Moving Forward – Part 2

August 15, 2008 | Comments Off on Moving Forward – Part 2


My copy of Moving Forward: Taking the Lead in Your Life is thoroughly underlined and annotated. I want to give it to everyone I counsel. Pelzer’s no holds barred approach is conversational and doesn’t leave room for “Yes, buts…” It just puts truth out there and let’s the reader decide what to do with it.

Pelzer concludes each chapter with his personal story, demonstrating that his words aren’t just words. His victories are hard-won medals which give him the right to speak into the lives of others, like “Jolene,” who spent 30 years in therapy and still had not recovered from a single incident—a slap from her father. Pelzer contrasts her journey with his own profound abuse when he says, “My past will always be a part of me. But it’s only a part, a very small fraction of my entire life. When I look at it that way, it helps.” Then he says, “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.”

He puts great stock in the power of community, pointing out that the WWII generation made it through by sitting on the porch and talking, sharing:

“So how did millions of these good folks get through it all? One: They accepted their fate. They cowboyed up. As unfair, as miserable and tiring as everything was, they endured. And above all, nothing go the best of them. They pressed on. Two: To rid themselves of all that pressure, they purged. They vomited out everything. They emptied themselves. They turned on the faucet of emotions to friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers, to those from church and other social groups. They’d meet on the porch, talk over coffee, sit out on balconies late into the evening to gab, gab, gab. They whined, they cursed, and they cried…. They prayed. They revealed personal … and most of all, they opened up about how they felt.”

For Pelzer, the essence of life is “accepting the situation for the reality of what it truly is and accomplishing what needs to be done to advance oneself for the greater good of all, no matter the cost or sacrifice.” I guess one of the things I admire about this book is that Pelzer reflects the values of the “greatest generation.”

Unfortunately, about half way through the book Pelzer seems to lose his way. He moves from his straight “in your face, get it together” talk to a more generic tome on leadership. It’s good material, but a contrast in tone to the first half of the book. If I were to use to book in a group or counseling, I’d probably stick to the first half. Nevertheless, it’s a great read and a great resource for leaders.

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