This coming Monday, in the United States, we ‘formally’ remember those who have given their all in the service of this country. These men and women believed in a country, its origin, and its people to the point that they were willing, and did, give their lives. While Memorial Day is the Federally recognized day of remembrance, as citizens of this country we should perpetually remember and thank those who believed in the ideals of this country enough to die for it.

This country is going through a challenging time right now where some seem to want to tear it apart by creating and promoting divisiveness. Race, religion, vaccine status, gender, politics, and many other things are flashpoints for interactions. As we go into the holiday weekend, I’d like to recommend two books by Adam Makos to create a positive mindset and remind ourselves that at the core, humanity is generally good.

The first is Devotion, which is in production for a movie. This is the story of two aviators from ‘different worlds’ in the US and their experiences in the Navy. The second book is A Higher Call, where compassion is manifested where least expected.

These books, while of a war genre, have amazing storytelling and character development that is relatable outside the military. I encourage everyone to read these books and recognize that respect, generosity, and kindness are more universal than we seem to hear. Remember, you have complete autonomy what your brain thinks and your mouth says: how do you show control? In addition, reflect how you can show respect for those with different life experiences, abilities, or beliefs. Practice the art of true listening. Instead of framing a rebuttal while the other is speaking, truly listen to the other's thoughts and respect the person.

This is how we can show honor to those who have died defending our country and freedoms, fighting for the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by theirCreator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” While I recognize that some may take offense to that language and those words, I ask you to please open your minds to think of the intent. I also acknowledge that history has not reflected these words well, and there is work to be done – hence the need for open dialog, not anger and violence.

As a coach, clients often ask me how to have difficult conversations and open dialog. The first thing is to have a growth mindset and desire to improve – and when I get those questions I always acknowledge and admire their desire to hone their skills. Let’s talk if you have a desire for excellence.