Leadership / Helping Others / Husband

How purpose impacts performance.

Image by Ron Porter from Pixabay

I hate yardwork. Grass-mowing is okay, but anything and everything beyond that is drudgery for me. I don’t like weed-eating, pulling weeds, trimming bushes — or just about any sort of landscaping.

I’ll cut down trees and split wood all day long but ask me to do that other stuff and suddenly I have something else that has to be done. I don’t know why, it’s just the way I am. As a result, my wife does that stuff for our house or it just doesn’t really get done.

But today, today was a little different. My son has a…


Investing / Personal Finance

Caveat: I am not an investment advisor and have no certifications or formal financial education

Clown Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash; Bitcoin Image by VIN JD from Pixabay

I was in grad school from 1998 until 2000. The Army had sent me to get a master’s degree prior to teaching at West Point. Grad school wasn’t easy but it was way easier than being an officer in a regular unit. As a result, I had more time to explore other things besides work and family.

I’d been investing since 1990, mostly in mutual funds. About 1996, I started doing some individual stock picking. My emphasis was on blue chips. I was a long-term investor and thought I could do okay with a buy-and-hold strategy. This has proven true…


Leadership / Parenting / Respect / Fighting

Respect. At what cost?

My 13-year-old son was in a little bit of a scuffle at school today. No bloodshed, no injuries, and the other kid was a jerk. Of course, my son was gallant. Earned himself a three-day suspension.

He’s been complaining about feeling disrespected by his peers. James is a good-sized kid, especially for his age — 5’10” and about 160 pounds. He complains there are a couple of kids in his grade that others step lightly around. His perception is they’re afraid of those kids.

For some reason, he doesn’t think anyone is afraid of him. We talked yesterday about how…


Fiction / Action / Violent

The woman was in her early 40s, but was attractive, at least when she wasn’t crying and sporting a black eye. The old man was in a wheelchair, with a lap blanket. The house was well-kept though clearly dated.

“Daddy, it’s been so hard and I thought he was a good man. He’s always been so polite and considerate, but something happened today. He swore I was staring at another man during dinner, but he didn’t say anything then. When we went back to my place, he . . . just exploded. …


Leadership / Results / Teamwork

How you get there matters.

Image by AlexanderHaack from Pixabay

I was assigned to the 3d Infantry Division headquarters as a staff officer when we were notified we were going to deploy to Iraq. This wasn’t for the initial invasion, but during the aftermath. We were scheduled to hit the ground in January of 2005.

The G3 is the officer responsible for planning and executing all the division’s operations. Of course, he has a large number of people helping him.

This guy was extraordinarily career oriented. He was competent and a hard driver. He was also one of those guys who only laughs when they’re reminded to do so. …


Leadership / Coaching / Potential

Coaching is a critical leadership skill.

Thinking about sports and then I started thinking about coaching. I’ve coached kids from ages 6–13 or so in baseball and basketball. Really enjoy it.

I talk to my kids about potential vs performance pretty often. They all have great potential but have only scratched the surface of possible performance. I don’t mean that pejoratively. I only say that to mean they’re slowly starting to figure out how to realize their potential.

As a coach, it’s your responsibility to see the potential in your players and then to help them realize it. …


Leadership / Perspective

Change your view to change your thoughts.

I go to a local high school track a few times a week to exercise. Some running (jogging), some walking. Some days much more walking than jogging.

I start in lane eight, the outer-most lane and then move in a lane each lap. That way I don’t have to try and remember how many laps I’ve done.

I’d worked my way in to lane five when I heard something somewhere behind me. Sometimes the high school PE classes come down and I try to get out of their way when they do. So I turned around but didn’t see anything…


Amazing Fish Discovery Drives People Wild

Pescatarians speeding their way to collisions with excitement

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Recently moved to the Atlanta area, I visited the Aquarium. Impressive. In fact, it was so impressive it’s spurred my interest in marine biology to where I’ve become quite the amateur scientist. This led to a significant discovery in the field: a whole new species of shellfish! I’ve googled like mad but haven’t found anything that remotely resembles these things.

As the intrepid explorer to unearth this amazing discovery, I’ve christened it Pisces Atalantum Drivum, or the Atlanta Driver Fish, ADF for short. These creatures exhibit a set of behavioral characteristics which are found no where else on earth.

One…


Leadership / Culture / Values / Roots

Building culture takes time.

Had a great visit with my Mom, brother, and sister-in-law today. It was my family (wife and four kids) and them. My brother can be delightfully humorous at times. Other times, not so much, but today he was in top-form.

We told lots and lots of stories. Most of them shared but a few of individual experiences. The laughter rolled and it was one of the best visits I can remember.

Woven through all the stories were our values. The values my brother and I were raised with and those that we both gained through military and other life experiences…


Leadership / Learning

What do you tell a man with two black eyes?

Photo by Jill Carlson (jillcarlson.org) — CC BY 2.0

Nothing. He’s already been told twice. Middle School track meet this afternoon / evening and I was reminded of that scene from the movie Be Cool.

My son was in four events. The third one was the 400-meter run / sprint. Many people in track will tell you it’s a brutally difficult event. Normal sprints are 100 or 200 meters. The 800 and 1600 are considered middle distance.

The difference between them is for the shorter events you run as hard as you can. They’re all about speed. For the longer events (800 and up), you pace yourself so it’s…

Mark McMillion

Retired Army officer with two tours in Baghdad, taught at West Point, married with four kids. Proud West Virginian and West Point grad. Amazon pubs.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store