Lead with Liberty’s mission is “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof ~ Lev XXV X” (inscription on the Liberty Bell). Along my leadership journey, I have experienced true liberty as a leader and have a passion to encourage others to seek and experience the same freedom in their own lives.
The core of Lead with Liberty is my story and the events of December 14, 1997. That day I witnessed the deaths of my pregnant wife Jenny and five-year old son Danny in a single-vehicle accident during a military move. In the aftermath, I saw firsthand the difference that positive leadership made for me as an instant single parent to a three-year old daughter and nine-month old son.
Days after being commissioned as a U.S Marine Second Lieutenant, a mentor advised me, “Danny, pay attention to every leader with whom you serve. You can learn as much from the bad ones as the good ones.” After seeing the impact of incredibly positive leadership from the Commandant of the Marine Corps on down the chain of command after the December 1997 accident, I began to intently study leadership by observing over 300 leaders – from the U.S. and 21 other countries – during my service in the Marine Corps.
Along my leadership journey, I wrestled with the realization that I didn’t know who I was and that I was bound up in figurative prisons: being a workaholic, defining myself by what I did, and by seeking affirmation from others. In turn, I now have rock-solid answers to the questions: “Who are you?” and “What are you doing here?” and “Whose applause are you seeking?”
Many leaders do not truly know who they are and, thus, significantly hamper their ability to lead themselves which will cause their teams or organizations to reach a plateau instead of continually improving. Thus they have not dealt with the foundational principle of Marine Corps leadership: “Know yourself and seek improvement.”
After 21 years as a Marine, I believe the key to leading effectively is to lead with liberty. For example:
Freedom from the burden of busyness.
Freedom from an obsessive need to prove or please.
Freedom for balancing relationships with productivity.
Freedom for accepting personal responsibility to address challenges head-on.
As a motivational and inspirational speaker, my story has encouraged many different audiences: suicide prevention training, leaders seeking what is truly important, and business leaders facing challenging times. Your organization or team will see quickly that I’m on-site to serve them and be completely transparent about the lessons learned of what works and doesn’t work as a leader – even admitting when I made mistakes. I am more concerned about serving and encouraging other leaders than boosting my ego.