Tag Archives: leadership

Do You Listen To Your Inner Sarge?

As Father’s Day arrives stories that dad shared during his final month on hospice come to mind. One in particular stands out. Sitting on the front porch of the farmhouse enjoying the cool late September breeze, he talked about his failing health when the conversation tilted toward the question:

“Are you afraid to die?”

With the usual sense of dignity and grace with how dad held his head when telling a story that he hoped would teach a lesson, he shared the following:

“I’ve come close to death more than once. Once in Korea we were standing on a hill close to a field of battle when I heard an inner voice tell me to move to the next hill to the left. I told every man around me to move in that direction. Once moved, a shell hit on the spot where we had stood.”

Dad’s smile grew wide as he proclaimed, “After that they always listened to Sarge.”

When coaching leaders and consulting with individuals building new programs they often speak about how their intuition guides their process.

Clients also speak about the natural moments of confusion when they can’t see the difference between their intuition and their anxiety.  While you may not be facing the end of your life, the mind can often act like it’s survival is at stake.  Creating the conditions to feel the power of intuition as a daily working part of the mind is an intentional process that can be practiced by any high performing individual.

Can you discern the difference between worry and your voice of wisdom?

Do YOU Listen To Your Inner Sarge?

Thank you dad for demonstrating this valuable skill in your life as a bold leader.

By your side,


Patrick Davis, MA





9 out of 10 conversations miss the mark*


One of The Exceptional 10%
In this update we highlight Claudia as an extraordinary leader who creates results by hitting the mark in her conversations.

From Little Girl To Bold Leader
Claudia arrived in the United States as an immigrant from Argentina. She was eighteen, completely on her own, and determined to start a new life. She had almost no money and struggled with the English language before she received help from an organization that was beginning to empower low-income students with college scholarships. Thirty years later she is now the President/CEO of that same non-profit organization. In this role she faces challenging conversations with board members, donors and colleagues who turn to her for mentoring and guidance. Her own words best describe the results born from her mindful practice of being intentional in each conversation:

Dear Coach,
As I review what our business accomplished in 2015, I thought you’d get a kick out of the financial results from this former “little girl” who once had $36 dollars to her name and fewer than 100 words in her vocabulary. We had a record year. Our balance sheet stands at over $1 million, our expenses under budget, and our social impact stronger than ever. Our great team did it again!  Thank you, for being by my side! 
~ Claudia

Will your interactions be among the 10% of conversations that hit the mark in 2016?

By your side as you hit the mark more and more,

Patrick Davis, MA, PCC

(*The 9 out of 10 statistic is taken from the book, Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results, by Judith E. Glaser)

New Affordable Mentoring Track
World class coaching for only $50 a month

Reading Claudia’s e-mail got me thinking, “Wouldn’t it have been FUN to support Claudia before she earned a higher salary that afforded her access to executive coaching?  How could coaching take a stand for the Claudia of thirty years ago and watch her grow into a bold and successful business leader?”
There are now six (6) spots available designed to serve the Claudia’s of the world before they hit the mark.

Whether you are like the Claudia of today earning a salary at the top of her career who needs highly customized Executive Coaching, or like the Claudia of thirty years ago who needs the Affordable Mentoring, this practice offers solutions for anyone with targets too important to miss.  Are you ready for a free and confidential strategy session where this coach will listen to your needs?

Are You Right for This Program?

Four independent business women are already finding success in a mentoring program that offers many of the same benefits of executive coaching. We’re expanding in 2016 by offering room for six more individuals who are:

(1) Up to the challenge of growing their business
(2) Earning less than $75,000 a year

In this model, members meet monthly with me, one-on-one and are invited to join group sessions for support, encouragement and accountability. There is also a social media space where members share resources and connect between formal sessions. One member calls it “Weight Watchers for the Soul.” Yes! We are having FUN and delivering results!

If you are interested in this option for you or someone you love,  reach out today for details.


By Dad’s Side: Four Vulnerable Gifts That Grow The More They’re Shared


(Written for Veterans Day 2015 in memory of Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Retired, Audie “Neal” Davis, 1932-2011. He was a bold and effective leader!)


 My spine felt extra tall the day I, a first-grader, rode by Dad’s side in his pick up truck. His words struck my heart like an arrow: “you can do anything that you put your mind to.”

In adulthood, when I put the puzzle pieces of Dad’s life together, I realized these words held such power because he had demonstrated them. He had journeyed from the life of a tenant farmer in Arkansas to creating a future that offered his kids and grandkids a foundation of hope.


Many years later I would sit by Dad’s side in another truck. This time, I had returned home for a routine visit after spending five years away in college and beginning my own first steps toward a hopeful future.

