Sean Heritage

Connecting The Dots

Category

Inspiration

Eat Your Broccoli First

I am certain that I have not been doing it my entire life, but I have eaten this way for as long as I can remember. First I assess the plate of food in front of me. Next, I express… Continue Reading →

Letting Go

Over the years, I have observed many people transition from military service. I did so with great interest because I knew, like everyone else who is called to serve, I would eventually be facing the same challenges. I learned enough by watching… Continue Reading →

Just Being There

I like to win as much as the next guy. To this day, my competitive juices get flowing as I turn most things I do into a game. How fast can I unload the dishwasher? Can I get my son… Continue Reading →

Personal Values

As a reflection tool and in preparation for my upcoming career change, I have been giving deliberate thought to my personal values. Values are the foundation of who we are as human beings and, whether we acknowledge them or not,… Continue Reading →

Far From Alone

Changing careers is one of the most daunting missions I have undertaken in many years. I am excited and nervous. I am confident and hesitant. I am many things, but alone is not one of them. Since focusing my attention… Continue Reading →

Sharing Time

Being a military family means living a nomadic life. Because of the fact that I left home for the Navy just three weeks after high school, the nomadic lifestyle has been all I have known as an adult. The life… Continue Reading →

Journeys and Adventures

We use the words Journey and Adventure quite often when we talk about life. Some people use them as synonyms but they aren’t. A Journey is an act of traveling from one place to another. An Adventure is an unusual and exciting… Continue Reading →

Premortems, Hindsight & Regret

When it comes to making important decisions, I have grown to see great value in writing a premortem. The below excerpt describing a premortem comes courtesy of the Harvard Business Review: “A premortem is the hypothetical opposite of a postmortem. A… Continue Reading →

I Wanna Rock!

I recently stumbled across the music video for Twisted Sister’s song, “I Wanna Rock”. It had been quite some time since I had seen it and watching the preamble to the song where the teacher asks one of the students,… Continue Reading →

Choices and Decisions

I enjoy eating at In-N-Out Burger. The service is efficient, the food is high quality, and the menu is simple. When I eat there, it’s not difficult for me to choose what I want to eat – it’s usually a… Continue Reading →

Intent to Scratch

I remember the first time my son participated in a swim meet that had preliminaries and finals. It was his first year swimming and the meet was held at the US Naval Academy. During preliminaries he tied for second alternate… Continue Reading →

Self-Approval

As life goes on, I find that I continue to place an increased emphasis on self-satisfaction than I do on earning the approval of others. I started life completely on the other end of the spectrum and as I spend… Continue Reading →

Psychic Income

I continue to live in a world where monetary income is predicated by a combination of one’s rank and longevity. Some might say that contributions, expertise, and commitment to the team inform one’s rank and length of service over time and… Continue Reading →

Hard Right Rudder

I sincerely appreciate mentors who have and continue to invest in me. Even more than that, I appreciate the opportunity to invest in protégés. As I continue to provide counsel to others, I have ceased being surprised when a protégé… Continue Reading →

A Gallon of Play

Three days ago, I entered the 27th year of this amazing Navy journey (31st if we were to consider my time at the US Naval Academy). That milestone, coupled with the fact that I am seeing my Shipmates retire at… Continue Reading →

Company We Keep

It is said that we are the company we keep. Recent events have given me the opportunity to truly evaluate who that makes me. My parents made the company my brother and I would keep a priority of theirs from… Continue Reading →

Defining Ourselves

Last month, I shared a post about an experiment that I had undertaken to crowdsource the development of the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental Strategic Guidance. I was pleased, though not surprised by the final product. What did surprise me, however,… Continue Reading →

Bread Sunday

Our military housing community enjoys a tradition that is called Bread Sunday. Each week the same gracious volunteer gets up early Sunday morning and makes her way to a local supermarket chain where she picks up baked goods donated for… Continue Reading →

(It’s The) Work That Matters

I’ve had many jobs over the course of my career. I may not have enjoyed them all, but I am glad to have had the opportunity to execute the responsibilities associated with each. Each and every job made me feel… Continue Reading →

Thanks for the Lessons…

I am far from fanatical about Christmas and I have never been overly excited about ringing in the New Year at the strike of midnight. But, I do thoroughly enjoy the tradition of winding down and reconnecting with family and… Continue Reading →

(Un)Comfortably Falling Short

It was about this time (beginning of 4th month on the team) in my last tour when I had a couple of teammates make it a point to tell me that they were definitely being stretched in their jobs. As… Continue Reading →

Drawing Inspiration

Today is the 30th of the month and as part of my commitment to myself, it marks one of the three days each month I publish a blogpost. I have so many things that I want to write about, but… Continue Reading →

What Jar Are You In?

