Unleash the Hero Within!

Unleash the Hero Within! Wise words to ponder from Michael Nila, founder of Blue Courage.

Shaq for Blue Courage!

Article: You Don’t Understand!

improvingpolice May 8, 2018

“But You Don’t Understand!”

From time to time, I get the opportunity to talk to today’s cops about today’s problems. With one foot still in the “culture,” and the other foot in the community, I think I have a perspective that could be helpful as to what’s going on and what needs to be done.

For example, at one meeting a young African-American woman (a correctional officer) explained how her husband, a military veteran, was coming out of a store when he was stopped by police, told to get on the ground (in which he wisely complied), handcuffed, taken to the police station, stood in a lineup, and was released two hours later. He was not the suspect police had thought he was.

Now this is not an unfamiliar story among American blacks. She stated this incident still leaves her angry because the police did not apologize.

Listening to this story were a number of police officers. One officer questioned the lady as to why there should be an apology. “The police did nothing wrong. They lawfully detained your husband because they reasonably and legally believed was a suspect. When their investigation revealed he was not the person they wanted, they released him. They did nothing wrong!”

“But they should have apologized!” she argued.

“Why?” the officer responded, “They did nothing wrong!”

Well, that’s it. That’s the rut, the loop, in which I find many conversations going between police and people of color.

Continue reading here.

“But You Don’t Understand!”

A Message from BJA VALOR Program on Officer Safety and Wellness

To our law enforcement family,
In light of the line-of-duty deaths of our colleagues over the last two weeks, the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s VALOR Program offers our profound condolences to the families and agencies who have lost loved ones. We share in your grief.
We recognize that the law enforcement profession is inherently dangerous. Just in 2018 alone, firearms-related law enforcement deaths are up 133%, a tragic and concerning statistic. Yet, your work as law enforcement officers continues. Day in and day out, you provide invaluable public safety services to your communities, regardless of what happens to one of your own.

Your safety is of paramount importance to your family, your agency, and to the BJA VALOR Program. This safety starts before you even put your feet on the ground to prepare for your shift.

It seems that this is a good time to share a few considerations about your safety and wellness.

Click here to continue reading.

Happy Birthday Blue Courage!

Happy Birthday to Blue Courage! It has been an honor to serve you all, and we look forward to many more years together!

Illuminate (February 2018)

Your Learning Journal

February 2018


The Cycle That Leads to Success

by Jocelyn Little

“Innovation is not the result of chance. It is the result of action.  It is not a thing we wait for, it is a thing we do.”

-Phil McKinney

The phone rang. My nerves suddenly seemed to explode, as I had just finished an important team call where, for the first time, I took the lead role. On the other end of the phone was my mentor, my leader, my inspiration – who was also my boss.  “How did the call with the team go? Did you fire them up? Did you come up with a plan?” Big questions!

A plan! What was our plan going to be? My answer was a long-winded one, debriefing how our team call went.  What I thought would be a short debrief call turned into a much needed and very appreciated mentoring session, filled with a lot of golden nuggets of wisdom and inspiration.

We all need some great mentoring and coaching from time to time, no matter our title, responsibilities, or role.  We also all need constant inspiration, which if we pay close attention, can be found anywhere. Together, mentoring and inspiration can walk a person down a path to something huge – a game changing idea or plan.  Ironically, that very night after speaking with my boss, I found some inspiration and wisdom in an unlikely place – my son’s martial arts class at the Las Vegas Kung Fu Academy, where the very topic of success and planning was discussed.

That night, after some warm up exercises, the instructor taught the students the “Black Belt Success Cycle.” As I sat there and listened to the lesson, I quickly began to gain interest in the conversation as I realized that this “Success Cycle” could really be applied to anything. This “Success Cycle” can effectively help me realize my personal and professional goals, as well as any organizational goals that might be driven by the team. It starts with knowing exactly what you want, absolute clarity, and having the end goal in mind.  From there, if certain steps of the cycle are followed, you slowly make your way to your end goal as the cycle repeats. The bottom line is, you cannot go anywhere if you first don’t know where you are going.

