Showing posts from 2012

Celebration Day: Reflections of 2012

Hello all, it's been a hot minute since we've just chatted. This past year we've discussed numerous subjects ranging from my travels throughout the US and Israel, leadership and personal development ideas, meditations on being an ethical protector, thoughts about some of the darker side of humanity regarding protecting self and others from various forms of violence and finally path notes of mental chatter as we wind down this rambling road called life together. That said, I am sitting here reflecting on this past year, as well as some years prior and of course, the year to come, as I watch Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day, the latest cd/dvd pack from their 2007 London performance. If you are a Zep fan (or want to be) I would recommend that you pick it up!

Ahhhh 2012... Don't get me wrong, it wasn't without its challenges (some bigger than others) but overall, I have no complaints. I am surrounded by people who inspire me; I am following my bliss and seeing more …

Give Me The Courage To Change The Things I Can

Arbor Circle Grand Rapids, MI
I was hoping that my last blog post about the tragedy in Connecticut wouldn't be followed up so soon by yet another tragic event that has impacted our community so greatly. The incident that occurred a few days ago (December 17th, 2012) at Arbor Circle mental health clinic here in Grand Rapids Michigan when a 27 year old man shot and killed two acquaintances who had drove him to his therapy session. After the man got out of his counseling meeting he got into the car that drove him there and shot the two women that drove him to his appointment then turned the pistol on himself. When the police arrived at the scene the two women were already dead and the shooter, still alive was rushed to hospital where he died shortly after. Read the story here on WZZM 13.

Due to the shooting at the Newtown Connecticut school this recent event seems to have struck an already sensitive nerve in all of us in the Grand Rapids community. Some find their feelings to be ove…

When Words Aren't Enough

Words cannot begin to describe my feelings toward the tragedy that happened at the Newtown Connecticut Elementary school on December 14th, 2012. My sincere condolences go out to those families and loved ones who lost someone that they loved. I can't even imagine what those poor families are going through, it tears me up inside thinking about it. I'm sure you parents out there are both grateful and fearful. Grateful for your children being safe and fearful hoping that it never happens to your family. Even a single incident like this is one too many, however the world is no stranger to violence and violence will continue to plague our human condition as it always has. In its wake it will leave people afraid, confused and in search for meaning, answers, security and comfort. Each of us will come to various conclusions on how to deal with our feelings of vulnerability to the uncertainties our world brings us. Each of us will think of ways to protect ourselves; those we love; the …

The Leader, The Bully, The Bystander

It's a hot day on the Savanna you and your antelope friends are hot and thirsty so you decide to go to the local watering hole and wet your whistles. You all approach the water to get a drink when seemingly out of nowhere there is a rustle of leaves and sharp yelp as Antelope Bob gets attacked and dragged away by hungry lion. As Bob is getting dragged away to his untimely antelope doom, many things are going on in you and all of your antelope friend's heads: Bob doesn't need help, he'll get away; someone else will surely help Bob; I can't help, I don't know the first thing about rescuing antelope; I would help, but I'm in a hurry to get my antlers looked at; Bob should have been more careful; Bob was asking for it, he should have been more prepared; It's survival of the fittest and, well, let's just say Bob wasn't the brightest bulb; (feeling a bit guilty) boy, I'll sure miss Bob, but I'm glad it wasn't me!
This phenomenon is call t…

The Hero's Journey

Joseph Campbell has been one of my un-met mentors ever since I first heard him on Bill Moyers The Power of Myth interview. I first saw the series in 1988 about a year after Campbell's death and I have been hooked ever since. Campbell helped me to clarify and define my perspective toward training, teaching and my life's journey. His words added the fuel I needed to ignite my life's passion. His perspective resonated in me and added the depth needed to take my training and teaching to a deeper level. He is responsible for helping me begin to understand humanities connection to something deeper; my connection to humanity and things bigger than ourselves, things that are felt but difficult to articulate. The Hero's Journey for me was a Warrior's Journey, a Protector's Journey. A journey that cut through relative differences to a deeper Universal Value. Joe was one of my first mentor's on this path I am still traveling on today. A mentor who still speaks to me …

The Masks We Wear

Fall, the season when there is a crispness in the air, the smell of Autumn replaces the dog days of summer, leaves turn the trees to a beautiful canopy of color and of course Halloween! My favorite holiday. Halloween is the one time of the year when people put on masks to become someone (or something) else for a night, right? Well, not exactly... You see we all wear masks everyday; behavioral masks. Masks that we learned to use to manage our world. Masks, that many people are not conscious of wearing. These masks are worn seemingly to protect us in some way. Early in life we developed a habit to put them on to deal with our feelings, to deal with other people, and to deal with situations. These masks are not necessarily good or bad, but our habit can sometimes be hazardous if we've developed unhealthy ways of dealing with emotions, people or circumstances. On the other side of the coin, when we deal with other people it is too easy to no longer see the person (Life Value) behind …

The Key to Success

Warrior Dash 2012 - Finish Line Andy Veen & Craig Gray

There was a young man who wanted to be successful in life, so he went to this old guru who was very successful at everything he did and asked him how he did it. The guru said to meet him on the beach at 6am the next day and he'd show him how to be successful. So, next morning the young man dresses in his best clothes and meets the guru on the beach at 6 am.