We often assess others by the answers they provide. Those who have the right answers must be the most knowledgeable. We often assess companies based on the mission that drives them and their ability to deliver on it. Those who… Continue Reading →

The Quest to be Good

It was a drive like so many others: My son and I driving through the heart of Silicon Valley to his swim practice. My wife or I make that trip six days a week and sometimes twice a day. No… Continue Reading →

Enjoyment Enablers

Enjoyment is the state of process of taking pleasure in something. It is also defined as the action of possessing and benefitting from something. Of late, I am increasingly reminded that some people in this world are very focused on and… Continue Reading →

The Fray

The fray is where the real work takes place. The fray is where action happens. The fray is the part of the organization that the Doers call home. Early in my career I operated in the fray and enjoyed it… Continue Reading →

Outside the SCIF

There are many things I am enjoying about my new assignment and among them is the opportunity to live life outside the SCIF. I have spent almost all of my 25 years of naval service working in a Sensitive Compartmented… Continue Reading →

Missing Career Milestones

Last month, the Information Warfare Community, to which I have been a proud member for 25 years and counting, convened a board to screen officers for their next career milestone. As is true with the posting of the results after… Continue Reading →

Shaping Memories

It’s that time again. Time for the family to pack up our bags, bid farewell to local friends and teammates, and embrace the nomadic life we live. I am not complaining one bit. Moving every 2-3 years continues to provide… Continue Reading →

Culture Book

Peter Drucker is known to have said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Those who know me understand how committed I am to living that statement. That is not to say I don’t see value in strategy, it’s just that I… Continue Reading →

Jumping to Solutions

I am confident that this is not the first time you have read this quote from Albert Einstein: “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving… Continue Reading →

Changing Lanes

At the end of my son’s most recent swim practice, he approached the car with a big grin, which is not his typical post-practice body language. Before I even had a chance to ask him how practice went, he proudly announced,… Continue Reading →

Good for Your Career?

Don’t get me wrong, I am “all in” on simultaneously writing the current chapter of my life, as well as contribute to the current chapter of the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command story. And as the storyline begins to set… Continue Reading →

Informed Opinions

I just returned from an amazing trip to San Francisco. Though the purpose of the trip was to spend time with future teammates, contribute to the conversation regarding public-private partnership in non-traditional sectors, and begin preparing for our move west,… Continue Reading →

Disneyland Mindset

Do you remember the first time you went to Disneyland, Disneyworld, or any amusement park for that matter? Given that I was six the first time I went, I don’t think I have any accurate memories of that experience. But… Continue Reading →

Just a Job

Note: Those who read this blog regularly know how much I believe passion for our work is a requirement and that if we aren’t fulfilled by our job, we are being unfair to ourselves and our teammates. This is an… Continue Reading →

Stop Pretending

There’s lots of talk about goals this time of year, and I know I have been contemplating the same. It’s natural, healthy, and helpful. It happens at the beginning and end of journeys, around birthdays, and the turn of the new… Continue Reading →

Reflection: Because, With, & Despite

Reflection is a powerful thing and something I make time for each and every day. Reflection is an activity that ensures we take the time to acknowledge our progress, think deeply about what we continue to learn though life, and… Continue Reading →

Doing What We Want

Want: have a desire to possess or do (something); wish for. Should: used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness. What do you want to do? What should you do? When the answers to those questions are not aligned, which trumps which?… Continue Reading →

Effects: Placebos and Tinkerbell

I don’t know if it makes me weak-minded or strong-minded, but I believe in the power of placebos. Whether it was my Mom kissing my boo boo, the coach telling me to rub some dirt on it, the magic pill… Continue Reading →

Is It Worth It?

