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Victory Academy Blog2017-06-28T12:18:11+00:00

Developing YOUR Resilience

To be resilient, must you have faced a major failure, life setback or constant daily challenges? The answer is no, so I’ve learned. Everyone is faced with some type of adversity in their life – Some just in smaller doses than others. I’ve often asked myself, does it make me less resilient if I’ve never had to overcome a major life setback or tragedy? Do I have a lower level of resilience because I’ve never had to live paycheck to paycheck or work 3 jobs to provide for my family? I have wrestled with this concept for quite some time. Is it possible for me to be as resilient as people who have battled back from a near death injury, or received a college scholarship after once failing out of school, or lead a successful corporate company after spending time in the military? How can I find my own resilience and be proud of it? I believe the key part of that last question is “find my own.” I have learned that I need to stop comparing my level of resilience to others. Most often, we think of resilience as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. Can resilience also be a type of strength where you don’t allow yourself to fall into a rut because you constantly maintain a positive outlook, perform at a high level and persistently adapt and evolve? I admire those who have bounced back from major life challenges and adversities. I’m in awe and inspired by stories of great resilience. However, I also have great admiration for individuals who show their resilience by being fiercely committed and by demonstrating great consistency in terms of their work ethic, their positive mindset, their passion [...]

November 7th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , |

It’s Not Too Late to Be Great – Lead Yourself to (or Back to) Greatness

Do you ever let your age define your goals or expectations from life? Have you ever thought to yourself, I wish I could still do “this” or I wish I could learn to do “that”, but decided not to act because you thought you were too old, or too young, or not qualified, or afraid to be vulnerable, or just flat out scared? You’re not alone. EVERYONE has these moments. Moments of doubt and uncertainty. It’s hard to overcome these fears and tackle your goals or challenges head on. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone, do what you know well and only maximize your strengths. If you take a risk, there is a chance you will fail. There is a chance you won’t make the team, or get the job, or surf the wave, or get the part, or lose the weight, or do well in the class. But how will you know if you don’t give it everything you have and try to be GREAT? The key to that last point, is “everything you have.” If you choose to go for a new job, prepare hard for the interview. If you choose to try-out for the team, get in the best possible shape you can. If you choose to lose ten pounds and increase your muscle mass, then set a plan and stick to it. You won’t ever know what you’re capable of unless you fully commit. And if you don’t succeed the first time, it will only make you stronger and more inclined to try again. You won’t regret what you did, but rather things you did not do. Here are three tips to help you lead yourself to greatness. REMEMBER THAT AGE IS JUST A NUMBER Don’t let your age stop you or define you. Success [...]

June 18th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , |

3 Leadership Tips I Would Give My College Self

Earlier this month I was fortunate to visit my alma matter, Northwestern University, and work with several different groups of student-athletes. The visit was quite nostalgic and surprisingly made me reflect on myself during my four years of college. Let me preface by saying I don’t have any regrets about my college experience or my performance as a student or an athlete. They were some of the greatest years and most memorable moments of my life. In talking with many current collegiate student-athletes, I have recently found myself thinking about things I believe I did well, and things I could have done better, both as an individual leader and as a team leader. Is there anything specific that you would tell your college self? We all know that a big part of college is growing and developing into a young adult. You’re not expected to be a perfect decision maker and know all the answers. I don’t have any doubts about my four years or wish I would have had an altered experience – but if afforded the opportunity, I would have given myself these three simple tips before stepping on campus. STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE more often. When it came to playing lacrosse – on the field, I would deem myself adequate in this area. It was likely because of my willingness to try new positions, new techniques and push the limits of my skills. It was off the field where I would have liked to see myself get uncomfortable more often and be less focused on ‘fitting in.’ Many times, I cared too much about what other people thought or afraid people would think. In particular, there were opportunities to speak up more. There were many instances when my participation could have boosted communication on my [...]

May 2nd, 2017|Categories: Blog, Member Content|

Prominent Leadership Traits of 3 U.S. Presidents

All of our 45 United States Presidents made it to that prestigious position because they possessed leadership qualities and attributes in some form. However, simply because you are elected President, doesn’t mean you are automatically a great leader. Leadership is a process. Leadership requires work. Leadership necessitates action. Personal Interlude: I’ll be honest – my inclination to write this blog stems from my lack of observance for the Presidents Day holiday while growing up. I used to view it as a day off school or a day off work. A few years back, I realized that I never thought deeply about the holiday’s significance and the impact our leaders have had on this country. So this year, I have decided to reflect and be thankful. Out of our long list of Presidents, there are some who truly stand out as the most impactful leaders in our country’s history. Three Presidents who are commonly revered as the greatest and most influential leaders are Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Although we live in completely different eras, with diverse societies and under entirely different political and socio-economic climates, there are still key leadership traits that transcend time. So what made these three men some of the top leading Presidents of all time? What traits and attributes can we learn from these remarkable leaders – and apply to our own leadership profiles?   ABRAHAM LINCOLN We all know that Lincoln saved the Union during the American Civil War. We’ve read the books and seen the movies about Lincoln’s heroic actions that eventually led to the abolition of slavery across the United States. With a nation at war and in deep despair and aggression, how did Lincoln lead the country to a pivotal turning point? What leadership tactics did he use to [...]

