Author Interviews

Would You Take A “Tactical Pause” To Become A Better Leader?

Do you know what Special Forces Operators, NASA Astronauts, Deep Sea Divers, and Experimental Test Pilots all have in common?

They have the internalized motivational drive to plan, lead, and succeed in the face of any challenge and despite all odds.

Traits like these give them the ability to achieve great and meaningful things in life, the likes of which most of us dream of but believe are impossible and beyond our reach. Yet the truth is, you can achieve these things too, you just have to KNOW you can.

Consider this…

Close your eyes for a minute and image you’re standing on a beach at the edge of the water, looking out over the horizon in the distance… Just beyond the horizon rests a mountain of opportunity, ready and waiting for you to show up and accept its challenges, whereby upon high can be found the success you dream of. Yet to reach that success, you must cross a sea filled with adversity, brave harsh storms, tread rough valleys, climb the mountain, and overcome all the hardships along the way.

What’s the lesson here?

There exists no success without great effort to achieve it.

This is the lesson those Operators, Astronauts, Divers, and Pilots had to learn and internalize within themselves, in order to develop the mindset that allows them to attain their hopes and dreams, and accomplish great and meaningful things.

Tactical Pause gives you real-life Combat Veteran mentorship to accelerate
your growth, fine tune your potential, and develop the very same highly motivated mindset that those Operators, Astronauts, Divers, and Pilots use to succeed!

This is 90 Days of real-life combat veteran-based mentorship intended to motivate, inspire, and guide you along your journey toward purpose-driven
self-betterment, written to help you learn and develop the same Mentality of Exceptionalism that motivates and inspires the BEST Leaders on the planet to grow themselves and their teams, to Lead from the Front, and accomplish great and meaningful things.

Congrats on your new book Tactical Pause! Can you tell me a little bit about your book?
Absolutely, and thank you. Tactical Pause: For Daily Growing Leaders, is a 90-day personal and professional development guide specifically designed to engage the reader in the process of individual growth and self betterment, which is at the core of leadership development and potential. The book was developed through research in the science of leadership, and combined with years of real-life experience in personal and professional development, and leadership development, engagement, and application spanning some of the harshest, most dynamic and challenging environments on the planet, and written in a manner to teach, coach, mentor, and guide the reader through a progressive series of concepts intended to help them grow. Each chapter (day) is meant to be read in succession one day at a time, and are specifically designed to be short introductions to concepts, thoughts, and ideas, for the reader to engage in critical self-evaluation and consideration.

The lessons imparted in each chapter are based on the same core values, attributes, and traits all military service members are supposed learn, develop, and internalize over time throughout their careers in order to become highly successful members of dynamic, high-performance teams, capable of excelling in any assignment and achievement despite any adversity. Instilling the meaning of core values, developing intestinal fortitude, understanding communicational dispositions, seeking mentorship and life-long learning, and maintaining a “can-do” attitude despite facing great trials and hardships, are a fraction of the 90 different mentorship topics contained within. The idea is that the reader will read one day at a time, preferably in the morning, and engage critically with the lesson presented in honest personal reflection and evaluation throughout the rest of the day. Over the course of the book, the hope is that the reader will see growth over time, and develop a habit of seeking continuous growth and self- betterment thereafter. This process is the foundation of leadership development, and ultimately achievement and success in whatever endeavors the individual seeks out in both their career and throughout life.

How do you think your book will help motivate and inspire veterans to be the best leaders?
It’s no secret that I publicly promote military veterans and service members as the “best society has to offer”. At the age of 20, the typical service member with 2 years in already has more life experience and professional qualifications than the average civilian college graduate does by 24. Service members are taught “leadership” from day one in uniform, and by the time they eventually fill those roles in assignment, the average service member typically has more leadership education and experience than the vast majority of their civilian peers. COL David Sutherland (Ret.) wrote it best for Forbes back in 2013 when he eloquently outlined exactly why companies across the United States should be looking to hire NCO’s over fresh MBA grads, because the only difference in KSA’s between the two is that NCO’s have been actively doing the job for 10 to 20 years, and are therefore far superior a choice in seeking talent for management and executive positions in the public and private sectors post service.

Tactical Pause takes actual research in the sociological study of leadership and combines it with real-life military lessons and experience in leadership development, to provide any self-motivated individual the benefit of learning and using those concepts toward their own personal and professional growth. Since “personal development + professional development = leadership development”, Tactical Pause aims at the core of leadership development, essentially fostering the Stewardship of Leadership, to teach, coach, mentor, and guide the reader toward their own success in the making, by passing on the benefits of knowledge, wisdom, and experience gained from both careful study and exercising leadership in real-world application.