Life is full of questions and, clearly, there are far more questions than answers. Some people spend their lives in search of answers and others craft questions as a means of guiding their adventure. One of my favorite questions is,… Continue Reading →

Shelf Life

Open your refrigerator or go into your pantry and take an inventory of all the products with an expiration date on them. Now check out any produce you have on the counter and assess how much longer they might be… Continue Reading →

Sliding Doors

I thoroughly enjoy making decisions. That might sound egotistical and give the appearance that I am someone consumed with power. To be clear, it’s not so much the act of decision making that excites me, it is the progress enabled… Continue Reading →

What’s Next?

What’s Next? It’s a question that I ask myself dozens of times throughout any given day. You see, I have an addiction. An addiction to progress. In my mind everything on my To Do List (or To Become List) that… Continue Reading →

Unmistakable

I make more mistakes than I care to admit, though I am not afraid to admit them. In fact, last weekend I made a huge mistake when I rear-ended the car in front of me on the freeway. The seatbelts… Continue Reading →

Vacations: Being, Frequency, and Brothers

Vacations don’t come often in our house. Sure I take time off from work and, yes, we take trips away from our home, but rarely do we go on vacation in the truest form: an extended period of recreation, especially… Continue Reading →

Bubbles

Bubbles make me smile. I enjoy blowing them every now and then. I like to see how big I can make them before they pop. It’s neat to see how far those bubbles that stay intact can fly before the… Continue Reading →

Green Lights

Last week, my wife and I made a quick trip to Annapolis, Maryland to attend a Navy ceremony. And by quick trip, I mean that we were there for all of 15 hours. Once the ceremony concluded, we enjoyed a quick… Continue Reading →

Something Bigger Than Ourself

I have long taken great pride in being a part of something far bigger than myself. For me, that happens to be serving as a proud member of the greatest Navy in the world. It is that very pull of… Continue Reading →

The Value of the Strange Leader (Guest Post)

Dr. Rebecca Siders is a passionate human being with varied interests that center around making the world a better place, inspiring people in her company to reach new heights, and challenging herself to continually live outside her comfort zone. She… Continue Reading →

History of Originality

Serendipity is one of my favorite words. I don’t use it often, but I enjoy the way it rolls off my tongue. As much as I enjoy saying it, the stories that accompany its use are even better. After all,… Continue Reading →

(Don’t) Expect to Win

Each week in anticipation of and during Naval Academy football games I hear local commercials about how Midshipmen ‘Expect to Win’ on and off the field. At my son’s last swimming event, he told me that he expected to win… Continue Reading →

Committed to WHO

Last week, my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Our wedding day was a lifetime ago, yet in many respects, it seems like yesterday. A few months from now, I will celebrate 24 years in the Navy. Again,… Continue Reading →

Don Your Hoodie, Full-speed Ahead

Last week I attended the Athena East Naval Innovation Competition in downtown Norfolk. More specifically, I was part of a “Shark Tank” style board, helping the contestants think through the “so what” of their idea. The ideas were strong, the… Continue Reading →

Stretching

I enjoy physical exercise and fitness has been a significant part of my life for as long as I can remember. Admittedly, like most kids I was not aware that I was making fitness a priority, I was merely chasing… Continue Reading →

Falling Short Differently

Last month, I observed a toddler who was attempting to walk. He struggled, yet persisted. He toddled to the right, he wobbled to the left, and he spent more time on his behind than on his feet. Each attempt resulted… Continue Reading →

I’ll Miss You

The military life is not for everyone. It’s nomadic. It’s filled with separation from loved ones. It requires sacrifice by all involved. That is the case for many professions, but these characteristics are shared by all who wear the uniform (and… Continue Reading →

Newport to Remember

It happened again, the Navy sent me to Newport, Rhode Island. They’ve been doing that every 3-5 years since I was commissioned. Those of you who have visited Newport will likely agree that it is an absolutely beautiful place. But when… Continue Reading →

What Would Erik Do?

In three days, many will celebrate my brother Erik’s birthday. Though he passed away on October 21, 2013, he is far from forgotten in the minds of many. My family still receives many cherished notes from his friends and colleagues,… Continue Reading →

Better as a Memory

Last week during what was a wonderful visit from my parents, we enjoyed many adventures – Smithsonian, house hunting for our pending move, and general exploration which often included eating. Near the end of their stay we went out to… Continue Reading →

Who Are You?

