hires_110215-A-7341H-015cA few years ago, I was white water rafting with some friends on the Nantahala River in North Georgia. This river is pretty fast and has rapids which can gain your respect very quickly.

From the beginning of our adventure, one guy in the front of the boat got us off to a bad start. Every time we transitioned from calm water to rapids, this dude would loudly point out the hazards to us, while the rest of us paddled furiously trying to work through the rapids that hurled toward us.

Predictably, because of this guy, our raft crew was out of whack. We spun aimlessly through the rapids, beached on large rocks, and came dangerously close to capsizing several times.

I was in the back of the of the raft growing more and more frustrated with each directive that came out of our fearless leaders’ mouth as his oar rested on his lap and his gums flapped furiously.

I was now fed up.

“Paddle Dammit,” I yelled up to him as we approached a massive set of rapids.  Finally, he started to give way with the rest of us.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen this problem expand far beyond white water rafting.

In fact, leadership today is a lot like that guy in the front of the boat.

Everywhere you look, there are so-called leaders who are always quick to point out the challenges and obstacles in our path, but much less likely to do anything about it.

How about you? When it comes to the problems our society faces, are you pointing out the problems while everyone else paddles?

Let’s face it – all of us do this from time to time. Especially today, when you see all of the numerous problems we face. But, we can’t let this be the norm for us. Real leaders know that this isn’t the way meaningful things get done.

Here is the deal…If we’re going to repair the massive loss of trust and emerging conflict we face in our communities, it’s going to take every able-bodied leader we have to stick that oar in the water, and “paddle dammit!”

Until next time, thanks for what you do and keep leaving tracks,
Scott Mann





About The Author

Scott Mann has spent most of his entire adult life leaving tracks, and his mission in life is to help others do the same. His Dad, Rex Mann, refers to this as giving back to causes higher than yourself. He doesn’t know why he loves it so, but he does. He has served our great country for 23 years in the U.S. Army, most of that as a Green Beret doing missions all over the world. He fought three combat tours in Afghanistan, as well as in many other conflict zones such as Iraq and Colombia. His last few years in the Army, he was an architect and original implementer of the Special Operations Village Stability Operations (VSO)/Afghan Local Police (ALP) programs in Afghanistan. He also designed and implemented the popular SOCOM Academic Week training courses. Scott has commanded troops at several levels. At his last rank, lieutenant colonel, he made the tough decision to pass on his promotion to colonel and pursue other passions. It was one of the toughest but most rewarding choices he ever made. He is now the founder and CEO of the Stability Institute, where they broker knowledge and connecting stability professionals on complex stability issues around the globe. In concert with Institute President Howard Clark, he has built a vast network of stability practitioners who collaborate on unique solutions for government organizations, large corporations and even small businesses and individuals. As an entrepreneur, he built a multimillion-dollar real estate portfolio and property management company with his brother, who is his best friend and partner. They buy, turn around, and operate mobile home communities all over the state of North Carolina. He is blessed to put his entrepreneurial experience to use by mentoring transitioning Green Berets and other veterans in reaching their goals and dreams in the civilian sector. As an advocate, he is also the founder/CEO of Patriot Families, a nonprofit organization helping military families and wounded veterans at a grassroots level cope with the rigors of military deployments and family stress. He serves on the board of advisors for Stay in Step Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Center in Tampa, Florida, and Spirit of America, a nonprofit supporting our warriors and diplomats with stability missions abroad. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in Political Science. He has a Master’s Degree in Operational Art and Science from the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College. He lives in Riverview, Florida with his wife Monty and their three boys Cody, Cooper, and Brayden

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