The excuse to ride by his side on this particular day was an errand into town for one of his many work projects. While some projects were real maintenance needs, most just kept his mind busy.

Dad’s truck smelled of sawdust, work gloves covered in oil, and his distinctive aftershave. An Army sticker memorialized his first career in the military and celebrated his pride in country, service and devotion to family.

He was also devoted to his farm. He had spent almost forty years tinkering with every square inch of his forty-acre hobby, which grew more beautiful every year under his care.

Dad had purchased the farm as a midlife experiment to be engaged with something larger than civilian jobs that never fully met his desire to continuously make things better. Dancing with the elements of nature satisfied his soul. Owning this acreage was the capstone to his life’s work.

As with most trips, that day we said very little. In true man-to-man fashion, we revealed our thoughts best when sitting side by side. This was true whether it was fishing, sitting at the local VFW bar for a drink or as we found ourselves today, driving into town.

Dad’s words were as disciplined as his actions. It’s as if he had scripted his thoughtful phrases for a line of soldiers waiting for inspection. In as few words as possible, Dad let me know that he had heard from family members about me coming out as a gay man. His message was clear: It was okay with him.

Dad was not offering to teach me anything about the unknown chapters to come. He was there to do the one thing that really mattered: to extend his unconditional acceptance and love

Love, I’ve come to understand, is something deeper than the sentimentality that flows out of meeting someone who thinks and feels the same as we do. True love is born only after the glow of meeting a new friend or forming a new romance has faded. It only comes after we extend ourselves beyond the borders of our own mind and lean into the adventure of understanding another human being who is different than us, and yet strangely the same. It’s grounded in mutual respect.

Despite accessing our own sources of self-esteem, don’t we all hope to be greeted by acceptance and love when we return home to share the results of following our own path in life? Even when we come to hold our own spirit, nothing can replace the acknowledgement of a parent.

Dad gave us all the gift of respect. We didn’t have to be like him to be respected by him. Sitting by his side in his truck that day, he gave me respect as a man with different thoughts, feelings and preferences than his own.


Years later I would approach my own midlife. On a fishing trip I interviewed Dad for a veterans oral history project. When the recording was turned off he shared some things that were “off the record.” More important than his war stories, were the vulnerable truths he revealed about his own limitations. Far from seeing him as weak or feeling sorry for him, I saw in him a new strength.

Isn’t that the paradoxical gift in being vulnerable?

One morning, he sat by my side in a fishing boat on a lake in Canada that refused to offer up any fish. Left to wait and be still on the water, Dad answered questions I had about his post-military career. I was curious how he made his way in the world when he approached midlife.

Dad reflected on how his young brain was trained to think and work in a specific way after twenty-plus years in the army. From his point of view, he would never approach the same level of success in any civilian hierarchy. No matter how hard he worked he never felt acknowledged by the rules of the civilian game.

It’s as if Dad spent years playing baseball, and when life invited him to play basketball, he compared his performance in the new game to the game he had already practiced for years. Nevertheless, Dad was well respected in all of his civilian endeavors. The weight of comparison with his younger self had caused him at times to judge himself. How human of him.

When I flirted with comparisons in my own head, I remembered dad’s humble admission of not feeling successful in all games of life. It helped me to know that he faced his limitations, too.

Dad gave us all a way to be humble. As I sat by his side in that fishing boat, Dad taught me that I, too, could be stronger at certain games and gentle with myself when I’m weaker at others.


For most of his life, Dad’s body was stronger than most men. Muscled limbs defined him. Nearly eighty, he had spent most of those years looking vital and feeling healthy. In the final months of life, his rapid weight loss shocked us all.

Dad would die only nine days after he witnessed Mom die on the same hospice program that kept them both comfortable in their home. Five adult children, grandkids and extended family would have the privilege of being by their side.

By all medical accounts, Dad was going to die first. However, no doctor can estimate the power of devotion. Dad’s physical condition should have prevented him from attending mom’s funeral, but Dad had a different plan. He declared for himself one final mission as he called forth eighty years of grit, determination and mental focus to demonstrate “you can do anything that you put your mind to.”

We five kids had been taking turns staying with our parents through the night. My rotation landed on what would be the night before mom’s funeral. At three in the morning Dad called my name with a quality of inner strength that was at the heart of all his commands. I found him sitting up and with his feet over the side of the bed as he stretched his frail voice to say, “Pat, get me a cracker with some peanut butter on it.” When I told my brother about his middle of the night request for a cracker, he said, “Oh, he was carb-loading.”

As we approached time for mom’s funeral the following morning, he focused all of our efforts on one final work project: he would be attending mom’s funeral as her loving and devoted husband.


It’s taken me four years to see more clearly the emotional inheritance of these moments sitting by Dad’s side. While I may not have always appreciated them at the time, I treasure these gifts today.

