#1749 Packing Parachutes with Purpose

My Time With a Hero

Not too long ago, I was blessed to be connected with Captain Dave Pollard, the Commanding Officer of the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH.

I was connected to Captain Pollard by a dear friend of mine, Captain Daryle Cardone, who happens to be the Commanding Officer of the USS RONALD REAGAN.

As it turns out, I was introduced to CAPT Pollard the day I was doing a leadership panel with my friends RADM Mike Manazir (author of Learn How to Lead to Win) and Brittany Loney (CEO and Founder of Elite Cognition) for the ROTC Cadets at the University of Loyola near Washington D.C.

Captain Pollard asked me if I’d like to get a tour of his aircraft carrier (the one that helped defend Ukraine!) at the Naval Shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia the following day.

I called my Wifey to get her blessing to stay another day. She gave me an emphatic “Yes! GO! That will be amazing.”

Which led to me telling CAPT Pollard: “Yes! I’d be honored to join you.”


We immediately booked the short flight over to Norfolk (thanks, Jana!!) and I got to spend FOUR hours connecting with CAPT Pollard and some of his crew—learning more about his leadership style and feeling like I just met a new lifelong friend.

Shortly thereafter, Captain Pollard invited me back out to Norfolk to lead a Heroic workshop with him and fifty of his top leaders responsible for the twenty different departments on his ship to empower them to fully leverage Heroic for themselves and the 5,000 sailors on the carrier so they could show up as their best on the flight deck AND on the home front.

The trip was fantastic.


Before our 3-hour workshop with his leadership team, I was blessed to connect with Captain Pollard and the Commanding Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 FRS, Commander Jason “Fisheye” Papadopoulos.

(Whole ‘nother story about the origin of that call sign (“Fisheye”!) and the playful way Top Gun pilots bestow call signs on one another! 😂)

On that incredible tour, I got to learn more about the F-18 pilots and their command support personnel.

It was an extraordinary experience.

That’s what I want to talk about today.

More specifically…

I want to talk about one Heroic guy I was blessed to meet that morning.

His name is James “Dick” Dickerson.

Dick retired after serving for 20 years as a parachute rigger in the US Navy. He’s been in his civilian job with the Navy for another 10 years.

He and his crew decked me out in fighter pilot gear (including an Ironman-like helmet that was crazy cool 😳 🤯!) while explaining the intricacies of their jobs and how they take care of the F-18 pilots they serve.


It’s hard to put into words JUST how powerful it was to spend time with Dick and his young team.

The passion with which he told me about how committed he was to doing his job with excellence will be imprinted on my soul for the rest of my life.

One of his jobs is to pack the parachutes that the fighter pilots may need to use in the event of an emergency mid-flight ejection. (Imagine THAT for a moment…)

He told me that every.single.time he does that job of packing a fighter pilot’s parachute, he does it as well as he possibly can—thinking of the pilot (and their family!) that he’s responsible for protecting.

(I literally just got tears in my eyes typing that—feeling into his Heroic love for the Navy brothers he was serving.)


Dick told me that his parachutes had been used by fighter pilots ejecting from their cockpits ELEVEN times.

Every.single.time (!) those men survived.

The pride with which he shared this was incredibly moving.

Then he told me that one of the traditions, when this happens, is that the pilot who survived his emergency ejection BECAUSE SOMEONE LIKE DICK DID THEIR JOBS WELL (!) would thank Dick with a special gift.

Then he told me the story that will forever be imprinted in my heart and soul that I think serves as such a powerful example for ALL OF US to MAKE THE CONNECTION between what we do and those we serve.

One time, after he saved a man’s life because he did his job with Areté, the man’s FAMILY showed up at his house to thank him.

The grateful fighter pilot’s YOUNG DAUGHTER told Dick, “Thank you for saving my Daddy’s life.”


Note: If that doesn’t give you tears in your eyes, I don’t know what will.


That’s Today’s +1.

Science is unequivocal…

The happiest among us MAKE THE CONNECTION between what we are blessed to do and the people we are blessed to serve.

Do you?

Practically speaking…

Let’s get a rep of moving from Theory to Practice to Mastery on this right now.

What do YOU do?


More importantly…


Think of ONE person who has benefited from the work you do.

FEEL THE IMPORTANCE of what you do.


Approach as many moments of your day today with THAT person (and others like them!) in mind.

That’s one of the fastest and most powerful ways to boost your sense of meaning and purpose and eudaimonic joy in your life.

Today’s the day to serve profoundly.

Let’s go, Hero!!!

🫡 🛩️ 🪂 !!!