David Mike is our special guest today on the Answers From Leadership podcast. David joined the Army right after high school and after a short period of time got into so much trouble that he ended up getting court-martialed and sent to United States Disciplinary Barracks, Ft. Leavenworth, KS for three years.
During this time, something changed in his life. And that’s what we discussed in our time together.
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David, what else do you want listeners to know about you?
I’m a husband to a beautiful woman named Lindsay. She’s been instrumental in shaping the man who I am today. I’ve got 3 daughters.
How would you define leadership?
I want to be the type of leader that my students would look up to. I’ve found out that there’s different types of leaders.
I listen to Dave Ramsey, Entreleadership, and read a lot of other books about leadership. But leadership comes down to being relational.
As a relational leader, how do you develop those relationships?
Being a parent has really helped me out. And, as a cosmetology instructor, I’ve dealt with students from 18 and more mature students.
Originally, I came from a military background. It was my way or the highway. That didn’t fly.
Reading and things outside of the box really help you build those relationships as you lead.
You spent some time in the army. What’d you do?
I was a cavalry scout or an armored reconnaissance specialist. I was responsible for being the eyes and ears of the commander during battlefield scenarios. However, I never made it to the battlefield.
What happened that caused you to be in the army for a shorter period of time than you expected?
I was about 18 months into my first tour of duty when I had a moment of sheer stupidity. I started to take drugs.
The choices I made led to a more blown up drug addiction. To the point I became a drug dealer.
Eventually, I wound up getting caught by the criminal investigation unit of the army and arrested. Then I ran for 6 months.
This led to me getting captured and court-martialed. I was sentenced to 5 years in Fort Leavenworth. After serving 3 years, I was paroled out.
Can you share about your experience in the disciplinary barracks? What did you learn?
The disciplinary barracks is just a military prison. The experience there was really stressful and lonely.
I had to process that there were others who had done some pretty crazy things. And I had a lot of time to process the things in my head.
Sometimes that was really hard to deal with. The guilt and shame that I had to live with.
I did learn that there were consequences for my actions. And that there was no changing what had been done.
You paid your time. After that, how did this impact your life?
Coming out of prison, I was labeled a convicted felon. That label is something I had to deal with in the working world.
My past is always there…
The cool thing though is what changed in my life. God made Himself present to me on several occasions while I was still in prison.
How has your life changed since meeting Christ?
Well, I was actually raised a Christian. We went to church 3 or 4 times a week. I had a relationship with God but I made a bad choice and thought I’d never be able to come back.
But reconnecting with God and learning about grace and forgiveness helped me so much. I struggled all my life that God was going to zap me. I wasn’t good enough. I couldn’t get right with God.
I was just really excited to learn about the fact that He forgave me.
Have you used that grace and forgiveness that Christ has shown you, in your leadership?
Yes, I go to a church now that we believe what matters most is people finding Jesus. The way that people find Jesus is through living a life of letting God love people through you.
I just want people to know that I care. That turns heads. And it makes people ask me what makes me different.
What do you wish you would have known about life and leadership in your 20’s?
I wish I had found someone I respected enough to share what was going on in my mind at that point in my life. I also wish I knew that my choices affected others and not just myself.
What I can say is that I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today if I had not gone through what I had gone through.
Do you have any parting words of wisdom for the listeners today?
Yes, there’s a couple of things I’d like to say. The first is that you don’t have to be defined by your past. The guilt and shame from your past can be taken away. God can redeem any situation.
Second, pick up my book Dishonor. I’m not trying to sell it. I want it to get into the hands of those who need it.
Where can listeners connect with you online?
Website – dilemmamike.com
Buy David’s Book Dishonor
If you’re looking for a great book about redemption, I highly suggest you pick up David’s book Dishonor. You can find his book on Amazon.
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