Sitting by Dad’s side as he ate that cracker, I witnessed him marshaling all of his strength to show up for one final mission that demonstrated to us all, “you can do anything that you put your mind to.”

This experience of caring for them continues to shape us all even after we placed their bodies side by side in a grave that marks their shared years of birth and death, 1932-2011.

Today, I imagine that whenever we put our minds to sharing moments of hope, respect, humility and grace with one another that dad is proud. These are, after all, four gifts that grow the more they’re shared.

By your side,

Patrick Davis, MA, PCC

Patrick Davis, MA, PCC is an executive coach, mentor and educator at www.patrickbymyside.com


Have You Found Your Place of Joy?

 Four Leaders Who Have Found Their Place of Joy

Find a place inside where there’s joy.—Joseph Campbell

Aren’t we all looking to do work in the world that brings forth our greatest joy?  Here are stories of four different individuals serving in roles such as CEO, a marketing consultant, an independent business owner and an emerging non-profit leader. What do they all have in common: They have taken bold action on what brings forth their greatest joy.

Claudia has stepped into her own authentic way of being CEO and President of an organization that has played a role in her life for thirty years. As the first beneficiary of an innovative program that transforms unused business equipment into college scholarships, she jokes that she is the other visionary leader from Argentina (referring to how Pope Francis hails from her home country). Today Claudia boldly shares her organization’s story to potential partners in both local and national forums:

“At Educational Assistance Ltd…we transform yesterday’s merchandise into tomorrow’s bright minds.”

John had a mentor refer him to coaching when he took became interim executive director for a non-profit agency with a mission close to his heart. As an emerging leader, he clarified his priorities and came to balance his strong business instincts with effective relationship skills. Today he is pursuing advanced studies after being awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship.

Flame was a stay-at-home mom who re-entered the work force. Over three years of a disciplined mentoring and coaching process, she grew a business that now earns her over $100,000 a year. Today she is both a loving mom and a well-respected professional. You may see all the ways her flame shines at: www.CoachFlame.com

Christa worked hard to earn over three million a year in revenue for a company where she was employed. After earning her MBA in International Business and pursuing a Master’s in Sustainability from Harvard, she asked, “now what?” She has transformed the anxious search for new leadership opportunities into a dynamic experience of establishing new partnerships on the global stage. As a  successful marketing and sustainability leader in London, she is having fun with her work life again. She has described her tailored coaching process, “You listened to my story and picked from an arsenal of tools. It’s been a very personalized and specific process.”

While these stories point to possibilities that emerge in coaching, your heroic journey to greater JOY is uniquely your own. Whether you are  an emerging leader, a bold executive or pioneering the path of an independent business, your focus is often on serving others. Who serves you? You may now receive the gift of a free strategy session that is just for you by visiting a new website: www.PatrickByMySide.com

By Your Side,

Patrick Davis, MA, PCC

4 Scary Situations Faced By Leaders

Frankenstein Drac Were

Drawing Inspiration from Dracula, Frankenstein, Buffy and the Werewolf

As Halloween comes and goes, have you watched a scary movie yet? What is it in our psyche that has FUN with being scared? Here are 4 scary situations faced by leaders and the inspiration they might draw from Dracula, Frankenstein, Buffy and the Werewolf.

#1. Turning the search for a new job from an anxious process to one of possibility and hope?

Even experts like Dracula with years of experience need to find ways to network and be invited over the threshold of someone’s home when they are new to town.

#2. Is your Board of Directors or boss not aligned with your hopes and aspirations for the future?

Didn’t Dr. Frankenstein have to find a way to protect his visionary project from the wrath of the townspeople who were terrified of his unconventional innovation?

#3. Are you going from being the project manager type who produced bottom-line results to finding a management or executive role?

Didn’t Buffy the Vampire Slayer have to make friends and form allies as she moved into a new school? Didn’t she find ways to balance her every day life as a high school student with sharing and refining her super powers?

#4. Facing a personal challenge such as a divorce, health crisis or general life angst while needing to produce more and more?

Doesn’t the werewolf need to manage when and where he stays in human form and when it is safe to fall apart and express his inner beast?

Halloween All Year Around

There may be a reason we find ways to play around with different roles when the season of nature turns dark and cold. Might our inner suffering point to an opportunity to express something new?

What if you had FUN turning your own career angst into an opportunity to play dress up and try on different roles in the world? Even if you are not going to change your external costume in the world, might the world be served by a version of you that is even more bold, balanced and effective?

If you have any desire to explore your imagination around your work, I’d love to hear from you.

Halloween may have passed but there is always time to play with possibilities!

by your side when things get scary,


Patrick Davis, MA, PCC