I have been a long believer that what we do as a profession and who we are as a person are two separate and distinct things. Sure we can make assumptions about who someone is based upon their chosen profession… Continue Reading →

Solitude: Being Alone Makes You a Better Leader (Guest Post)

CDR Andy Newsome is an Information Warfare Officer, and is passionate about helping others. Andy is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval War College and Naval Postgraduate School.  He has served and led in various capacities inside and… Continue Reading →

How Do You Feel?

I feel great! It’s been another wonderful week and I don’t know that I could be more content. I can’t tell you the specifics of everything I did, but I most certainly know how each experience made me feel. Don’t… Continue Reading →

For the Last Time…

I love flipping the script on others and I thoroughly enjoy it when others do the same for me. Those of you who follow this blog have noticed that I am experimenting with a “Question of the Day” each weekday…. Continue Reading →

Incremental Yesses

There are a few words used in today’s work-world that just make me cringe. Five years ago, the default combination of effective and efficient began to really bother me. Our quest for efficiency continues to undermine our effectiveness, as many… Continue Reading →

Familiarity

My current job affords me the opportunity to travel to distant lands, experience new things, and meet lots of interesting people. In fact, last month I had the privilege of bouncing around the west coast, Alaska, Hawaii, and a few stops… Continue Reading →

THINKers

Having recently had an opportunity to engage with some esteemed academic leaders, I must admit that I am simultaneously envious and grateful. Envious of their opportunity to be a professional THINKer and grateful for the things about which I am… Continue Reading →

I’m A Quid

There are many Latin phrases that are prominent in our language and given the fact that a large part of my job (really any job for that matter) is grounded on relationship building and partnership strengthening, it comes as no… Continue Reading →

Self-Limitation

Have you heard about the experiment done years ago on jumping frogs that were placed in jars with lids?  To refresh your memory, the frogs had plenty of food and water, and due to their natural instincts, they continually tried to… Continue Reading →

Opportunities Realized

I know that I am far from alone in my sincere belief that life is one giant opportunity.  Whether we care to admit it or not, we all miss more opportunities than we realize…it’s just math.  The key is to minimize the… Continue Reading →

Finding vs Looking

Earlier this week on my way to work, I found myself singing along with one of my favorite U2 songs.  “I Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For” starts out as follows: I have climbed highest mountainsI have run… Continue Reading →

Give Yourself Credit

I know many people who are eager to take credit for the contributions they make and I tend to seek out people who are quick to give others credit for the contributions they make. What I don’t see all that often is… Continue Reading →

The Mirror is Telling

I have the pleasure of speaking with and to each new Information Warfare Officer via video-teleconference (VTC). This is an opportunity I was afforded based purely on geography in my last job (I served as the Commanding Officer of a… Continue Reading →

Going Home

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of going back to my hometown, Pleasanton, California. The purpose of the visit was to present a scholarship in my brother’s memory to a deserving member of Amador Valley High School’s Class of… Continue Reading →

Picked

Just as many have inspired me, I continue to encourage others to take permission to do the things they want to in life. To pick themselves instead of waiting for others to select them. Despite my belief in that approach to life,… Continue Reading →

Shortcuts

Over the course of our life, we have likely been reminded that there are no shortcuts to meaningful achievement and that those who take shortcuts tend to be lazy (e.g. don’t want to work for what they want) or selfish (e.g…. Continue Reading →

Midlife Certainty

The term “midlife crisis” became part of our vocabulary in the mid-1960s as a means of describing a time in life where adults begin to truly realize that we are mortal and that our life may be more than halfway… Continue Reading →

Compelled to Believe

I heard it yet again last week at the tail end of a conversation, “You make a very compelling point.” I did not think the information shared was overly insightful, nor did I believe the argument that sound. Regardless, I… Continue Reading →

Force of Enthusiasm (Guest Post)

LT Austin Henry Rutkowski studied International Security at Stanford and Oregon State University.  He received his commission as a Naval Officer in 2007 and has served in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Japan and the Persian Gulf.  He is currently stationed at… Continue Reading →

Boundaries

Early this month I had the pleasure of sharing lunch with a prized friend and mentor. We talked of many things including family, our individual efforts focused on inspiring others, the future of our ongoing personal experiments, updates on some… Continue Reading →

From Chosen by Others to Choosing Ourselves

I sincerely enjoy writing, sharing, and experimenting. In all honesty that is the reason this forum even exists. In 2013, I did all three in this very space. The examples of writing and sharing are both obvious and abundant, while… Continue Reading →

