The 14 Leadership Disciplines!

The 14 Leadership Disciplines!

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the 14 leadership disciplines, except this time in lower case

these 14 lighthouses will guide you home,

and keep your airspeed & momentum rockin’

all so you can thrive in <chaos@








  1. JOY: always go straight to the very best in everything; go straight to the best in every single situation, go straight to the best in every single one you meet… including yourself!
    1. the hard part for me is looking for the best within myself & my work as well; so don’t forget to celebrate even your smallest-seeming wins, and do this every day as a gift to all of us, because there aren’t enough finish lines to sustain your energy on this long journey of life 
    1. Thucidydes “the secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage” 
  2. ENTHUSIASM: focus all of your energy & your strength of will on whatever task you’re doing; besides it being the only way to consistently win, it shows respect to all present, and it is positively contagious! I am so corny with the exclamation points, I know, but trust me, this enthusiasm thing is magic. no punctuation necessary what
  3. TRUST: grant trust to others through giving them the exhilarating freedom of autonomous decision-making… remember it is always their choice to follow you or listen to what you’re teaching! to earn trust remember to enter Yoda’s C.A.I.V. of Fear with the courage to be>>>
    1. cleverly Consistent (a great leader/teacher never gets angry; always be patient with your students!)
    2. admirably Authentic (people won’t trust you if you’re pretentious or you think you’re ‘better’ than them),
    3. impressively & intentionally keepin’ watertight Integrity (always keep your thoughts+words+deeds tightly aligned!),
    4. valiantly, virtuously, & veraciously Vulnerable (remember being vulny is NOT equivalent to wack ass weakness, ‘gettin’ all vulny with it’ is a genuine way to be relatable; a genuine way to teach, lead, and talk to people as equals is to drop any ‘perfect’ facade and instead let them know your hard-earned lessons learned! they will be grateful, and you will be legit connected!)
  4. COURAGE: to ride the wind proudly, proclaiming your values, beliefs, and preferences for all to see & hear… the courage to be disliked, to be different, to take a stand for what you believe, to defend others, to make mistakes & keep learning, to fall explosively and pick yourself back up, to heal yourself, to heal others, to try something ADVENTUROUS!!! 
    1. “Life is either a daring adventure… or it is nothing” – Helen Keller
  5. ACCEPTANCE: ~~~surfers don’t yell at the waves for not waving~~~ they just laugh and go to another spot! And so we should learn from them and never get angry! Don’t get furious, get CURIOUS!
    1. Acceptance is a 3-tined-fork, very similar to the leadership discipline of JOY: seek to perpetually find acceptance for 3 things; <1> the situation, <2> yourself, and <3> everyone you encounter during the day!
    2. “Great leaders may have gruff, demanding, uncompromising exteriors, but deep down the greatest leaders have an UNQUALIFIED ACCEPTANCE & EMPATHY for their teams” – Robert Greenleaf, the Servant as Leader
    3. The highest forms of acceptance are: gratitude, patience, and FLEXIBILITY!
  6. FORGIVENESS: Toni Morrison says it best when she encourages all you land-locked, surface-dwellers: “if you wanna fly, you have to let go of the sh!t that weighs you down!” Seek to find instant forgiveness, for everyone, including yourself. You are going to make so many mistakes in this leadership game, you add so much unnecessary drag to your aircraft if you choose to carry grudges around with you everywhere. This includes grudges against yourself.
    1. Do everyone around you a giant favor and constantly remind yourself that people are generally doing their best
    2. accept them, flaws and all
    3. forgive them, (although this is more ‘for’ the ‘giver’, you!)
    4. teach them (if possible and appropriate),
    5. and then speak no more of it, and try your very best to do this entire forgiveness thing with enthusiasm!
  7. GENEROSITY: Aristotle discovered ‘DYNAMIS & ENERGEIA were the keys to a fulfilling life! I would have called bs, but I found the leadership discipline of generosity to be the only thing that would reliably bring me joy when I was homeless. So listen up haters, this isn’t just sunshine stuff. This is the real deal!
    1. DYNAMIS is the process of discovering your your unique skills, talents, & aptitudes, and this is a blast.
    2. ENERGEIA is the process of resourcefully and generously sharing your unique skills, talents, & aptitudes. I guess that is why he made such a big deal about finding out your unique skills, talents, & aptitudes…so you could use your unique skills, talents, & aptitudes (I promise I won’t say it again) to make the world a better place in a lasting way by creating systems!
  8. CREATIVITY: the ability to make something victorious, something impactful, something beautiful… out of whatever MacGyver stuff you happen to have laying around. “For the person with creative potential, there is no wholeness except in using it.” – Robert Greenleaf, The Servant as Leader
