enemies who will exploit gaps.


Yes, external stakeholders will generally have different interests, values, and motivations than you and your organization. Hey… The world is a tough place! As matter of natural law, your competitors’ interests in surviving / thriving far out-weigh any feeling of obligation to satisfy your needs. But, if you know how to manage these relationships and seek opportunities to collaborate on very large issues, you may be able to accomplish things that few could ever think possible. As I’ve gotten older, I am starting to think that God designed our world this way for a reason. There is something to learn from all of this.

I hope this introduction to organizational leadership exposes you to new ways of thinking that is difficult to find in a single textbook. Next week, we return to exploring the depths of human resiliency with what I call “5-Dimensional Thinking.”



Love You Forever,




Book: The Art of War by Sun Tzu – Translated by Thomas Cleary
Book: Victory Secrets of Attila the Hun by Wess Roberts, PhD.
Book: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Book: Managing at the Speed of Change by Daryl R. Conner
Book: Leadership on the Line - Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading by Martin Linsky and Ronald A. Heifetz




This Week in Training

“The Man in Black”


"Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have somber tone.
Well there’s a reason for the things that I have on…"

Johnny Cash singing “The Man in Black”

To listen to rest of the song, click here

As another one of my training rituals, I wear lots of black during the early stages of my training. As the season moves on, I remove some to signify the light that is beginning to burn from within. But there is always black. Why? To keep me grounded. Yes, I wear it to morn loss, but I also wear it because I am a believer that new life can rise from the ashes of the old.

I’ve found that when you test your limits and practice shining the light of courage on the things holding you back, nearly all of them evaporate with time and effort. As for the remaining, you begin to gain knowledge on how to manage them, so they stop clouding other aspects of your life.

With that in mind, here’s this week’s workout plan. It’s getting “tough.” Continue to be creative in finding new ways to endure. 
Monday:         Swim 20 x 100m; Run 2 x 400m 12 x 200m
Tuesday:       Bike 90 min; Run 60 min
Wednesday: Swim 2 x 800m; Bike 1 hr 45 min
Thursday:     Swim Drills & 15 x 50m; Bike 45 min (Drills)
Friday:           Bike 3.5 hrs; Run 35 min
Saturday:       Run 1 hr 45 min
Sunday:        Long stretch / Core Strength Training
*Core strength training includes chin-ups, push-ups, planks, rock wall climbing
**Stretch 30 min each day to “injury-proof” and avoid becoming “brittle”

Tip of the week:
This week, we’re focusing on maximizing technique for 56-mile bike. This is the longest part of the triathlon and is very important to master in order to be prepared to transition for 13.1 mile run as the final part of the race.

Before diving into the bike workouts this week, I recommend taking a look at the following short videos. Then, use every ride to tighten up technique and maximize nutrition planning to finish the race strong!

  • Check seated position, click here
  • Watch peddling demonstration, click here
  • Learn details about efficient peddling, click here
  • Incorporate single leg bike drills, click here
  • Tips for mastering gear selection, click here
  • Bike Hydration / Nutrition, click here

For full School of Tri Video Collection, click here