What is the biggest takeaway that you hope a reader will take from Tactical Pause?
That’s a tough one, because in my mind, there’s a mountain of things I want readers to take away from it. I guess if I had to pick just one for this moment, I would leave it to the words of William Ernest Henley’s 1875 poem “Invictus” – You are the master of your fate: You are the captain of your soul. In other words, your fate is entirely in your hands. You can be capable of anything, amount to anything, achieve anything, but you have to take charge and want to do it yourself, because no one can or will do it for you. You can’t stand at the top of a mountain, shake your fist and scream at the world to change simply because you don’t like or disagree with the way things are. If you want to change the world, start first with changing yourself. You have absolutely zero control over the world and a world of control over yourself. So instead of focusing on all the things you have no control over, focus instead on the one thing you do. The success of your life is only possible with ownership of personal accountability and responsibility, and a willingness to admit there will always be room for growth and improvement. If you want to be successful, take command of your life and BE the example. So lead, and the world will follow.

What advice would you give to a smart and aspiring military author?  Is there any advice they should ignore?
Write what you’re passionate about. Write with the reader in mind, not yourself. Stay motivated by writing little bits at a time if you find yourself getting stuck. Reverse-Plan your success. And finally, ignore everything I just said and go with what YOU think is best. The simple truth is, everyone and their brother will have “advice” to offer, but you have to find what motivates and works best for you. There’s tons of practices out there, and writing is both a mixture of the creative and the well-planned. It’s never just one or the other. But whatever you do, never allow yourself to get discouraged, or you really will end up quitting, and that unfinished work will haunt you.

What is one of the best investments you’ve ever made in your military career?
I’ve got a few things, actually… To start, I volunteered for nearly everything when I was active duty. When a course or special program was offered, I volunteered. When a difficult assignment came up most wouldn’t take, I volunteered. Being willing to volunteer has blessed me with opportunities, training and skills development, and assignments I never would have thought possible, and most would thing improbable. As a result, my career has been blessed with a wide spectrum of experience, qualifications and certifications, schools and assignments like none other, and I have been able to draw on that multifaceted experience to enable leadership even in situations outside of my own position, above my pay grades, and beyond the scope of my peers.

Next, I was NEVER afraid to engage with others, regardless of rank, title, or position. Never be afraid to speak up, speak your mind, offer advice, or lend an ear. Leadership does NOT exist within the confines of simplistic vertical chain-of-command structures, but instead, is capable of operating at all levels across an organization, and this means that there exists no barriers to influence either. Everyone at all levels is equally capable of engaging in leadership, of being a leader, and helping other leaders. So don’t think for a second that just because you have a rank on your collar, chest, or sleeve, that your capability for leadership is limited to only that. YOU are NOT a “rank”, a “job”, or a “position”. YOU define you. And finally, I studied carefully, and worked hard to instill core values within myself as early as possible. Your core values define who you are, they will define your actions, and they will define your character.

What is next for you and your writing projects?
I’m currently working on using Tactical Pause to help as many people as possible to develop themselves to become the best they can possible be. To that end, I’m trying to find a home for this book in both academia and in P&PD (Personal and Professional Development) Programs within the DoD, the public and private sectors, and at ROTC’s within colleges and universities. My hope is that, if it gains acceptance, Tactical Pause will be able to go on and be used as mentorship and guidance for the self-motivated individual growth and development of the leaders of tomorrow.

Purchase Tactical Pause Here

AJ is a Christian, a retired United States Army NonCommissioned Officer who served in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army, and he is a world-traveled
American combat veteran.

AJ is a fully qualified aircraft mechanic and technician, flight engineer and pilot. He is a qualified military diver, certified NAUI Instructor (#60891), and advanced search & rescue technician. He is an industry certified compliance officer and technical inspector, and a qualified standardization instructor, evaluator, and trainer. During his professional career, AJ has been blessed with opportunities to work at the local, joint, and multinational levels of operations, working closely with U.S. and allied forces in conducting operations, training, development, and relations-building.

AJ is an author, published researcher, guest lecturer, and public speaker. He is a social and political advocate for the veteran’s community as a whole, and enjoys opportunities to teach, coach, mentor, and guide others towards self- betterment and success. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, and is published academically in the fields of sociology and leadership.

On his off time, AJ loves shooting, long-distance rucking, flying, scuba diving, rock wall climbing, motorcycle riding, running, weight and resistance training, swimming, snowboarding, practicing Aikido, photography, adventure seeking, and traveling around the world to meet new people and experience new things.

AJ believes “investing in experiences” and “investing in relationships” are keys to investing in your future. He is always seeking out new knowledge and new opportunities, and believes education and self-betterment are life-long endeavors.

AJ Can be reached Via Website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram

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