How to Lead a Life of Significance With Chris Kolenda, Ph.D.
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 – More than 1.1 million American soldiers have died in wars fought since the United States declared independence in 1776. This Memorial Day, let’s reflect on the sacrifices made by those who served and their families.
In this episode, Jeremy Keil speaks with Chris Kolenda about how to lead a life of significance. Christopher D. Kolenda, a retired Army colonel and founder of the Strategic Leaders Academy, discusses his motivations for joining the Army, the importance of leading a life of significance, and what civilians can learn about leadership from warriors on the battlefield. He also touches on how studying history prepared him for his time in combat and reflects on what Memorial Day means to him, urging people to honor the troops who died under his command and those of other military leaders.
- Why he joined the Army
- What leading a life of significance means to him
- What civilians can learn about leadership from warriors on a battlefield
- How studying history prepared him for his time in combat
- What Memorial Day means to him and what we should think about while enjoying the Memorial Day Holiday
- How he honors the troops who died under his command and how you can too
- And more
How to Lead a Life of Significance
What does leading a life of significance mean?
Leading a life of significance means making a positive impact on the world around you. It means living a life that has purpose, meaning, and a sense of fulfillment. A significant life is one where you are actively working towards achieving your goals and making a difference in the lives of others.
A significant life doesn’t necessarily mean being famous or wealthy. It can be as simple as being a good parent, a supportive friend, or a dedicated employee. What matters most is that you are living a life that aligns with your values, beliefs, and goals.
For Chris Kolenda, serving in the Army and later founding the Strategic Leaders Academy to help solo practitioners and small business owners grow a meaningful, joyful, and profitable business gives him a sense of purpose.
What’s stopping people from leading a life of significance?
Chris Kolenda identifies two main things that stop people from leading a life of significance.
The first is not being mindful and self-aware of what their goals and values are. He emphasizes the importance of knowing oneself and understanding their natural superpowers. This can be achieved without having to meditate for long periods of time.
The second thing is risk aversion. People tend to stay in their comfort zones and avoid taking risks, even if they are not satisfied with their current situation.
The problem is that the path to transformation lies beyond the comfort zone, in the chaos zone. This can be scary and overwhelming, but with a guide and a plan, people can navigate through it and take the necessary risks to move forward.
What can we learn about leadership from warriors on a battlefield?
The lessons learned from warriors on a battlefield can be applied to leadership in any area of life. In order to be an effective leader, it is important to have character, competence, and caring.
Having strong character means being honest, trustworthy, and respectful towards others, and leading by example.
Competence is important because success depends on being able to execute tasks effectively and efficiently. To be competent, you must have the necessary skills and knowledge in your area of expertise, as well as the willingness to learn and adapt.
Finally, caring about the people you lead is crucial for leadership success. This means being empathetic, listening to their concerns, and offering support when needed. It also means being willing to make sacrifices for the greater good.
By embodying these three key lessons, a leader can build trust, inspire loyalty, and create a positive work environment where everyone can thrive.
To Sum it all up, leading a life of significance is about more than just achieving success or personal fulfillment. It’s about making a positive impact on the world around you and living a life that aligns with your values and goals.
To lead a life of significance, it is important to be mindful, self-aware, and willing to take risks outside of one’s comfort zone. Learning from warriors on a battlefield, effective leadership requires character, competence, and caring. By embodying these qualities, a leader can inspire trust, loyalty, and create a positive environment where everyone can thrive.
To learn more about leading a life of significance, check out the resources below!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or our guest, Chris Kolenda, using the contact information provided below!
- Zero-Sum Victory: What We’re Getting Wrong About War
- Leadership: The Warrior’s Art
- The Counterinsurgency Challenge: A Parable of Leadership and Decision Making in Modern Conflict by Chris Kolenda
- Retired U.S. Army colonel plans 1,700-mile bicycle trip to honor six paratroopers who died under his command
- AARP: Veteran Cyclist Rides 1,689 Miles to Honor Fallen Soldiers
- AARP on YouTube: Colonel Makes Powerful Honor Ride to His Soldiers’ Graves
- Episode 110: Honoring Service Members on Veterans Day With Dale Kooyenga
- Free Retirement Planning Video Course: 5stepretirementplan.com
- 3 Things You Should Know Before Choosing A Financial Advisor
- 7 Questions That Could Make or Break Your Retirement
- Subscribe to Retirement Revealed on Google Podcasts
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Connect With Chris Kolenda:
- Strategic Leaders Academy
- Saber Six Foundation
- LinkedIn: Chris Kolenda
Connect With Jeremy Keil:
- Keil Financial Partners
- LinkedIn: Jeremy Keil
- Facebook: Jeremy Keil
- LinkedIn: Keil Financial Partners
- Book a call with Jeremy
About Our Guest:
Christopher D. Kolenda currently serves as the Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security and the Founder of the Strategic Leaders Academy, helping solo practitioners and small business owners grow a meaningful, joyful, and profitable business. He is also the Senior Military Fellow at King’s College London.
A West Point graduate, internationally renowned combat leader, and retired Army colonel, Chris is known for his unique warrior-diplomacy. He defied conventional wisdom in Afghanistan by developing a strategy that motivated a large insurgent group to switch sides, the only example of such success in the 20-year history of the war. Unsatisfied with the complacency in the White House, State, and the Pentagon, Chris inspired change in the military’s strategy and got Defense officials on board to push for new diplomatic initiatives.
As a trusted advisor to three 4-star generals and two Secretaries of Defense, Chris became the first American to have both fought the Taliban as a commander in combat and negotiated successfully with them in peace talks. After resigning from the government, he brought the wisdom of warrior-diplomacy to the private sector, helping business leaders challenge conventional wisdom, imagine the future, and implement innovations that soar their businesses to new heights. Alan Weiss has selected Chris for his consulting Hall of Fame.
Chris holds a Master of Arts in European History from the University of Wisconsin, and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. He is also the author of several books, including Leadership: The Warrior’s Art, The Counterinsurgency Challenge, and Zero-Sum Victory: What We’re Getting Wrong About War.
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