February 16th, 2017|Categories: Blog|

Building Community Leaders

Readers of my monthly column know that I use this opportunity each month to highlight something happening behind the scenes to move our city of Nashua forward, and these things are typically very much "under the radar" to most of us. The point of this column therefore is to shine a spotlight on those activities and those who are making them happen, so that more of us become aware of them and can choose to participate in those activities or support them in other ways. Within this context, I'd like to use this month's column to highlight a program that any parent in and around Nashua should learn more about. If you have kids anywhere between 5-10 years old, take note of what I'm going to share with you today. It involves a really neat partnership between our local Police Athletic League (PAL) and my company where I now work - velocityHUB. For the past couple of years, our company has led a one-day leadership workshop in partnership with PAL in which we teach kids leadership values that they can use at their age level, and in their interactions with other kids their age and with their families back home. This workshop takes the kids through a journey in which they learn nine different attributes of being a leader - attributes like Communication, Teamwork, and Courage ... just to name a few. The kids learn these attributes by meeting local people in our community who volunteer their time to come in and share their life experiences with the kids relating to each of these attributes. The kids also participate in fun, interactive exercises throughout the day that reinforce the leadership traits that they learn from listening to the stories and experiences of the adults. At the end of the day-long [...]

January 3rd, 2017|Categories: Blog|

Would You Follow You? Leadership Through a Personal Lens

Leaders develop followers. People follow others and commit to leaders for a multitude of reasons. When thinking about your leadership capabilities and potential, consider whether or not YOU would follow YOU? It’s a unique way to assess your individual leadership skills, proficiencies and inefficiencies. Be honest and realistic about your self-assessment. Can you quickly and effortlessly name three reasons why someone should follow you? Was that easy, or did it make you critically think about your current level of leadership? Hopefully the question made you contemplate your best assets, as well as your liabilities and shortcomings.   If You WOULD Follow Yourself, Then Why? Be conscious and aware of what makes you a great leader and understand why people follow you. Since you would follow yourself, you are most likely in tune with your strengths and believe in your abilities to willingly organize a group of people, to work towards a vision, to reach a common goal. Continue to build on the strengths that make you a confident and respected leader. Are you approachable? Are you innovative? Do you put the team first? Do you give off positive energy? Do you always find a way to get results? Stay true and authentic to your strengths. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re great at communicating with others and sharing a vision, then continue to leverage that ability. It’s important to develop your leadership skills, but equally as important to not forget what made you a strong leader in the first place. Great leaders are able to maintain their strengths, improve their assets, and avoid any type complacency. Remember and frequently revisit the reasons why you would follow yourself.   If You WOULD NOT Follow Yourself, Then Why? What are the characteristics, attributes or qualities that hold you back from saying [...]

November 29th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

3 Leadership Lessons Learned From Watching the 2016 Olympics

Every four years we are given the opportunity to watch the summer Olympics unfold. The games are a powerful reminder of what makes this world great and show us true examples of what it means to make sacrifices, trust in teammates, push the limits and show pride for one’s nation. The 2016 Summer Games have provided many wonderful examples of what it means to be a great athlete, in and out of competition. From watching the Olympics thus far, there are 3 lessons that have made an impact on me. EVERY SECOND COUNTS For some sports, I should say “every tenth of a second counts.” It amazes me how in several events, the difference between a gold medal and 4th place can be less than a second or less than a point. It makes me realize that every moment and every move truly matters. I draw a parallel to my business life, in that every moment of my day counts. If I can be as productive and efficient as possible, then I am more likely to see greater accomplishments and better outcomes. The Olympic athletes practice their moves and plan out their strategies before every competition. They want to be sure they maximize every second, from the first whistle to the last. In my professional career, I try to prepare for my days, weeks and months, so that I can maximize productivity. Similar to these athletes, when I feel prepared, I feel confident and ready to succeed. BE A GRACEFUL LOSER I’ll admit, I’m not “good” at losing. Just like the Olympians, I am incredibly competitive and don’t move on from a loss easily. Through my lacrosse career, both at Northwestern and on the US National Team, I was fortunate to go 102-8. I didn’t lose often, but when I [...]

