Leadership / Rising / Parenting

Leadership Moment — 24 Oct 22

You don’t have to push others down to raise yourself up.

Mark McMillion
3 min readOct 24, 2022


Kristian Bjornard courtesy of Flickr. CC 2.0

I have four kids and to me, the ages from 18 months to five years are by far the most fun. When I say fun, I mean the delightful, joyous kind of fun. But those darn kids keep growing and getting older (thank you God!).

As they age, I’ve found great pleasure in the evolving nature of our conversations. The two boys are now 15 and 16 and we have some awesome conversations, along with some maddening ones.

This weekend, while my 16-year-old and I were out-and-about, we talked about haters and what’s cool. Full disclosure here: I was never cool. Yet somehow, I still survived.

We were talking about haters and he was lamenting a rapper he really likes isn’t considered cool. Evidently, there are other rappers who “diss” and “hate on” him for both his skin color (he’s white) as well as his music.

I didn’t know any of this. My boys share their music with me often. Some of it I like, some I tolerate, and some I just say, “next.” I’d listened to a couple of NF songs and they fell in the middle category for me.

Many times, I’ve observed people who seem like they have to constantly put others down. They may or may not brag about themselves but they’re constantly belittling others, either their attempts or accomplishments.

Along the way, I’ve met a few people who truly never speak ill of others. All our mothers probably told us to say nothing if we don’t have something nice to say. It’s been my experience that almost no one follows that advice. I know I try (at least sometimes) but often come up short.

Some, a select few, are content to allow their actions to speak for them. They don’t brag, they don’t talk smack — they just do their job and allow people to make up their own minds.

Others feel compelled to constantly tear down the efforts and achievements of others. They seem to think the only way they can elevate themselves is by pushing down those around them. It’s sad and seldom works but they are convinced they can make themselves seem larger by diminishing others.

That’s what I think many of the haters out there are practicing. And of course, they aren’t only in sports or music. They’re everywhere.

Trash-talking others never made anyone a success. Your success is built on your accomplishments. And just about always, your accomplishments are built on the accomplishments of those who went before you. Sir Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

I know that’s how I’ve gotten to where I am in life and It’s the same for others. Whether they admit it or not.

That was my leadership moment today.



Mark McMillion

Retired Army officer with two tours in Baghdad, married with four kids. Proud West Virginian and West Point grad. Works available on Amazon.