Promises

As the year draws to an end, I find myself once again immersed in the annual season of reflection and goal setting. Over the years, I’ve shared plenty of thoughts about my troubled relationship with resolutions many of us make, yet have… Continue Reading →

Big E’s Big Four

On October 21st, my younger (and only) brother Erik (“Big E”) passed away. The circumstances behind his passing are not important to share, but the way he lived most certainly is.  Over the past few weeks, the memories we shared… Continue Reading →

Shipped It

Those who follow this forum or know me personally can attest to the fact that I am a big fan of Seth Godin. In fact, it was his book Linchpin and the coaching of a few of my mentors that… Continue Reading →

The Middle

I like Oreos as much as the next person, maybe more. Those of us who indulge in such junk food have likely experimented with eating them in various ways. We might dip them in milk, we might smash them before… Continue Reading →

Solution Providers

I have heard it said before that there are two kinds of people in this world…Those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better. I fall into the… Continue Reading →

Pirates, Passion, Professionals (Guest Post)

Mario Vulcano is a retired Chief Warrant Officer after 23 years and is currently serving as Course Manager and instructor for the Information Warfare Basic Course (IWBC) at Corry Station in Pensacola Florida.  He has served a total of 10… Continue Reading →

“TED-like” Talk

It was late December of 2012 and I had just finished my list of goals for 2013, or so I thought. The week prior to finalizing my list, a mentor had lent me the book How to Deliver A TED Talk…. Continue Reading →

Engage. Connect. Grow.

A recent status update on my LinkedIn account resulted in a nice conversation with a Department of Defense (DoD) civilian on the topic of mentoring, networking, and actively engaging with others. He made mention that in his 20+ years working… Continue Reading →

Opportunities To Fail

It might sound odd, but I will go ahead and admit that I sometimes enjoy watching others struggle, and the highest highs I continue to enjoy in life are experienced on the back end of a personal struggle. I will… Continue Reading →

Public Accountability

Have you ever thought about doing something and then never got close to actually doing it? Have you ever written something down as a goal or task and then not seen it through? I know I am among the many… Continue Reading →

Culture Clash (Guest Post)

Ensign Lukas Dwelly was commissioned as an Intelligence Officer last fall through the Navy Reserve Direct Commissioning Program. Enlisting in the Marines in 1995, he obtained the rank of Sergeant and deployed as an infantry squad leader aboard the USS… Continue Reading →

Gratitude Ceremonies

Spring has sprung and summer is near. The change in weather signals many things to many people and I am finding that with each year that passes this is the season of retirement ceremonies. Last Friday, two of my valued… Continue Reading →

Competence…Confidence…Authority

I continue to notice that most public sector organizations, as well as many of the people working within them, are especially mindful of the authorities that they may not enjoy. They hold themselves back from doing some of the things… Continue Reading →

Flattening your Tree of Monkeys – Observations on Leadership (Guest Post)

CTR2 Willoughby is a 23-year-old first-term Sailor with a driving passion for learning and understanding; a rational, positive outlook on life; a distaste for the superflous; and, if not uncensored, a tongue which expresses his distaste. Since enlisting in 2009… Continue Reading →

Cover Bands

“Cover bands don’t change the world.”  That is a call to action from Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative and PODcast by the same name. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and subscribe to both his blog and PODcast. In… Continue Reading →

Operate Forward (Guest Post)

LTJG Jason Pawlak is an Information Warfare Officer originally from Mason, Ohio.  After graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Computer Science, he commissioned through Officer Candidate School in October of 2010.  Jason took orders to NIOC… Continue Reading →

Confidence and Clarity

With the move to Maryland and joining a new team, I have made it a point of late to reach out to some of the proteges with whom I now share geography.  I have also incorporated guest posts on my… Continue Reading →

Family, Intersections, and Legacy

Simultaneously starting a new job and planning for a new year is proving to be rather fortuitous.  Like many people, before I settle into a new job I arrive with a list of goals (short and long term) that I… Continue Reading →

Thanksgiving, Giving Thanks, and Just Plain Giving

Over the last week while I was experiencing yet another wonderful Thanksgiving with family, like so many others, I spent a good portion of time reflecting on the many things for which I am thankful in my life.  As my… Continue Reading →

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