The Black Belt Success Cycle

  1. Know what you want – you cannot accomplish anything if you do not know what you want (have the end in mind with absolute clarity).
  2. Make a plan – what steps must you take and in what sequence must they occur to succeed?
  3. Get a mentor/coach – who will help you along the path to success?
  4. Assess your goals – what step by step, incremental goals must you make to pave a path to success?
  5. Review your progress – what goals have you already reached? What goals are realistic vs. unrealistic? Remember to take things one step at a time – there’s no fast forward button, no short cuts in life.
  6. Adjust your plan – once you’ve reached one incremental goal, what adjustments need to be made to continue on the pathway to succeed? Or if you haven’t reached your next goal, why not? What adjustments are necessary to change that result?

As I reflected on my day, I realized that I had all of the starting pieces of the “Success Cycle;” I just needed to lay them all out into this model.  I realized that I knew what I wanted success to look like for the team. The team discussed a possible plan to get there. My boss was my success coach, my mentor. Now, from that point on, what will be required to meet our goal is continuous and deliberate action. The team must act on our plan, assess our step by step goals, review our progress, and adjust our plan as necessary. As a wise man once said, “Ideation without execution is delusion!” The whole idea behind the “Success Cycle” is dependent on first knowing what you want, then having the discipline and the courage to act on it! So ask yourself, what are you waiting for? Success is yours to have – go get it!

“What separates the icons and legends from the ordinary performers is the level of depth and rigor of their knowledge and commitment.”

-Michael Nila

Founder of Blue Courage


Making Stone Soup

Have you ever heard of Stone Soup? It doesn’t sound very tasty – yet the reviews from nay sayers were raving of it’s scrumptious flavors once tasted! This video explains the short story of how inspiration, curiosity, and people contributing key ingredients can make a desired and satisfying result.


Feeding the Mind

Recommended Reading


212° the Extra Degree

How to Achieve Results Beyond Your Wildest Expectation

by S.L. Parker

This quick read discusses how one degree can make a huge difference. “At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train.” That extra degree can mean the difference between something hot and something with enough power and force that can make a tremendous difference.

Why you should read this book:

A short, 20-minute read, this book provides inspiration and statistics to encourage your thinking as to how and where you can apply an extra degree of heat, creating monumental results. Just one degree more of practice, effort, passion, engagement…if all done consistently at one degree higher can help lead to the difference between good and great – the difference between knowing and mastering your craft.  This book provokes your thought and challenges your courage for execution.

Click here to purchase this book.

Reflections From the Field

Learning Put Into Action from Blue Courage’s Inclusive Leadership Course

“Learning without application means nothing.” This is application, reflection, putting content to learning, being aware of being unaware…so much of what we speak about for three days in our Inclusive Leadership class is reflected in Jane’s story below. We may not all be as great and creative and fun of a writer, but we do all have these moments where we can apply the theory of Inclusive Leadership…a story shared is powerful because what we share we deepen!


On my drive home Saturday, I was a barrel-o-monkeys of emotions. What the heck just happened? How was I going to be better? How would I make sure that my energy would follow good thoughts?

On any given day, I get home and I am greeted by AJ and Indy. No, not my family but my two love-hungry, shelter-rescued pups. AJ always wags his tail hard enough to power a water plant. Lookout or the half-lab-half-whippet will, simply, whip ya good. And Indy – the 60-pound bully – is really a mushball. She will rise on her hind legs, ever-so-gingerly, and turn just as you embrace her and back into you. She wants her hug. She will stand for as long as you want and nuzzle as long as you are willing to give her the love. When you say enough or “go play”, they both return to their chew bones or will go romp and frolic outside.

I tell you this not to dote on my dogs, but because I had a revelation shortly after getting home yesterday.

You see I got home, I gave my love to the pups, said hello and then, I had to turn right back around and take my daughter to a dance class. The studio is only two minutes away from the house, by car, so I am back home in less than 7 or 8 minutes or so.

When I walked back in the door, I received the same exact greeting that I had gotten just minutes earlier.

So, my revelation was this: shouldn’t we always have that “dog-like” enthusiasm to return to our teams; shouldn’t we have it when we meet with management; shouldn’t we maintain it when we get in front of our customers; heck, shouldn’t we have it when our spouses walk in the door?