    1. IMPORTANT NOTE: everyone has creative potential… and this is a wonderful thing! please don’t ignore yours, as it is a powerful way to express yourself, a clever-mostly-ignored way to heal, and maybe most importantly a sublime way to discover SELF-AWARENESS…
  9. SELF-AWARENESS: maybe you’ve heard of Sun Tzu, my guy! He was talking about this SELF-AWARENESS thingie a looooong time ago, something about how ‘if you knew yourself and the enemy, in a thousand battles you’d never be defeated…’ …guess that sounds important then. Let’s study it, embrace it, and find out just how many seats it takes to fill Albert Hall. This is a Beatles joke, if you hate music, and don’t like the Beatles for some reason. It’s ok, I hated the Beatles forever, just because my Mom LOVED them when I was a little boy. Then I found a slice o’ self-awareness, and in the haze clearing clarity I found so many things and people and places and concepts that I LOVED… it gave me the airspeed & momentum I needed to finally break free of the black hole of 24/7 fear & anxiety. So ya know, maybe this one is important too.
    1. Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves.” – Blaise Pascal.
    2. Take the time it takes to do this; discipline your mind every day. It matters. It will set you free in ways I can’t describe.
    3. Also check out the book The Four Fold Way by Angeles Arrien; it details the collective indigenous people of the world’s wise understanding of the four components of a powerful leader: the WARRIOR, the TEACHER, the HEALER, and the VISIONARY. Check this one out, trust me!
  10. INTUITION: can you imagine how phenomenal it feels to be so connected to your fighter jet that you can feel the wind buffeting against the wings, and you can spidey-sense what happens before it even happens? you can wear the mask too if you seek to master your profession, and it actually really doesn’t matter what the profession is, as long as you are dedicated to mastering it>>>> FOUR STEPS TO MASTERY OF ANY THING <<<<
    1. step 1: to MEMORIZE… if you don’t know the 14 leadership disciplines by heart, and if you can’t recite them while bouncing a tennis ball, then you don’t know them! The unrelenting chaotic moments are so quick and savage when they arrive, always helpfully unannounced; if you don’t know exactly where your instruments are in the dark, you are starting off at a severe disadvantage. And yes, I love semi-colons; and exclamation points. The more the better. So please stop messaging me about this, hah!
    2. step 2: to LEARN by DOING, with CURIOSITY + HUMILITY + ENTHUSIASM… experiment in the field, and get feedback from every source possible to consider a tweak!
    3. step 3: to TEACH courageously & creatively, with PATIENCE + HUMILITY + EMPATHY… crafting your own lightsaber… seek to explain all concepts 5 different ways, or you don’t really know how to teach it!
    4. step 4: to MASTER a thing is to EMBODY it… to be it! 
      1. “The most perfect technique is that which is not noticed at all!” – Pablo Casals
  11. VISION: i have discovered the best leaders are teachers & artists, creators & challengers, and they all continuously look to communicate their vision in more impactful ways*!
    1. * ways = that inspire & sustain the team’s energy & focus on long journeys.
  12. IMAGINATION: my guy Einstein was frequently found to be fond of saying that logic will take you from A to B, but IMAGINATION will take you everywhere!
    1. Charles Beaudelaire once also observed: genius is childhood recalled at will, finding a way to return to a state of mind that is temporarily open & free to any possibility!
    2. what this means is NOT breaking rules of safety to be a reckless renegade .. but recklessly breaking all ASSUMPTIONS when solving a problem…innovation requires an absence of fear and unproductive stress
    3. which is where the leadership & culture is so critical; it MUST BE OK TO MAKE MISTAKES (culture = courage + acceptance + forgiveness + empathy blend!)
  13. EMPATHY: life is a pleasant sea breeze when you leave everyone you encounter AT EASE with all the E’s
    1.  Encouraged, Empowered, & hopefully Enlightened!
    2. “being an ally means it is always OUR problem, and never THEIR problem!”
    1. Everyone is a genius, but judge a fish on ability to climb a tree & it will live its life believing it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein, >infinity looP intentional<
  14. WISDOM: the ability to be kind & generous with your unique gifts, to everyone you encounter, with no expectations in return, and no exceptions for anything! this is incredibly difficult to do, but rewarding like nothing you’ve ever experienced; always remember to do your checklist and perform your ICS CHECK (in the F-14 Tomcat this meant Intercom System Check, our internal radio communication between the RIO and the Pilot; this must occur before each & every flight!)
    1. Inner Conflict,
    2. current Scenario, or!
    3. Challenging Historical Experiences of Consequence (that sucK)
    4. none of these are valid excuses for being rude or aggressive with people; always seek to be genuinely kind & generous to everyone you encounter along the wacky & wild road of every day life.