The old man grabs on to the young mans hand and asked, "How bad do you want to be successful?"

The young man says, "really bad."

So the old man takes the young man by the hand and wades waist deep out into the morning surf. The young man is thinking, this old man is crazy, I want to be successful, not learn how to swim! But he humors the old man because he wants to know how he became so successful.

The old man goes out deeper in the water and says "come out a little further."  So the young man does. Now the water is up to his chest and the…

Ethics and the Ethical Warrior

Guest blog post by John Kowalski - Visit his websit at

Ethics are a funny thing. Defined as 1) moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity; and 2) the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.

Huh? Still not sure what that means. A couple weekends ago I got the privilege to attend a workshop by Ronin Empowerment Group that featured Jack Hoban of Resolution Group International (RGI) on the subject of the Ethical Warrior. Jack served as a US Marine Corps officer and is a long time practitioner of martial arts. He assisted in the creation of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and remains a subject matter expert for the program. He has led more than 500 workshops and seminars around the world addressing universities, government and private organizations on ethics and martial arts, including the FBI and the NYPD.

A good reminder for all of us and Jack’s definitions definitely outline a clear understanding of th…

Ethical Leadership Expert Comes to Grand Rapids

Conflict, bullying, and unethical leadership is rampant in today's society. We see this all around us, it's in our government, at our jobs and in our schools. Many people are upset and angry. We often feel helpless and don't know what to do, so most don't do anything except complain. Sometimes we believe that our hands are tied, thinking that there is no way we can help. Or worse, you feel that there is something that you would like to do, but you don't have the resources to do it. Well, Jack Hoban, Resolution Group International and Ronin Empowerment Group are trying to help make a difference by offering a FREE Ethical Leadership Presentation and book signing on Saturday, August 25th from 10am until 11:30am here in Grand Rapids, MI. *Registration is required to attend (see below).

Jack will be sharing ideas from his new book The Ethical Warrior. He will explain revolutionary concepts regarding cross cultural conflict management and leadership that can change the …

Conflict is Your Choice

Is there an argument if only one person chooses to argue, rant and rave? We have to remember that conflict is more about deciding what YOU are going to do, how YOU choose to respond and less about what the other person is doing. Yes, a conflict involves a relationship of sorts, however how you choose to engage has more to do with the outcome than most people realize. Too often we enter into a conflict in a heightened state of emotion that tries to make our decision for us regarding how to address the situation. In order to be tactical we have to be in control of our emotions. Be the "eye of the storm" so to speak. Although it is natural to feel emotion, it does not benefit us to let our emotions control us to the point that we are allowing them to make unhealthy or unsafe decisions on our behalf.

Some tips when it comes to conflict:

See Conflict as an Opportunity to learn. At the very least learn from a tactical perspective; learn who or what you are dealing with.

Know what T…

Between Self & Others

I observed an interesting phenomenon recently. It all started when I received an email from Franklin Fudail. Mr. Fudail was inquiring about a women's assault prevention workshop that I teach called Her Survival Guide.  (HSG is a program that I've been teaching all over the United States for more than two decades now.) 

Franklin introduced his organization and explained what and why they were doing what they were doing. He said that he had been following me and my organizations for some time and liked what I was up to. Then he asked how much I charged to teach the workshop. Although now that I teach conflict management for a living I do charge for my services, however I still think it is important to donate time to those in need, it helps them and it helps me too. So, I dedicate a certain amount of hours to serve my fellow brothers and sisters out there. I try to pay it forward a little when I can. Most of it goes unseen by many, which is good, because as NYFD hero Capt. Pat Br…

The Tactic of the Technique is the Ethic

Written by James Morganelli

"All actions derive from philosophy."
                       ~ Ancient Greek saying

"Even if unsure what that philosophy is."
                                             ~ Jack Hoban
Well, it's been a week since I dropped Jack Hoban off at the airport - everything before that is a blur. The annual ILEETA (International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association) conference, annual Chicagoland Buyu Workshop, the new RGI Tactical Maneuver video shoot, candid talk and training (and steaks!) with Jack - the Ethical Warrior himself - not to mention my first ever experience of the man behind the man, the late Dr. Robert Humphrey, Jack's mentor. Arguably, the most profound moment of our time together.

It is no coincidence that members of ILEETA, as well as some of the most prestigious tactical trainers and experts in the field today, showed up to hear and promote Jack on his Ethical Warrior(EW) presentation and mi…

Evolve, Connect, Inspire: A Heart-Centered Approach to Business & Life

Written by John Kowalski  - Babicita onMay 1, 2012 -  Re-posted from

Throughout my career, predominantly made up of marketing agencies, corporate communications and consulting, the primary driver of ethics was always front and center. But over the years I’ve learned that simple ethics aren’t enough. Not enough for business. Not enough for me personally. Not enough for the world. We can do better.

I heard this said the other day after an injustice “It’s just business, Kelly… It’s just business.” Bullshit. Businesses running with that mindset are dinosaurs. Those days are long gone and if they aren’t evolving (quickly), they will be left behind. We are entering the democratic age and business now is shifting to the heart. Loyalty, productivity, talent attraction and retention, creativity and innovation, customer preference, community and the bottom line. It’s the right thing to do on every level.

Many years ago I had the privilege of working with Fred Kell…