I realized the greeting was always the same. It is the “Oh-my-gosh! You’re back! You’re back! I’m so excited you’re here…. Now you can pay attention to me” attitude. Over and over again. Without hesitation.

Shouldn’t we have dog-like enthusiasm for our daily work?

Shouldn’t we have dog-like loyalty to our [insert “customers”, “leaders”, “constituents” here]?

Shouldn’t we have dog-like “unconditionality”? Shouldn’t we just want to lick our master’s face in appreciation? (And by master, I mean our significant others, not the manager or our immediate supervisor. That would just be weird.)

I think so. *And if you don’t have dogs, maybe this is all lost on you. OR if you’re a cat-person, well… this would be an entirely different story. We would be discussing cat-like ambivalence, cat-like solitude and cat-like mischief.

Jane Lanahan Decker
City of Doral, FL

Article: Courage It’s More Than You Think (Improving Police)

Courage: It’s More Than You Think


“The mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty; from the Latin “cor “– heart.*

Courage, of course, is what every police officer wants and aspires. Without it, a police officer cannot do his or her duties and will not be accepted by others in the ranks.

But what is often forgotten is that courage is more than running toward gunshots while everyone else runs away from them — and it is more than checking out a dark building on an even-darker night. Yes, courage is physical bravery, but courage is also five other actions in the face of danger that are just as important for a 21st century police officer.


Read more by clicking here, or at the link below.


Illuminate (January 2018)

Welcome to the Inaugural Issue of

Your Learning Journal

January 2018


Rise Up in 2018: A Blue Courage Moment

By Michael Nila 

Can we be as big or bigger than this moment or will the moment swallow us up because we are not willing to rise up, fight to remain standing and meet this moment with the full force and fury of our fearless conviction?

Rise up with no expectation but fueled with hope for what might be, for what is possible. Some call that a fairy tale and say it in a way that screams of foolishness – I prefer the power of believing what people of courage, hope and humility can create together. I prefer to march boldly in the direction of my dreams rather than to shrink in the shadows of my circumstances.

Many say “but I am damaged goods” – news flash — we are ALL damaged! Damaged deeply by our yesterdays, by our mistakes and misjudgments, by the others who, because of their smallness and weakness, have left scars and imprints on our soul. I refuse to let my yesterday determine my today and tomorrow. I refuse to allow the smallest people in my life to be more powerful influences on me than the amazing people who have gifted me by their presence in my life. I refuse to allow my scars, memories, and pain to be anything more than fuel for who I can become and for my happiness, health and well-being.

So I can say what I want, or say nothing; I can choose to act, to DO something or choose to do nothing – but can I strive to be as big or bigger than “this moment?” That IS my challenge. What I choose in this moment will shape my forever! “What is this moment asking of me?”

Choice: Life gives us choice; it does not give us a crystal ball. Choice does not give us certainty and control — it gives us a chance; a choice to roll the dice! A choice and chance to play or turn away because one outcome is that I might lose. But if I don’t even play, I have no chance to win! I always hear people say, “I don’t know how to play,” but there’s only one way to learn to play and that is by getting into the game. Make 2018 the year we all say, “Yes! I am all in!”


Guided Meditations with davidji

90-Second Stress Buster!

We all experience various levels of stress throughout the day. As we know stress is neither good or bad, it is our response to the moments that determine their impact on us emotionally and physically. As stressful situations occur – a difficult conversation, a conflict with another individual, a project deadline, an argument with a family member, the traffic in the morning’s commute – these experiences build upon each other. Cortisol, the fight or flight hormone builds rather than dissipates, and this can be toxic to your health while negatively affecting those around you. Taking a moment to quiet your mind, and interrupt the pattern of stressful thoughts gives you emotional space allowing you to reset your attitude, actions, and reactions. Our 90-second stress buster is a tool to help you combat the stresses of the day.