I know these might seem over the top idealistic, especially to all the pessimists, but when you can truly-for-reelzies embody ANY of these, even for a second, your life will get so unexpectedly & shockingly suddenly beautiful, oh I can’t wait for you to find out for yourself.

Good hunting on your flight paths to all my fellow warriors, all my fellow teachers, all my fellow healers, and all my fellow visionaries, always love & respect to you, wherever you ride. As you travel, I hope these bring you the same insightful joy as they have me.

Forever your wingman, Dave


  • ps; a few notes before I forget!

    1. please don’t ever edit this page! there are many variations of the way I write up the 14, but this one was created at a special moment in time and it would be so cool if this version could stay “as is”… this why I’m writing a note down here, instead of editing!
    2. the bulk of the secrets to JOY can be attributed to my guy Balthasar Gracian, and his must-read book “The Art of Worldly Wisdom”… hmmm now that I think about it maybe he’s upset with me for not quoting him under WISDOM. But he wrote a book on wisdom so he’s probably really cool, like the surfer turtles in Finding Nemo!
    3. Speaking of WISDOM, I have a slight rewording but it’s important: WISDOM is the ability to LEARN & TEACH from everyone you meet, by being kind & generous with your gifts & by embodying the 14 leadership disciplines.

    It’s the learning & the teaching that’s so important; what made me realize this was Jony Ives article in the WSJ October 2021: he said that Steve Jobs would complain about faulty thinking the same way we would complain about a sprained ankle!

    A failure to adhere to the 14 leadership disciplines will result in suboptimal thinking = thinking that restricts your ability to learn from everyone around you, and thinking that restricts your ability to learn & teach in every single situation you encounter on your long journey!

    Ok hopefully this extra puzzle piece is helpful >>> always love & respect! – Dave


    • Shoot it is JONY IVE, not “Ives”… errrr

      Also! One more important quote I learned from watching the ‘Dave Chappelle Gets the Mark Twain Prize for Comedy Special Show, or some unnecessarily long titled documentary on NFLX: “it took me forever to learn how to play like MYSELF” – Miles Davis

      One more bonus quote, because if one is good, then shouldn’t two be Sublime? Sublime is capitalized because of the band, check em out!

      “Your need for acceptance can make you INVISIBLE in this world” – Jim Carrey; have the COURAGE to roll around this world proudly & authentically who you are … AND have the EMPATHY to always learn how you might leave everyone better off than when you found them, in a way that THEY LOVE, not in the way that YOU LOVE! This sounds like a subtle nuance, but it’s the key to all relationships… don’t forget this one it’s impregnated! And IMPORTANT! Don’t you just love the mischievous autocorrect guy inside your phone?


  • Awesome and inspiring read! I will do myself the favor of coming here often, until these principles are not only memorized, but embodied! Thanks Dave. I needed this today and every day going forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow thank you so much Danee!!! They really have helped my life explode with amazingness and I’m exhilarated to hear you’re enjoying them too! Please pass along to anyone they are a gift to the entire world!

      “A leader’s true mission is to create more leaders”


  • Love these!! Such great skills to use not only for leadership but as a way to make your life more enjoyable too!! I will be coming back to read these quite often. If you’re looking for happiness and success, applying these skills is a great way to help anyone to pave their own way there.

    Liked by 1 person

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