A blessed father, advocate, philanthropist, entrepreneur, leader, learner, optimist, and Special Forces veteran, Larry has navigated the ups and downs of life's journey towards a life of significance.
I trust we’re all here for a purpose greater than ourselves. Some are able to tap into their purpose early in life, others get intentional and find it through some sort of vision quest, still others (sadly) go to their grave never finding their purpose nor meeting their fullest potential.
Some time ago I realized that pretty much everything you need to know about me you can discern from the contents of my pockets. On any given day there’s an assortment of practical things — cash, keys and breath strips — and then there are the uncommon reminders of history and purpose.
Every day I carry my Special Forces challenge coin to remind me where I came from, my past, my heritage and my eternal tribe. It grounds me. And then there’s a small pewter globe to remind me of my future, what I want my legacy to be, and the global impact that I can make and am meant to make on the world.
I cherish being a dad. Of all the awards and accolades I’ve been blessed to receive, the achievement I’m most proud of is being an involved, available and intentional father.
Emily is one of the most self-aware teenagers I’ve ever known. She has a huge heart, fights against social injustice, and is a champion of the oppressed. She possesses a maturity and wisdom beyond her years, and she inspires me with her creativity and compassion.
Ben is heart-centered and deeply caring. He inspires me with his willingness to take action in spite of his fears, and has a tenacity to keep learning, practicing and improving so he can rise up when it matters most. And I can be goofy with him—at least for now. (He’s not quite a teenager yet.)
My kids are literally a daily source of inspiration and awe. They teach me about compassion and patience and how to be the voice of encouragement. They help me be a better leader, mentor and facilitator.
I believe I have a moral obligation to help people reach their fullest potential, to live lives of true significance. I believe we all come to this Earth with certain gifts and talents. And to not use those gifts and talents is sinful and disrespectful of our Creator.
One of my gifts is helping people recognize the talents and greatness in them that they can’t often see for themselves. I strive to speak greatness into people. Sadly, I meet a lot of folks who have never had their own greatness pointed out to them. I think this quality is missing from many mentors and leaders, and their teams and families suffer because of it.
Additionally, I believe too many of us are chasing the wrong things in life (including me, from time to time). The truth is, if we want a life of fortune, influence, affluence, fame, peace and harmony (this all sounds awesome, right?), then we must stop chasing success! Rather, we ought to be striving to live a life of significance…one where we serve our families, friends, co-workers, communities, country, and places of worship. The god-honest truth is, success is the byproduct of living a life of significance.
I value the challenge of leadership. I’ve interviewed dozens of the world’s top CEOs, presented to the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at The Pentagon, consulted at Fortune 50 companies, and even went through the executive program at elite Stanford University. But perhaps the most insightful and lasting lesson on leadership I ever heard came from my Scout Master while in Boy Scouts.
When I was about 14 years old (on the path to becoming an Eagle Scout), I was part of the leadership team for a scouting camp out. When it was time to eat, some of the older boys were cutting in line in front of the younger scouts but my Scout Master spoke up and said, “Hey! Leaders eat last.”
Leaders eat last. That simple phrase has always stuck with me and has become a guiding principle for my leadership style. Leaders ought to be serving, and caring for those in their charge.
I love being a mentor. Years ago my martial arts instructor shared a poem written by a fellow student that described martial artists as mounds of clay, and the black belt instructor as the potter. That’s how I feel being a mentor. It feels good to know that I’m helping leaders and high-achievers do great things by becoming great people.
My friend, singer-song writer, Michael Petersen says, “One step in the right direction’s worth a wasted mile behind.” As a mentor I get to point folks in the right direction. I get to be the voice of encouragement, saying, “Yes, you can do this.” I’m the voice of experience saying, “Yeah, I know this sucks right now,” because I’ve been down the entrepreneur’s path so many times.
We all need someone on the journey with us, reminding us that failure and pain and struggle are all part of success; but as Darrell Fusaro, one of my spiritual mentors, reminded me some time ago, our journey does not need to include the desperate pushing and shoving that most “success gurus” ascribe. We need someone urging us not to quit a few feet from striking gold, but who can also be the voice of reality and remind us when “enough is enough.” It’s always a privilege to see someone come through the pain and uncertainty and taking steps towards success.
I strive to live a life of integrity. Anyone who knows me, has been on my team, or has been mentored by me knows that I do everything I can these days to walk the walk. Sometimes it’s exhausting and feels like I’m putting one dusty, bloody boot in front of the other, but I strive every day to live my life in integrity.
It hasn’t always been that way — as the ups and downs of my past demonstrate — and I bring all of that, all of those lessons learned along the way, to every role in which I serve. Whether it’s being a dad or a commentator on a TV news program or running my hotel company, I’m the same me everywhere, all the time. That’s been one of the hardest and most valuable lessons to learn as a human.
Some days it’s easier than others to practice what I preach. On my best days I bound out of bed because I get to get up, I get to to go into the office and work with people; I get to make breakfast for my kids; I get to speak to this group; I get to serve. Not the “I have to do this or that” that so many people wake up with.
And honestly, on other mornings what motivates me to get out of bed is an overwhelming fear of blending into the oblivion of gray mediocrity.
Whatever the motivation, I know that every day when my feet hit the floor I have another chance to go do something significant.
Will you join me?
If any of this resonates with you, I’d love to connect on one of our social media channels, or just provide us with your email address below and we’ll send you valuable tips and insights that you can use right away in your business and life.
Now, do us all a favor and go do something significant today. Go get ’em!
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A Sampling of Awards and Accolades
- US Army, Special Forces (the Green Berets) ODA 064 & ODA 1275
- Entrepreneur of the Year® by Ernst and Young
- Vetrepreneur® of the Year by NaVOBA
- Visionary of the Year by Coastline Foundation
- National Business Leader of Integrity by Passkeys Foundation
- Hot 500 List by Entrepreneur Magazine