August 18th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

Winning Attributes of Four Fascinating Leaders

Leadership comes in many forms and every leader is different from the next. However, there are certain attributes that seem to play a consistent role in the success of many leaders. Four renowned leaders, who I personally find inspiring, show many of these qualities. I have highlighted six winning attributes through the success profiles of these leaders. 1. WARREN BUFFETT Honesty - As a business leader, his company, his team and his brand are a reflection of himself. It’s visible through his work and his reputation, that Buffett has made honesty and ethical behavior a key value. People want to work for and surround themselves with hardworking, fair leaders. He has proven to be just that. NO LEGACY IS SO RICH AS HONESTY When asked the question, “If I could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be?” Warren Buffett is near, if not at, the top of my list. What greatly intrigues me is that he’s known for explaining his ideas, processes and decisions, so that everyone can understand it. He wants his team and his company to trust him, so he makes everyone around him comfortable knowing what they’re doing and where they’re headed. Service - In 2006, Buffett announced that he would be giving his entire fortune away, which includes committing 85% to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This donation of $2.8 Billion is the largest act of charitable giving in U.S. History. He also co-introduced ‘The Giving Pledge’ to encourage the world’s wealthy to join him and Bill Gates in committing to donating at least half of their fortune to philanthropy. I love this about him. Not only is he an incredible self-leader and humble in his own life, but he is inspiring others to give back as well. BY SERVING OTHERS, WE SERVE [...]

June 3rd, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

5 Ways the Victory Academy Helped Bishop Guertin High School Crush Anxiety

On April 1st, 2016, our fearless leader, Brendan P. Keegan, captivated and inspired the entire student body of Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, NH. His keynote address was delivered to the school at the invitation of the school’s president, Linda Brodeur. The event, part of an Alumni Career Day, brought together all 750 students, along with faculty and administration members, to listen to Keegan’s message. Keegan reflected on his own days as a BG Cardinal, shared his personal connection to the students and recalled his best memories of high school life. Keegan then sparked a determination within the students to overcome typical fears of anxiety experienced by teenagers. He encouraged them to think critically and creatively about their own ability to face anxiety and “crush life” in five different ways: Have Perspective Find Your Purpose Be Courageous Live with Faith Be a Leader at “Your Thing”   At the Victory Academy we work with the emerging generation by helping students develop into leaders and maximize their potential. These concepts addressed by Keegan are some of the key factors we discuss and explore in our academies. Our trainings are meant to evoke personal assessments and reflections, followed by calls-to-action, in which students create their desired goals and plans for the future. For myself, learning and developing these concepts throughout the years has been instrumental in my personal and professional development. Do you face anxiety? As we like to say, the time to act is now!   HAVE PERSPECTIVE As a young student, it can often be challenging to live with an open mind and always have perspective. But it’s possible! Always be conscious of your values and moral standards. It will help you make proper decisions and build your character. I learned the true meaning of having perspective when I [...]

April 6th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

FINDING YOUR BALANCE: 6 Tips for Earnest Living

I’ve always been a firm believer that happiness comes when you can find balance in your life. It’s easy to have the mentality that your life could always be better in some way. And don’t get me wrong, it’s great to dream big and have lofty aspirations, but I personally feel that happiness comes when you can live for today, not just tomorrow. The components of your life all work together and influence each other. If you’re happy in your marriage, you’re more likely to be happy when heading to work each morning. If you’re satisfied with your work life, then you’re more likely to be in a positive mood when spending time with family and friends. In my young adult life, I’ve found that it’s all about balance and managing those levers to the best of your ability. When I face stressful or chaotic moments in life, I like to ask myself 6 key questions: Am I being my best self? Am I putting my personal relationships first and avoiding the social media trap? When facing conflict, am I reflecting, learning & moving on? Do I change up my routines? Am I making an effort to serve others? Do I have a fun event planned for the future?   BE YOUR BEST MENTAL & PHYSICAL SELF. If you’re happy with yourself, then you’re more likely to bring a positive energy to others. Find a job that fulfills you. Even if you’re not overly passionate about the brand or product you endorse, there are ways to feel professionally fulfilled. For example, make meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients. Expand your mind space by learning new concepts and taking stretch assignments. Set goals, and see them through. Personally, I feel that I am my best self when I step out of [...]

March 21st, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

College to Corporate: 4 Keys to Making a Successful Transition

Making the transition from college life to the corporate world can be a tough crossing. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2007, I joined the millions of other recent graduates on the journey to find my next step. I was fortunate to find success early, and joined Nike, Inc. just 3 months after graduation. Through the process and after looking back, I’ve identified four keys that can help make that leap forward as smooth and prosperous as possible. 1.  Network. Network. Network. Finding a desirable job is not easy. Having meaningful connections can greatly increase your chances of being made aware of a position, being considered for the job, and potentially being given an edge during competition for the spot. Begin networking NOW. You don’t need to wait until your senior year of college, or once you’ve graduated, to build your connections. Develop a thorough LinkedIn page and start attending networking events to form new relationships. A great piece of advice I received while in college was to create a networking plan to use as a tool for today and for my future career pursuit. I was also taught the importance of staying engaged with your connections: Reach out a few times a year, and try using different modes of communication. After a first meeting, send a handwritten note. Thank people for their time and briefly recap a key discussion point or action item from your conversation. Follow-up a short time later with an email and LinkedIn request. This way, your connection has your contact information and has access to a breakdown of your professional background and current endeavors. Keep people in-tune with your accomplishments by putting fresh content on your LinkedIn page. Make an effort to get involved in the community you wish to work in, by volunteering at [...]

February 16th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |