Many of my circle know that I have a daily gratitude habit – each day I give thanks to a person that enriches my life in some way. Today is my daily gratitude for a man that I call my brother.
Today I am thankful for a man that is no longer with us. He died on the 7th of January 2009, while fighting for our Nation. He was one of my Rangers in the 1st Ranger Battalion, and though we only did a few deployments together, our time together was more than memorable. While he certainly taught me about being a Ranger, about leadership, and about being a good man, it was the lesson he taught me after his passing that had the most profound effect on who I am today, and how I think.
I wore this Ranger’s KIA bracelet every day without fail. This piece of aluminum would remind me of him, and his sacrifice, and it would help me to remember to be a better Ranger, leader, and man. At the time I believed that to have true sacrifice there must be suffering, loss, or privation. I believed in the Judeo-Christian philosophy that sacrifice (suffering) was necessary, to truly make something better. To this end, I wanted to remember his sacrifice, and this was the most tangible way I could do that, and try to live his legacy, one of sacrifice.
But one day I looked up the word ‘sacrifice’ and saw that it came from the Latin ‘sacrificium’, meaning to make something sacred. As I looked further at the ancient definition, I found that what it really meant was to make something better than it was. Nowhere in the origin of the word was there any reference to suffering, privation, or loss. It simply meant to make something better.
Imagine how different the world looks when we take a powerful word like sacrifice, that so often is associated with anxiety, and misery – even if it is willful – and we just make it positive. How many times have we told people they had to sacrifice for something, and they shoulder the task with dread? How many times have we told people in the middle of an arduous and painful task that what they were doing was the “sacrifice”? How often have we made sacrifice a negative, even if the task was for a positive reason?
So, when this Ranger’s bracelet finally broke, I replaced it with a stainless band. On one end was the Ranger Crest, on the other end the 1st Battalion Scroll, and between the two – one word – SACRIFICIUM.
Ranger SSG Anthony Davis’ true lesson to me, was not in his loss, but what he left behind, the legacy he had built. The leaders he made better, the Regiment he made better, the Battalion he made better, the Army he made better, the Nation he made better. He taught me that I can sacrifice every day – I can focus on making things better around me – without having to worry about what I lose in the process. And shouldn’t that be the focus of sacrifice – the gain not the loss. If we remember the word for what it is, then we have that in the forefront of our mind. I am thankful that I had SSG Davis in my life, and I am thankful that I learned the true meaning of sacrifice through him. We need more people like SSG Anthony Davis in the world.
J.C. Glick served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer for 20 years, primarily in special operations and special missions units with more than 11 combat tours. Since retiring from the military, J.C. has brought his innovative and unconventional thoughts on education, leadership, and resiliency into the private sector, consulting with Fortune 500 companies, the NFL, NBA, NCAA, and professional sports teams including the Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, and the Charlotte Hornets.
He is considered a thought leader in adaptive and proactive programs of instruction centered on the development of leadership behaviors and values suited to dynamic environments and situations of ambiguity and adversity. J.C. recently developed the “Prodromos Developmental Model”, a capacity-building system designed to develop people and leaders for the future, which is outlined in his book. His methods have been featured in Forbes Magazine and the Huffington Post and his work has been referenced in Forbes, Inc., and Entrepreneur.