Feeding the Mind

Recommended Reading


“Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life” by James Kerr

The legendary All Blacks rugby team of New Zealand is one of the world’s most successful sporting teams. How do they accomplish this challenging feat of being one of the best sports teams year after year? What are their secrets for success? This book is an intriguing and inspirational read for all leaders and team members. It takes dedication and hard work from everyone on the team to continually be successful at the highest levels of the game. Individual and team efforts in ownership, leadership, and accountability can help to turn vision into action, with purposeful practice to achieve desired results.

Why you should read this book:

“Legacy” shares valuable leadership and life mastery lessons necessary for success in today’s advancing world. The All Blacks rugby team began to face challenges and struggles, leading to a complete cultural overhaul. Key leadership on the team began to realize that there are certain aspects crucial to the continuous success of the team, for example:

  • After celebrating a win, two of the senior players pick up a broom and sweep the sheds, properly so no one else has to. “No one looks after the All Blacks – the All Blacks look after themselves.” They are humble warriors – never too big to do the small things.
  • “Better people make better All Blacks.” To be better at what you do, be a better person.
  • “Human beings are motivated by purpose, autonomy and a drive towards mastery. Accomplished leaders create an environment in which their people can develop their skills, their knowledge and their character. This leads to a learning environment and a culture of curiosity, innovation and continuous improvement.”
  • What legacy are you creating? Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.” As James Kerr says,” If we’re going to lead a life, if we’re going to lead anything, we should surely know where we are going, and why.”

This book is filled with great wisdom and learning that leads to success, and ultimately leads to an outstanding legacy. Anyone of influence should add this book to their “must read” list.

Purchase the book: click here.


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Article: A Hippocratic Oath for Policing (Police Foundation)

A Hippocratic Oath for Policing

Sgt. Jeremiah P. Johnson
Darien (CT) Police Department

The recent spotlight on deadly use-of-force encounters has led John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor David Kennedy to ruminate whether the field of policing should have its own Hippocratic Oath.

The Hippocratic Oath is commonly encapsulated as “do no harm.” Medicine’s Hippocratic Oath has changed form since the days of ancient Greece, but its spirit lives on among physicians.

Police are society’s physicians, the kind that still make house calls.

It is the physician’s job to examine the patient, diagnose the underlying condition and prescribe an effective course of treatment. A doctor that only attends to visible symptoms, provides ineffective medicine, or treats in a manner that is ultimately harmful has failed the patient.

Policing is indeed strong medicine and can produce miraculous cures. However, we in law enforcement are all too ready to focus singularly on the visible symptoms of crime, overprescribe our favorite medications without due regard for their deleterious side effects, or rely on untested remedies that have been handed down through tradition instead of science.


Continue reading here.

A Hippocratic Oath for policing

Learn, Share, Grow – Your Elusive Creative Genius

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

Below is a video from TED Talks on where creativity comes from as well as key learnings.


Key Learnings:

  • Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, talks about her fear that her greatest creative work is now behind her.  The fear is that all her future creative work will be known as the what came after her biggest success.  How she deals with this thought and possible reality is the radical idea that the creative genius doesn’t come from people, but comes to people.
  • Ancient Greece/Ancient Rome – believed creativity was a divine attendant spirit that came to humans from a distant, unknown source for unknown reasons.
    • Greek called it daemons
    • Romans called it genius
  • Renaissance brought about the thinking that creativity came from self – a person IS the genius, not HAS a genius – this can distort egos and create high, sometimes unrealistic, expectations for performance
  • Poet Ruth Stone – she could feel and hear a poem coming at her – she had to quickly get to paper and pencil to capture the poem on paper.  If she missed it, it would continue on in search of another poet.
  • Musician Tom Waits – one day while driving down the freeway, started hearing a tune but had no way of capturing it.  He looked into the sky and said he was driving, if you want to exist then come back at a more opportune moment – otherwise go bother someone else.  This set the tone for HOW he did his work – not for his work itself.
  • The idea that our work/ideas come through us from an unknown source can free us from the unnecessary anxiety and stress and allows creativity and ideas to flow through us freely.
  • If this creative genius isn’t there or doesn’t come to us, keep doing your job anyway.  Keep showing up for your piece of it; keep doing your part.  Be stubborn and never give up.
  • The most creative aspects of your life never came from you but came to you.